Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Torna a Surriento"

"Vedi il mare come è bello! Ispira molto sentimento. Come te che a chi guardi. Da sveglio lo fai sognare"

Today Rebecca and I rented a car, packed up our bikes and drove to Sorrento for a few days of unforgettable cycling along the Amalfi Coast and to follow the Giro d'Italia up Mount Vesuvius.

I drove a stick for the first time in years, and it was my first time driving in Naples. It was like driving bumper cars in an amusement park. I forgot how much I enjoy this kind of intense, calorie-burning driving....far from boring! Rebecca, who lived in Naples for 2 years, did the co-piloting, and together we made for a terrific, albeit patient team!

After 6 hours of hair-raising driving, we finally reached Naples and the stunning sight of the Gulf, Vesuvius and Capri opened up in front of us. By the time we reached Sorrento it was already time for dinner, so we headed out for what else? the main piazza which was furiously bustling with the competing sounds of neopolitan mandolins and motorcycles. We then reviewed our maps and plotted our course for the next two days of cycling to Amalfi and Vesuvius.

For the next few days, Leif (a good friend who is a professional bike tour guide and sommelier) is here in Sorrento too. He is accompanied by his van support driver Roberto, and he is guiding a custom bike tour for a group of Russians who have been following the Giro for the last week. We will be meeting up with his group tomorrow somewhere along the course.

Sorrento, Ischia, Ponza.....all part of the Campania region of Italy....this is where my family is from, and where I am closest to my roots. Decades ago, this is where my love affair with Italy first began. Being back here again now as a citizen through blood, ready to ride this part of Italy on a bike, will be more than just a cycling experience for me, but a momentous milestone which will reach its climax when I reach the summit of Vesuvius on Friday.