After a particularly grueling flight connection from Seattle to Sorrento, it’s great to be back in Europe. Getting here is a tedious chore of jet lag and culture shock. Around the time of my second layover (in Rome), I wondered — as I always do — whether this travel business is worth all the hassle after all.
By the time I checked into by B&B in Sorrento, around 5 p.m., I was ready for it: my “Hey, I’m in Europe!” moment. I never know exactly when and how it’ll happen, but it always happens. It’s that instant where sleep deprivation gives way to euphoria, and you realize that, yes, being awake for 30 hours does have a payoff.
On some trips, it takes a while. But this time in Sorrento, it was easy: Stepping out of my B&B, I was instantly plunged into the tight lanes of the old town. Piles of fresh-picked lemons the size of softballs filled the air with a blossomy aroma. Italians were out — promenading, licking gelato, convulsing with conversational gestures, and gently nudging motorinos between confused tourists on a “pedestrian-only” street.
My second wind powered me down to Sorrento’s atmospheric old fishing village, Marina Grande, where I scored a prime waterfront seat at a fish restaurant. There I dug into an “everything but the net” seafood-bonanza risotto as I watched the sun’s last rays fall on Mount Vesuvius and the rooftops of Naples, across the bay. Hiking back up to my hotel (and a well-earned good night’s sleep), I snapped a twilight photo of one of the thousand scenes that keeps me enduring that jet lag, trip after trip.