Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Sorrento shopping (2016/2)

As we had been awake from 1am yesterday, it's not surprising that towards the evening, we began to wilt. I went to bed at about 8pm, so of course, I was up at 6am Sorrento time. I decided to go out for a walk and film various places whilst no one is around. I started off at Piazza Tasso and walked around several back streets before I arrived at a place which I recognised. From there I walked up and down Corso Italia (the main street) before coming back to the hotel.

Breakfast is a peculiar affair: as we are staying what is technically a bed and breakfast place, there is no breakfast room. There is a small 'kitchen' in which food is laid out, we fill a tray with what we want then retire to our room to eat. Actually, apart from the lack of eggs, there is enough to eat: yoghurt, bread and cheese, jam and cakes. This kitchen area is open all day long, so one can have tea at any time, although I discovered in the afternoon that there was no milk; I popped out to a grocery store to buy half a litre which we keep in our fridge.

After breakfast, we went out to see the shops. Unlike the last time we were in Sorrento, there aren't too many tourists, and being in the centre of town, we could start much earlier. So the main market street was fairly empty and we had a good chance to look at the shops. One of the first places that we saw was a shoe shop: I want to buy a pair of light summer shoes, which cost here less than half of what they cost in Israel. I decided just to make a note of the shop and see whether there were any others.

I was trying to work out the economics of some of these shops: there must be at least fifty within a few hundred metres, each selling the same items (as pictured above): lemon soap, lemon biscuits, limoncello, olive oil and similar. The prices are almost all the same, so no one has any advantage. As far as I can figure it out, when the streets are crowded (especially in the early evening), every shop gets about the same number of clients, so everyone is happy.

My wife then got stuck in a nice shop selling self designed and produced cashmere and linen. We were very surprised to see there linen jackets for men - after the trouble that we had the previous time. Of course I didn't buy, but it was interesting to see. The jackets here were slightly more expensive than the one that I bought in Capri. My wife bought a lovely linen jacket, and elsewhere I bought a linen shirt which I intend to wear tomorrow.

We continued down the street, finding another shoe shop with cheaper shoes, but again filed it away for later. We were aiming for a shop which sells carved wood - again, we had purchased goods there last time. There was a reunion between Guiliana, the saleswoman, and my wife; we spent some time in there without buying anything. The rest of the morning was spent going up and down, looking at things but not buying.

After lunch, we went back to the second shoe shop and I tried on several pairs of shoes, discovering that my feet have apparently shrunk. I'm normally a size 43, but here a size 40 fitted me well. Unfortunately, the shoes didn't feel right and I decided not to buy.

After siesta, we had a cup of tea (see the earlier reference to milk) then went out to see a special event: seven pizza palaces were combining efforts in order to produce a 100 metre long pizza! Slices were to be sold, the profits going to raise funds for a public defibrillator. There was quite a crowd, but the event as a whole was slightly disappointing. I had naively thought that there would be seven very long pizzas strung together, but in reality, there were hundreds of small pizzas laid out on contiguous tables. As these were placed together at about 5pm, by 5:10pm they were already cold and less attractive. We left at around 6pm, by which time not one piece of pizza had been consumed.

So we had a lovely (and expensive) sea bream dinner in a garden restaurant by way of compensation.

Something which I forgot from yesterday: when I bought time for our Italian phones, the salesman told me that one has to buy time at least once a year, otherwise the numbers become invalid and one has to buy a new sim. So far, we have managed with this limitation but I doubt that that we will be returning to Italy in the next twelve months. 

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