Today is a national holiday in Italy, Republic Day. This can be good or bad for us. Good in that there shouldn't be too much traffic to navigate returning the car and bad if we can't find an open gas station to fill the gas tank before returning it.
We said our goodbyes to Theresa & Augistino, their 2 dogs Ollie & Zara after enjoying one last breakfast on their lovely terrace. We headed out for the Hertz rental office at the Florence airport location. Just before approaching the rental office we veered off to find a gas station. You would have thought we had never pumped gas before. Trying to figure it out took the help from a thoughtful stranger getting his car washed who could clearly see we didn't have a clue! We've got to remember we are not in the good ole USA anymore. With no one else in sight we wondered how long we would have had to drive around before finding someone to show us how to work the pumps had he not been there. We dropped off the car in one piece and with no problems! Yay! From there a short taxi ride to the Santa Novella train station and we are on our way to Sorrento!
The train from Florence to Napoli was one of the best so far. A quick comfortable 2.5 hour ride and we are there. We had contracted a driver for our stay in Sorrento. He'll pick us up in Napoli (Naples) and take us to our hotel. Tomorrow he will be our guide along the Amalfi coast and the next day take us back to Napoli train station.
Off the train and there is a friendly gentleman standing at the end of the track holding a sign with our name on it. Boy do I ever like when things just go as planned. Turns out this is not our guide for tomorrow but his friend and business partner Guiseppe (Pepe). Due to the holiday, traffic was worse than usual according to Pepe. Glad he was driving and not us. It took us a long time just to get out of the train station parking lot. Apparently Italians retreat to the Amalfi coast when they are on holiday. The majority of them were arriving at the same time we were.
We arrived at the Bellevue Syrene hotel around 2pm. Every other place we will have stayed in Italy is an AirBnB. We wanted to experience something a little different in Sorrento and we succeeded by coming here. So this is how the other side travels! Our room has a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The building boasts Italiam marble floors and ceramic tiles. From our balcony we can view Mt. Vesuvius across the sea. What a treat! For dinner tonight we walked down to the fishing village not to far from where we are staying. We ate right by the water from a local restaurant owned by 6 fisherman. After dinner we went up the hill into town for a gelato. The town seemed packed with just about everyone staying in Sorrento.
We're calling it a day. Our guide is picking us up at 9:30 tomorrow morning to drive us along the Amalfi Coast. We are looking forward to what tomorrow brings.