Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Picking

A few weeks ago, we headed over to a nearby town for an afternoon of apple-picking.  I know this is a traditional fall activity in many parts of the world, but it was a first for us.

It was a beautiful, crisp fall day, and Kate couldn't wait to get started:

But then we passed these wheelbarrows, and she promptly hopped aboard.

I don't think she budged from this spot the rest of the afternoon:

We did coax her out to pick a few apples from the bins lining the orchard.

I think we were a little late in the season, and most of the apples had been picked and binned, though there were still quite a few on trees if you went deeper into the orchard.

Will deliberated carefully over each apple he chose:

Kate picked more dandelions than apples:

But she had fun, so who cares?

After the picking, we headed over to get some fresh, hot apple fritters:

And we watched them press apples into fresh cider.
Here they're crushing the apples into pulp:
 Then they put the pulp into this press and out comes the most delicious cider you've ever tasted.  We took home two liters but it didn't stick around very long!

Three weeks later and we're still up to our ears in apples, but I think the last of them will be made into applesauce in the next day or two...

Oops. Forgot about Sorrento!

Somehow, in my mind, I'd already wrapped up our Italy trip and posted the pictures of Pompeii and Sorrento.  Apparently not!

In any case, after Rome, we took the train to Naples and then on to Sorrento.  It was a beautiful ride, right along the coast past the incredibly impressive Mt. Vesuvius.  Will was practically dancing in his seat with excitement:  "Is it going to blow up, Mom, is it?  It erupted last in 1944.  It could happen again, right?"  Thankfully, that didn't happen. 

Sorrento was darling:

Lots of good shopping:
...which made Kate very happy:

It also had spectacular views of the sea:

And great walls to climb:

And delicious watermelon served in slices as big as a kid's head:

We wasted no time in hopping on a boat to the Isle of Capri, about a 20-minute ride away:

From the boat, we had a great view of Mt. Vesuvius:
Capri itself was unbelievably picturesque.

 Which means that, naturally, Will had to goof off so the pictures wouldn't turn out too perfect:

Still, I managed to snap a few good photos of the kids:

This sign on the dock cracked me up.  Really, you have to tell people not to do this?

The next day we set off for Pompeii.  Will was so excited he could hardly stand it.  Here are the kids at the Pompeii train station.

Pompeii itself was huge, absolutely enormous, and in retrospect I wish we'd booked a guided tour.  It would've saved a lot of frustration and aimless wandering in the blazing heat.  Still, we managed to see a enough and everyone had a good time.

Here are some of the ruins with Vesuvius in the background.

One of the more impressive statues:

One of Pompeii's many dogs:

Did I mention Will was ecstatic to be here:

Here he is on the pedestrian "crosswalks."  People would step on these stones to cross the street, thus avoiding the muck that ran down the roads.

Unfortunately, Will managed to fall off one of the stepping stones and land in the aforementioned muck:

I'm sure it would've been much worse in Roman times.

Here's a cast of one of the bodies excavated at the site.  There were dozens of these around.  Creepy!

Will in the bakery in front of an oven:
Did I mention Pompeii was huge?    This photo gives an idea of the scale of the place:

And that it was scorchingly hot that day?

That night, back in Sorrento, we had dinner at an outdoor cafe and were treated to a concert by a roaming group of musicians playing -- what else? -- famous Italian songs such as Volare and that one about the moon hitting your eyes like a big pizza pie.  What's it called??  I can't remember.... Just when I thought it couldn't get any more stereotypically Italian, an adorable elderly couple passing by stopped to dance in the streets.  They were promptly chased off by the restaurant owner but returned a few minutes later to dance, with the owner's permission, apparently.

A lovely way to end our stay in Sorrento...