Sunday, April 5, 2009
SUNDAY STROLL IN SORRENTO
Sunday, April 05, 2009 Sunday Stroll in Sorrento
It was a quiet night as there were only four of us in the dorm room. Woke about eight and enjoyed our breakfast downstairs. Last night I met four girls in the bathroom as I was brushing my teeth and they were prepping for an evening out in Sorrento. I asked the usual question: “where are you from?” and surprise, surprise…students studying abroad from Indiana University. It was fun to say hi to fellow Hoosiers.
We went to the church next door; our Hostel actually wraps around the church on three sides; and found a beautifully restored old church. The doors have been locked all week so we’ve been anxiously awaiting Mass to see the inside. We’ve decided that the church must either own the Hostel or sold them the property as they are very intertwined structurally. Also, the church has definitely had some serious dollars poured into it recently. Today is Palm Sunday and the church was standing room only and not much of that left by the time the service started.
In the USA one only sees palm branches in the church; here we saw a few artfully weaved palms but ninety percent of them carried olive branches. We each got a small one before Mass began from the common basket on the altar railing. Most brought their own branches and they were quite large and many were decorated with ribbons, and small decorations such as paper Easter eggs, etc. The lady in front of us had, I kid you not, a four foot branch with her in the pew! In addition she had a basket with artificial grapes. They are very serious Catholics in Italy.
After Mass we caught the train to Sorrento; the streets were full of people strolling up and down the main street. Most were dressed in their Sunday best and carried olive branches. Some of the men had only a small one tucked in their suit jacket pocket but many were carrying the larger branches just like the women and children. We entered the Old Section after passing the stairway to the Marina (no, Mary didn’t want to walk down the stairs to the Marina again) and began some serious window shopping. This area has the old narrow streets and they are lined with shop. All open today for business! At the building in the center of the old section we stopped to enjoy the decorated walls and also the concert that was in progress. This is the area where the men gather in the evenings to smoke and share their stories. Generally you do not see any women on the porch but today they were invited up to sit in chairs and enjoy the music.
Just down the street Mary found a lovely hot pink scarf for only three euros and a good trade for the beers that Martha has been enjoying with dinner for the past several days. So now we’ll have matching scarves for Rome. I have the one that I purchased in Paris in 2006 in my suitcase. They are not only very decorative but add warmth on a cool evening. We stopped for limoncelo gelato cones and then Mary stepped into the Cathedral (they were reading the Passion during the Mass) while I held the cones outside. Shortly afterwards we were back at the train station for our ride to Sant’ Agnello and a short walk to our Hostel.
Some of our young friends are out riding motor scooters today (first time they’ve ridden) and so we’re anxiously awaiting their return this evening. We’ll all have dinner together tonight here at the Hostel for the last time as almost all of us leave tomorrow morning.
We’re off to Rome tomorrow; our train should arrive there before four in the afternoon. It’s going to be a long day as we have the hour long trip to Naples on the little train and then another two hours on the train that leaves from Naples at noon. We call them travel days and never plan to do anything other than the scheduled trip. Our little mini vacation within the vacation has been wonderful here in the village of Sant’ Agnello. Ciao….