Program 329: Sorrento; A Pilot's Advice; Open Phones: Fun at Any Age

Release Date: 06-22-2013

On Air Description

If you had to pick one place to stay in Italy, you can't go wrong with Sorrento.  On the next Travel with Rick Steves, guides from Sorrento explain how their cliffside city is an easy hop to historical and scenic adventures, and also a great place to relax with a chilled glass of homemade limoncello  (lih-mon-CHELL-oh).

We'll also get a commercial pilot's perspective on the airline industry, with tips for enjoying your next flight.  And Rick checks in with listeners "of a certain age" who have fun travel reports to share.

Prepare for your next adventures, with Travel with Rick Steves.


  • Tour guides Ann Long and Aldo Valerio, based near Sorrento, Italy
  • Commercial pilot Patrick Smith, author of "Cockpit Confidential" (Sourcebooks)

Related Links

  • Rick writes about the highlights in Sorrento, Naples, and along Italy's scenic Amalfi Coast.
  • Patrick Smith's "Ask the Pilot" website includes a link to his latest book, "Cockpit Confidential," and a Q and A forum for flight information.
  • The Wainwright Society organizes information for planning a personalized "Coast to Coast" Walk in England, based on the writing of the late Alfred Wainwright and his "Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells."
  • says it is the world's largest database of hostel accommodations. Hostelling International includes a reservation system on its website for staying at its member hostels.


  • Caller seeks advice for nearby sightseeing with five nights in Sorrento. "We'd love to get to Pompeii, Capri, Paestum, Positano, and Almalfi. How do we squeeze this in without going non-stop everyday? My husband doesn't do well on windey roads unless he drives. What's the best way to see the Almafi coast and stay married?" (Karen in Santa Rosa, California)
  • "What advice do you give someone taking Coumadin (a drug that decreases risk of blood clots) when taking an overseas flight? Will the attendants allow walking around the cabin every hour or so?" (Mary Anne in Duluth, Georgia)
  • (In Web Extra): Caller is planning for his first flight to Europe. "I’m a light sleeper. Do noise-reduction headphones really work?" (Jeff in Brunswick, Georgia)
  • "My wife and I (are seniors and) drove through France and Italy. We visited Bordeaux, Dordogne, Lascaux caves, Carcassonne and Marseilles. We bought food and ate picnics on the hood of the car. We really got off the beaten path - the French were extremely friendly." (Gerry in Monsey, New York)
  • Caller describes a walking trek across England in the fall of 2009, “Coast to Coast” with a girlfriend, both 64 years old. "A fabulous, unforgettable experience." (Shirley on Vashon Island, Washington)
  • Caller seeks first-time European travel advice for a post-retirement trip. "I am traveling to Europe for the first time. I have never been out of the country before. It's very exciting and scary, too. I will be traveling with my sister. Can you suggest a first-timer itinerary for two women? (Cynthia in Walker, Louisiana)
  • "Several years ago we got a Europe Pass and stayed in hostels. We were in our sixties, and people could not believe we traveled that way. It was the best experience. Hostels were near train stations, and we found some great ones." (Betty in Gainesville, Florida)  

Incidental Music

  • Michael McCabe, “Come Back to Sorrento,” Amor / Out of the Blue Records
  • Musicbox made in Sorrento, "Old Italian Tune: O Solo Mio," on Ella Jenkins' Songs and Rhythms from Near and Far / Smithsonian Folkways
  • Musicians unknown, “Come Back to Sorrento,” Traditional Music and Songs of Italy - Recorded Live by Alan Lomax / Legacy International
  • Orchestra unspecified, “Torna a Sorrento,” French and Italian Golden Hits (collection) / Orfeon Records
  • * Bad Examples, “Il Napoli,” Slow Music / Ala Tak
  • Bob Thompson, "Star Fire," Cocktail Mix vol. 1: Bachelor’s Guide to the Galaxy (collection) / Rhino
  • Glenn Gould, "Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829:  V-Menuet (J.  S. Bach), Bach:  Original CBC Broadcasts / CBC Records
  • State of Bengal, “Flight IC408,” Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground (collection) / Omni Records - Mango Records (UK)
  • Bernie Kraus, "Amazon Days, Amazon Nights," The Big Bang (collection) / Ellipsis Arts
  • Seal, "Fly Like an Eagle," Best: 1991-2004 / Warner Bros.
  • * Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Gavin Sutherland, cond., "Giocoso (Albert Cazabon)," English String Miniatures, 5 / Naxos
  • F. Barcellini, “Mon Oncle, Adios Mario,” soundtrack from the Jacques Tati film Mon Oncle / Phillips-PolyGram
  • Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Gavin Sutherland, cond., "Renaissance Suite: II-Pavana e gagliarda (Francis Chagrin)," English String Miniatures, 5 / Naxos
  • David Ball, "Old Folks at Home ('Swanee River')," Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster (collection) / American Roots Publishing
  • George Jones, "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair," The Legacy, The True, and the Untamed (collection) / MCA Nashville

Dated References

  • At 8:47, Aldo says his mother gives him 150 bottles of homemade limoncello every year at Christmas.
  • Rick illustrates the safety record of commercial aviation at 21:22 by noting that "25,000 planes take off safely every day in the U.S.," and "it's been more than ten years" since a major commercial air disaster (in the USA).
  • Patrick points out, at 27:42, that some intercontinental long haul air carriers, such as Singapore Airlines, set out a buffet at the back of economy class to encourage people to get up and stretch their legs.
  • Rick and Patrick discuss airline prohibitions on using cell phones during flights, and potential electrical disruptions, starting at 28:26.  Patrick says he knows of at least three cases, one in Switzerland, where electronics interference was suspected to contribute to an aircraft accident and adds, at 29:49, that cell phones will not work at cruising altitude.
  • Comparing airfare to train fares in Europe, at 35:41 Rick says it's cheaper to fly than to travel by rail to most destinations in Europe.
  • Caller Shirley, at 43:50, describes a 22-day hiking trek in England "in the fall of 2009," and adds that she will be 66 "in April."

Program Extras

Pgm 329 Extra - Rick and commercial pilot Patrick Smith discuss pilot salaries, and a caller from Georgia joins them to discuss noise-reduction headphones and coping with noisy airports. (runs 4:53)