We started again After maybe 3-4 hours sleep. This time the trip to Newark was fairly smooth (except, always follow the Waze lady. She wanted us on the Turnpike truck lane, but was outvoted by one or two passengers who hate the truck lane. Anyway there was a car fire in the car lane. So we had to get off and back on – maybe a 15 minute delay). Our plane left blessedly on time to Frankfurt, we easily made the connection to Naples, and our driver turned up close to on-time. Through the crazy Italian traffic and to our hotel (PuntaQuattroventi) a mere 24 hours late.
Naples is not a gorgeous city making pretty dull ride to the hotel, but once inside, and looking at the beautiful Bay of Naples from our room (see above), our attitude was pleasantly adjusted.
We were at the hotel by 2:30 and the tour of Pompeii started at 3:00. So the 8 weary and grimy travelers headed off for the cobblestones, and the amazing story of the 600 AD city.
Pompeii had become an important Roman, middle-class trading city. It is perfectly excavated showing the outline of the shops and stalls lining the streets. The rich and poor lived side-by-side in a large variety of modest and extravagant houses. The city served 20,000 residents with (according the Rick Steves’ guide) 40 bakeries, 130 bars, restaurants, hotels, and 30 brothels.
Most of its building were covered by bright white ground-marble stucco. It’s almost sad that the best recovered art is now in the Archeological Museum in Naples. It sure would be more interesting in place.
Every day the Pompeian streets were flooded with water to clean them up (especially from the gifts from the horses pulling wagons and chariots). That’s why you see these stepping stones allowing pedestrians to cross the street without getting their Sandler’s wet or worse. The number of stones in the street actually indicated the type of street and type of traffic allowed.
The views in every direction were quite amazing with a huge variety of trees, including many olives and several of these incredible, super-sized, sort-of bonsais.
Of course the brothels were high on the tour guide’s list, and they were pretty wild. This preserved wall painting was just one of many detailed pieces that were much more explicit, primarily a “menu” of desires. There were more tourists here than any other place in the site.
Some of the cast “remains” of the residents who were caught in the 30 feet of hot volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It wasn’t excavated by archeologists for centuries after.
The. Forum granary and ancient produce market now houses thousands of artifacts excavated from Pompeii. We saw all kinds of kitchen ware, and even casts of victims; even a resident dog.
The Forum and Temple of Jupiter were spectacular in the failing light (as were these two special statuettes). Never in America – Tourists were allowed to wander in the pitch dark, with virtually no safety lighting (thank goodness for iPhone flashlights) over cobblestones, holes in the road, and hidden steps. There were no debilitating injuries making it back to the bus and hotel for the first of our dinner – four delicious courses. Of course we were so hungry and tired that I forgot to take pictures of the food.
Almost crawling up to bed after filling our bellies with food and wine, we want to dream of the spectacular day tomorrow (since the weather will be cooperating) to the Isle of Capri. We didn’t even remember our heads hitting the pillows…