After docking in Naples early this morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast in the buffet then met up with our excursion group at 7:15 am. By 7:25 we were walking a short distance on the pier to board a ferry to Capri. Our first clue that things didn’t bode well for our ferry trip was receiving a plastic barf bag when we boarded — everyone received one. Hmmm, you might wonder, surely it couldn’t be all that bad, could it? The answer is a resounding “yes”! As we started across the Bay of Naples the ferry started rolling and bucking, forward and back and side to side, and kept it up for the hour’s trip across the bay. Having a couple hundred people crammed into the ferry combined with the waves and the boat’s crazy motion made for some very ill people during the crossing. And when one person very loudly becomes ill, it begins to snowball…you get the picture! All in all, not a pleasant crossing.
We arrived on Capri and walked a short distance to the funicular, a combination train and tram up the steep hill to the main town center by the clock tower. By this time the sun was out, and the mist was burned off revealing a beautiful day and an amazing view of the Bay from our perch on the hill. The narrow streets were lined with upscale shops and quaint outside cafes, so we stopped at a cafe for water, coffee and a piece of chocolate cake and watched the world go by. We learned that there’s a new residence building moratorium on Capri which has driven housing prices there sky high. A 1200 square foot house in selling for one and a half million Euros!
Our time in Capri was very short, so it was soon time to re-board the funicular for our trip down the mountain and then to re-board the ferry for a much shorter trip across the Bay to Sorrento — fortunately this trip was very calm. Once in Sorrento we all crammed into a van for a short ride through town, obviously another shopping mecca, to an inlaid wood factory and shop. We were treated to a short and very well done presentation on how the craftsmen create beautiful wooden inlays, then we had time to browse and dream.
From this demonstration we left for lunch at a restaurant around the corner. They provided an excellent meal starting with pasta then a chicken and veggie dish for everyone except me, and they had some great veggies for me. Dessert was tiramisu — I had cantaloupe — and the local wine served with everything was light and delightful.
After lunch we boarded a bus for the hour’s ride to Pompeii where we first stopped at a cameo factory/gift shop. Everywhere you go there are plenty of places waiting to tempt you and take your money! We watched a short video presentation on cameo making and learned that they’re actually made out of shell. There were some beautiful ones offered for sale, but we didn’t succumb to temptation!
Once we left the cameo store, we walked a short distance to enter Pompeii. For some reason I had it in my head everything was covered with lava and solidified ash. It was, but not anymore as restorations have been in progress for several hundred years. Mt. Vesuvius is very much in evidence as you view the ruins. It’s an active volcano that is predicted to erupt within the next 10 years. The government has offered residents in the area 30,000 Euros each to relocate, however very few are taking up the offer — it’s just not enough to pack up and go start over again somewhere.
Pompeii was fascinating, especially since the hand of the Romans was in evidence here too. We walked on the original Roman roads built in layers with the top one being large stones interspersed with small pieces of white marble to assist in providing a small amount of night time illumination. There are original frescoes in some areas as well as original mosaics in some floors. So much has been uncovered providing enough information to gain an understanding of daily life there. Excavation is still in progress, although it’s hard to imagine how those workers can function day after day working in the burning hot sun.
Everyone was climbed and sunned out after a bit over an hour there, so we again boarded our bus for the ride back to the port. Everyone was exhausted after our multi-vehicular and sun-enriched day!
Tonight was our last dinner in the dining room which provided an opportunity to say good-bye to new friends and exchange email address and photos as well as both give and receive several hugs. Our plan was to head to the room and finish packing then head out to dance for a hour. However, by the time we finished packing, we were pooped, so dancing was cancelled for tonight.
Tomorrow will be another very early day with breakfast at 6 am then clearing customs shortly after 7 am before taking a shuttle to the Rome airport and heading home. This is the last blog post for a few days, although I’ll work on uploading pictures over the weekend and early next week, so check back!
Thank you for reading and for your comments. Ciao!