Limoncello Versus Gelato

We sat adjacent to one another at the back corner of the terrace, each of us with a view of Sorrento’s bustling center. The chocolate brown tablecloth felt rough beneath my sunburned arms. I sunk back into my wicker and aluminium chair and enjoyed people-watching, playing the “tourist or local” game with my newly minted husband. In the center of our table emerald green bottles of fruity olive oil and tart balsamic vinegar taunted crispy, thin bread sticks to jump out of their brushed metal cannister. As the sun sank out of sight, the waiter unfurled the creamy white awning over us and lit our hurricane lamp. A warm glow – aided by a long day on Capri under the Tyrrhenian sun, a serviceable bottle of chianti, and funny conversation with our waiter – permeated the whole of the patio.

Over grilled seafood, we compared notes about the morning’s boat ride over to Capri, the shuttle’s entertaining first mate, and the scenic and serene chairlift ride from Anacapri’s center to the top of Monte Solaro. We eagerly anticipated a public bus ride down the Amalfi Coast in the morning. As our deliciously drawn-out dinner wound down I sipped a small, frosty glass of the region’s most famous product, the digestif limoncello. I savored the last little bit of lemony goodness while Russ asked for the bill. I wanted to make a dash to the gelateria before it closed for the evening. To our surprise and delight, the bill arrived with a small bottle of limoncello ostensibly to take with us. This happens to us more often than we ought to admit. Our secret? We learn as much small talk and pleasantries as we can in the local language and we thoroughly enjoy chatting and laughing with restaurant staff, bartenders, owners, etc.

As for this bottle of limoncello it was already nicely chilled for us and alas, our room at Hotel Ulisse had no refrigerator. What’s a newlywed couple to do? An hour later we bade farewell to our waiter, left the bottle on the table, and wobbled towards the gelateria squeaking in before closing time. With a cup of pistachio in my hand, a cone of orange in his, and huge grins on our faces, we joined the throngs of pedestrians on Via San Cesareo soaking in the twilight in Sorrento.

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