We are happy to announce that little Beth George has won our “Name the Caravan” competition. Beth suggested we should call it “The Faraway Magic Caravan” and this was the name we thought in the end most clearly described our home. We may well just call it “The Magic Caravan” for short but Beth wins the prize which she will receive when we see her in Dundee at the New Year. Congratulations, Beth! In your honour here is a special story.

Allow me to introduce to you our new friend, Socrates the sprinting Sorrento snail.


We met Socrates at breakfast this morning. When we sat down at our table in the corner, he was outside on the window. It appeared that, after a long, long time living on the ground, dashing around doing all sorts of snaily things, Socrates had decided, quite rightly, that he needed a holiday. A bit like us I suppose. Anyway, he decided that he would go up North for a while so chose the biggest, cleanest, most sparkly window he could find and started off on the long journey up.

You might think that such a huge trip would take a snail for ever to complete, but don’t forget, he is Socrates the famous sprinting snail from Sorrento. He set off at muesli time today, by scambled eggs time he was halfway, by crusty bread and coffee time he was three-quarters up the window, and by the time we got up to leave the breakfast table he had made it all the way to the ceiling. He says he’ll send us a postcard describing the weather and other details when he gets out onto the roof and gets himself a tan in the sunshine. Can’t wait!

Having temporarily bid farewell to Socrates, we returned to the room to prepare to check out and go back to Pompeii. At some point we both looked up at each other and exchanged the exact same message – we should stay for another night! Being Mary & George, the unexpected became reality in an instant and Mary returned from reception with a smug grin on her face. Everything slowed down again and we had a couple of hours doing our own thing before we shook ourselves back into action.

By 13.30 we had walked the kilometre back to the train station and were awaiting the bus for Amalfi. Unfortunately so were dozens of secondary school kids, all displaying the same teenage traits characteristic of school kids in every country on the planet. When the bus pulled up at the stop, it was the survival of the fittest as we were immediately swamped by a stampeding mob. I picked on every girl that came near me. elbowing them viciously and using my recently inflated behind to good effect, cutting off their attempts to get round me on both sides. My tactics were superb and I claimed the prize of a double seat on the right-hand side (as recommended on Trip Advisor).

The following 90 minutes were indescribable. We have seriously taken the decision to stop using superlatives when attempting to put into words what we see on our travels because every time we move towards expressions like “best” or “unbeatable”, we almost immediately find one visit or view eclipsed by something else we did not expect. That bus, full of school children and a handful of tourists, took us on the ride of a lifetime along the “Costeria Almalfitana”, a cliffside road which climbs the rock out of Sorrento, tiptoes along the edge of head-spinning cliffs for 30 kilometres or so through amazing bay towns like Positano, then plunges down into the famous village of Amalfi.

This bus ride rivals anything you can experience at Alton Towers and on at least two occasions I audibly gasped as we swept round what seemed an impossible left-hand bend round the very edge of a 200 feet straight drop into the Bay of Naples. Having won the battle of the bus stop, I had ensconced myself at the window seat which meant that every time the bus moved towards the edge to make room for oncoming traffic (which was every 30 seconds or so) I was lucky enough to be able to see straight down over the perimeter wall and into the yawning abyss below. Although I was never scared, I was frequently taken aback by the shock of the visual experience and I kept dragging Mary over to the window to see exactly what I was seeing.

Once again I have to add today’s visit as an absolute Bucket List entry. It is not only sensational, it is an emotional fairground ride, a rollercoaster of a bus ride and far and away the greatest bus trip I or Mary have ever taken. If you get the chance, do it! You will thereafter accuse me of understatement, I assure you.

We only spent a couple of hours strolling round Amalfi before doing the ride again, this time in reverse with Mary at the window. No offence to the pearl of the coast that is Amalfi, but it could in no way rival the thrill of the road trip to the town. We were delighted we opted for a second night here in Sorrento and there was only ever going to be one topic over dinner tonight.

Genuinely, God only knows what will happen next! At this rate Vesuvius will decide to erupt just as we are leaving Pompeii. I hope Socrates took out holiday insurance.

An early impression

The road ahead.

So that’s where we’re going next!

And that’s where we’ve just been.