Attempt No. 2 to catch the train from Sorrento to Pompeii worked – a 30-minute journey that takes you right to the gates of arguably the most famous archeological site in the world. Having had local guides at Valletta and Mt Etna, we knew we’d benefit from the services of an official guide here, and, after paying the entrance fee (11 euros), were lucky enough to find the wonderfully informative and entertaining guide Mario Visconti (10 euros).
Our plan was to take the train from Sorrento to Pompeii but when we arrived at the station we discovered that there was a rail strike – these occur at random with little or no warning. Plan B was to take the local bus along the Amalfi Coast to Positano – but of course that was everyone else’s Plan B as well, so the queue was horrendous.
Best of the Best was a memorable dinner, hosted by Captain Ikiadis, cruise director Eric De Gray (very funny guy), hotel director Scott Daniels and chief engineer Evangelos Miskedakis. It was served in the Drawing Room while we sailed through the Strait of Messina...
We had booked a day-long 4WD trip to the lava fields of the 10,800ft high volcano but as there were not enough takers it had been cancelled, so we set off for Taormina to see if we could find a local tour operator offering something similar.