We started our day early … well early for vacation… and departed at 8am. Our first order of business was to drive the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Stunning doesn’t even explain just how beautiful this coast line is. Houses barely hanging on the cliff. Lemon orchards clutched to the side of the hills. The turquoise blue of the Mediterranean ocean as it’s back drop. Just beautiful.
The road was another nail biter. Narrow lanes with a drop off on the right side of the bus. Lucky me was on the right side (best side for photos) and let me tell you, while not catholic I did feel a need a few times to raise a little prayer to every Saint I could think of. Those bus drivers really are worth the weight in gold. To not only send our bus careening over the side, but missing all the on-coming traffic, all the houses and buildings on the road, and somehow maintaining a good spirit. Amazing. Truly amazing.
The Amalfi Coast is 37 miles long with 1090 curves in it. No lie. I felt every …. Single…. One …
We spent about an hour in the town of Amalfi and got to walk around. Today it was only Mike, Bev and I on this tour so we had less chickens to herd in a small town full of tourist. Our first order of business was to get gelato. I have been successful in my goal of gelato every day. I think I might have missed one day, but made up for it the next day by having it twice. Seems only fair.
The town had shops of ceramic and misc other touristy stuff. The Amalfi region is known for their lemons – and boy were there lemons everywhere. Some lemons were larger than my head…no lie. I got photos to prove it – which I’ll eventually post when I get to a place where Internet doesn’t cost so much and is fast again.
After our time in Amalfi, we stopped just outside Salerno and had lunch in this beautiful hotel that was, like so many others, hanging on the cliff. The food was just ok – nothing exciting. I was rather sad that lunch was included because I wanted to get a pizza in Naples. Oh well. Next time.
With our bellies full (kinda) we were off to Pompeii. One of our class trips in the spring of 1987 we stopped in Pompeii. I remember it very different back then. Not as many people, and certainly not the marketing craziness that was outside the sight. Vendors everywhere selling whatever they can to get your money.
Our tour guide today, Manuela, was outstanding. She talked the entire time. Funny too. She was constantly making little funny jokes while we were in the bus on the coast. She had a running commentary with regards to the other drivers and some pedestrians on the narrow roads. My favorite expression from her was how she spoke about going to the bathroom. She told this store about how pee used to be a commodity in ancient times because it was used as a bleach. I, personally, think she was full of something other than pee. Still it was amusing. Her story went on to explain that pee is essentially ammonia. Which it is. So then every time we had a toilet stop she would tell us it was our opportunity to give our ammonia deposit. It was quite funny, but I guess you had to be there.
Anyhow, Pompeii was destroyed in 79BC by Mount Vesuvius. Its 20,000 inhabitants were all killed and the city was buried in ash. So many of the ruins are still standing, but you do have to use your imagination to understand what they were.
My favorite part of the tour was the walk down the “red light” district of Pompeii. They had 26 brothels. One brothel remained quite intact and above the doors to the rooms there are frescos depicting what “flavor” or “position” you’d like. I kid you not. Then just outside the brothel area were symbols in the stone of the male organ pointing the way to the brothels. Why I found this part of the tour so amusing is beyond me.
We spent about 2 hours in Pompeii walking on VERY uneven stone roads and when we finally got back to the bus, I was done. Tired. Pooped. Ready to sleep.
Tonight we’re packing. Our cruise is coming to an end and now we have to go back to reality. Secretly, I’m ready to be home. I always say it’s nice to go on vacation, but it’s nicer to come home.
Final count of photos will be posted in the next couple of days. I didn’t take nearly as many as I thought I might.