We climbed Mount Vesuvius!

Stories from Tour

Recently returned from touring the UK, I settled down one Sunday afternoon to write a post for the website and found one that I had written about our Europe tour! I hope that you enjoy it…there’s lots more where that came from.

It’s been just over 2 months since our return from touring Europe and we have hit the ground running. Our first month back saw us at Grand West performing with Craig Lucas and The Kiffness, in studio recording a new track and arranging Venus Projects left right and center. I was flung headfirst back into work.

When I look at the polaroids that we took it’s hard to believe that we were on a boat trip down the river Seine, eating authentic gelato in Venice and sleeping on night trains while crossing the border between Germany and Austria just two months ago. Every day a part of me is desperately screaming to go back and I won’t lie about missing that sense of adventure in my everyday life.

While being in a band is anything but mundane, like any other job there are downsides and one of them is that you can by no means allocate all of your time to music. So much planning, organising, scheduling, arranging and emailing goes into a tour like our Europe one (especially when you do it independently). That said…YES I am working on the next one so stay posted because wow is it going to be worth it!

One of my favourite stories about our tour has absolutely nothing to do with the music. It’s about the stubborn human being who I am privileged to call my boyfriend (and stand in guitarist for this trip) and how every single day of tour he had a seemingly unattainable goal. His goal for day 11 of tour? To climb Mount Vesuvius and collect a small volcanic rock.

Not only was this goal crazily unrealistic but it was also (coughs silently) …illegal.

That didn’t deter him and that’s how I found myself on the early train from Rome to Naples. In Netherlands and Germany and Belgium and the other places we had toured to there was wifi on the trains but- as we realised when we saw a convertible using the bumpers of the cars parked next to it to get out of a parking- we were in Italy now and things worked differently.

In my voice I heard Julia Robert’s voice saying, “Sophie, let’s go to Naples” and recalled that she had said something about pizza…Immediately distracted and hungry, I played along with Brandon’s wish to visit Vesuvius because I was aware that it would bring me right under the nose of the the birthplace of pizza.

If there’s one thing that Brandon outweighs we with it is most definitely stubbornness. From the moment we stepped foot in Naples and the sultry hot Italian sun began to rise he was commanding our path towards the giant peak in the distance. This was a free walking tour that I most definitely wasn’t prepared for.

After an hour unprotected in the sun we (okay…I) had turned bright red and sweat was running down our (my) face. Also, despite Brandon’s erm…interesting GPS skills we had stumbled into a part of the city that can only be described as ‘authentic’. With the volcano leering at us from the distance I put my foot down and turned us back around. Brandon may be stubborn but my craftiness had won and put us back on the path to hunting down the best pizza in the world.

Less than an hour later we had found La Pizzeria Da Michele, waited outside in the queue, been placed at the table where Julia Roberts and Sophie complained about needing bigger pants and had two large pizzas placed in from of us!

As you can imagine: I was ecstatic. Brandon was not.

After sulking and complaining through every mouthful that his pizza ‘wasn’t even round’ he grew quiet. I knew it was time to act quickly. We finished our deliciously not-round pizzas and left the pizzeria. It was then that I had a stroke of brilliance! I hailed one of the Italian taxis from the road and asked him how much it would cost to take us to Mount Vesuvius. It took some convincing to reassure Brandon that driving up a Volcano is still climbing it. It took even further convincing to persuade Jeanluca to drive us up the volcano for the amount of Euros we had but he eventually gave in and let us into his taxi.

This is how I learnt my first bit of travel advice- food first, sights later! It definitely worked out for us as we stared out of the windows of Luca’s (rather old and battered) car. As we wound up the narrow roads avoiding tour buses we stared at the rapidly shrinking city of Naples. The view was incredible. We were climbing Mount Vesuvius!!!

Every so often we thought Luca would stop but, like an absolute champion, he drove us past every gate until there was no road left. On top of the volcano that ended Pompei, Brandon cracked his first smile of the day, smiled slyly and picked up a rock.

It feels surreal to think that we were at the top of Mount Vesuvius two months ago. If there’s anything I’ve learnt since then it’s that tours take a lot of work, the way to my heart (and not my man’s) is food and that you should always include the trip back down the mountain in your discussion when bargaining with an Italian taxi driver.

I hope you enjoyed my story from our trip! Let me know if there are any other things you would like to know or stories you would like to hear .

With love, Fran

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