Friday, July 03, 2009

Naples & Pompeii (Day 5 & 6)

So as I said in the previous post, Phoebe and I traveled around Europe this time mostly by plane... but between Florence and Naples Italy, it was most wise to take a train for the 3 hour trip. It was my last time on a train in Europe... so sad... so weird with the couple across from Phoebe and I making out... gross.

Naples was a destination on this trip solely because it was the closest hostel we could find to Pompeii... we really didn't know what to expect in Naples. Luckily a girl in our hostel in Florence warned us a little about how it was dirty and would be wise to not carry around purses in order to avoid being mugged... scary. I was not looking forward to Naples already...
So luckily I was prepared for the seediness though... and seedy it was!!!

This is the view from our hostel... apparently when the market is set up in the earlier part of the day, the people who work the booths don't bother cleaning up after themselves and leave it to the street cleaner to do at night... so the only time the street is free of little is when everyone is asleep!
It is also incredibly dangerous to cross the street cause it would seem that no one abides by streetlights or anything, so its kind of like frogger coupled with just running for your life!
As soon as Phoebe and I got to our hostel we got a full run down of street safety from the hostel manager... a nice man who was very clear about us NOT taking our purses out in public and instead hiding money in different pockets, socks or shoes... he also gave us a great suggestion for dinner at a pizza place... can I tell you I could NOT get my fill of pizza... italian is my favorite... I was in heaven! The restaurant was called "Da Michele" and they serve coke in glass bottles!
As soon as we were done with dinner we strolled around the streets checking out stores and street vendors... Phoebe and I linked arms the entire time out of fear. I bought a shirt, but was surprised to notice while I was looking around a lady stood about 3 feet away from me watching my every move... when I asked if I could try on the shirt in the fitting room, that I was standing next to, she curtly said, "no." fair enough... She was making me angry because she was rudely invading my personal space!! but I bought the shirt anyways... mostly out of spite... and when Phoebe and I walked out of the store she did as well... HAHAHA... did she work there or not???
After more shopping we hurried back to our hostel and decided to stay inside for the remainder of the night...

Luckily me had a TV in our room and Rumor Has It with Jennifer Aniston was on... in Italian... I had never seen it before, but I still understood what was happening and I still didn't like the movie.
Phoebe and I also met the only other English speaker in the entire Hostel, a guy named Geoff from Florida... he was really nice and offered to go with us to Pompeii the next day so we felt safe walking through Naples... YAY travel companion.

Phoebe and I were in a room for 6 people all by ourselves, but at 1am a girl came in and took one of the other beds... she seemed nice enough and warned us that she would be getting up at 4am so she could head to the airport... fine with us. Except that when he alarm went off at 4am she proceeded to sit on the end of her bed while her alarm JUST KEPT RINGING!!! COME ON!!! It took everything in me not to launch myself across the room and take her down. Instead I sat up and stared her down until she turned in off.
When Phoebe and I got up... at a normal time... we met up with Geoff and headed to the tram that took us to Pompeii!

So for those of you who don't know what Pompeii is, I'll explain. In the year 75 AD Pompeii was hit by a very devastating earthquake which left a lot of the city in need of rebuilding... but Pompeii recovered and I'm sure though, "what could happen that is worse than an earth quake?" Good question Pompeii... well 4 years later in 79AD Mount Vesuvius exploded covering the entire city in Volcanic ash that destroyed the entire city and killed every last inhabitant. When serious excavation began in the last century archeologists discovered that the bodies entombed in the volcanic ash had decomposed, but had left perfect pockets in the shape of people... they began to fill every pocket they came across with plaster and what they got were perfect statues of the people in Pompeii in whatever pose they were in the instant they died... facial expressions and everything... even the teeth and skeletons are perfectly in tact. The city too was amazingly preserved in the ash and so what we were able to visit was astounding - frescos, mosaics, even bread in the bakery ovens were preserved astoundingly... enjoy some pics

Phoebe, Geoff, and myself did not wish to spend money on an audio guide, so instead I was in charge of the map and notified Geoff where we were and he in turn read allowed from the pocket guide... it was great and handy and affordable.

taking a bath in what appeared to me to be a bathtub

Garden of the Fugitives - these casts were made from the people found at the edge of the city... it appears they were running away from the cloud of ash following them... you can even see the body of a child shielding his/her face from the blast

If you enlarge this next picture you can see Mount Vesuvius in the clouds in the distance

the Pompeii Arena, Phoebe and I engaged in a duel

A vineyard in Pompeii

I decided to eat one of the unripe grapes

the bakery where they found bread still in the over baking

one of the better preserved casts... haunting

Pompeii was absolutely HUGE!! Which I just didn't expect... it was also SO HOT and left little shade... I seriously felt like I was covered in volcanic ash it was so hot... oh wait...
One of the few building was had a completed roof was the brothel... on the walls in the brothel were frescos that worked kind of as a menu... if you get my drift...
One we finished our 4 hour jaunt through Pompeii we hit up the local vendors for some fresh squeezed Orange Juice and Lemonade and sandwiches... SUCH a delicious lunch... the best I'd had in a while!
Then we headed back to Naples. We had most of the day left so we decided to go visit one of Naples' castles - Castle Nuovo

The castle was horribly lame and boring but the view was fantastic

The staircase up to the view looked like it led us to heaven... a very spiritual moment

The inside of the Castle was also air conditioned... so Phoebe and I took advantage of the cold air vents

Also inside there was a room with glass floors which exposed skeletons in the foundations

The other thing the castle had going for it was a gelato shop across the street which serves Ricotta and Pear Gelato - the most delicious Gelato EVER!!!!!

Overall Naples was... interesting... Pompeii was Spectacular!! Naples was just okay - like a cross between the seedy parts of LA and Tiajuana... so I wouldn't go back.

1 comment:

NanAZ said...

Wow! I remember studying about Pompeii in school and thinking it was so amazing how quickly it must have happened and how sad and terrifying that people were just frozen in place. Your pictures are definitely haunting. I like your hat. You should wear it more often. I like the picture of you leaning on the counter or whatever it was.