Rome to Naples – Pompeii - Amalfi Coast -   11-10-08 to 11-11-08

We spent the afternoon exploring the ship, had lunch with nine of our internet friends that we met on Cruise Critic. Since we had only carryon luggage, we were able to get our cabin organized and laundry done early. We went to the sky walkers lounge for a meet and greet with the rest of the Cruise Critic group. There were between 50 and 75 of us for that. It was fun to meet the people we had been chatting on line with and finally put a face to the screen names. We had used GrannynPaPa for our screen name. So we now are trying to remember everyone’s real name! Ha We arranged to meet Christine (from Palm Springs, CA), Mandy and Mick (from England), Stephanie and her Mom Lida (from Miami), for dinner at the Painted Desert Steakhouse.

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After dinner we returned to our cabin to watch our departure from Rome Civitavecchia Port. This next picture is from our balcony on the aft or rear of the ship. The moon was shining so bright in our faces that we started singing “When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie That’s Amore!” Ha Tony had the song on our I-Phone so he put that on and we watched as we sailed away from Rome.

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We sailed all night and when we woke up we were docking in Naples. It was 7:00am and we had scheduled a private tour with Christine, Mandy and Mick to see Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. We met up with our tour guide Francesco who was waiting for us on the dock.

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We started out from the port and drove through Naples headed first to Pompeii. It took about an hour but along the way we saw Mt. Vesuvius. As we headed up the mountain the views were beautiful. We pulled over part of the way up into a small parking area that had produce for sale. These little stands are around every corner! I love all the colors of the fruits and veggies. This one was small, but had grapes, oranges, lemons and squash. The overlook was so pretty looking back down at the bay of Naples.

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Along the way to Pompeii, our guide Francesco asked us if we wanted to walk through Pompeii with a private guide, or go by ourselves, we all agreed that we wanted the private guide. He made a phone call and when we arrived we were met by Sasha. He helped us get our tickets and started our two hour tour. The first thing we saw was the entrance through the wall that surrounded the city with two arched openings. Sasha explained that the smaller arch was for pedestrians and the larger for chariots and wagons.  Inside the city walls Pompeii is 4 square miles, and the main street runs 2 ˝ miles long. At the time just before the eruption that buried the city it was estimated to have a population of over 50,000 people. After the eruption the city was buried in 15 foot of ash. The ash and the gasses were what killed the people, there was no lava flow and is the reason it was preserved so well.

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The picture on the right is of the Greek Goddess Athena. Statues without hands or heads were a sign of humility. On the other side of this piazza was the statue of Zeus.

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The above pictures are of a grist mill and a pizza oven. Our guide told us there were over 135 “McDonalds” Ha Pizzeria’s where people could stand and get something to eat, much like fast food today. Below are pictures of the streets. The one with the big stone in the center was a one way street. If a street had two rocks it was a two way street and if there were no rocks it was a pedestrian only. The rocks were for people to use as a stepping stone to cross the street when there was rain water standing. There were grooves cut into the stone from the wheels of the chariots and wagons. They had an aqueduct water system and a sewer system throughout the city.

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The next pictures are of the people of Pompeii that died during the eruption. Our guide told us that during the excavation they would run long rods down into the ash and when they found a soft spot they knew it was the remains of humans or animals. They would then pour plaster into the cavity to create a mold of the shape of the cavity. The following pictures are of a pregnant woman with her hand over her nose and mouth trying to keep out the gas, the next is of a person kneeling and praying, the next is of a professional wailer. He explained that this was common in the time to hire wailers to come and cry at funerals.

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The above right picture is of pottery recovered from the site. In the lower right corner of the picture the pots have a cone shape at the bottom, this was so it would fit in cut out on a shelf on a ship. They contained olive oil and wine.

The following pictures are of the different types of architecture from Greek to Roman throughout the city. In the first picture you see our guide and me looking at a Roman built wall using techniques too help make it more earthquake resistant by using a combination of brick and lava stone. Then there are pictures of Roman columns built of brick and Greek columns built of large Travertine marble cylinders.

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On the walls of the villas of the more wealthy families there were frescos depicting historical events, hunting scenes, and sporting events. The children all learned of their history through the frescos. Of the 50,000 inhabitants of Pompeii, over half were slaves. In the piazzas were sundials for telling time.

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On our way out of the city we visited the amphitheatre where Greek and Roman plays and entertainment took place. Sasha explained that these events could last four to five hours and that people needed to take intermission, and there was an open plaza behind the amphitheatre to get food and drink and walk around.

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After leaving Pompeii we headed up the mountain for lunch to a little village named Ravello and an old family run restaurant overlooking the Amalfi Coast that Francesco knew of.  On the way up the mountain Francesco stopped and picked up a chestnut pod and showed us that each pod can hold three or four chestnuts in each one.

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The name of the restaurant was Ristorante Pizzeria San Giovanni, we had a fantastic view of the Amalfi Coast. We all ordered a meat anti-pasta plate. There were several kinds of salami, prochuito, a grape leaf stuffed with goat cheese that was grilled, some kind of pickled bean, and other cheeses that I’m not sure what they were. Then we had Pizza!! We each ordered a different one and shared. Mine had sausage, tomato, and potato. Christine had one with a green called Rocket on top. It was all very delicious. After we were served a lemonchello.

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After leaving there we followed the Amalfi Coast, the first town we went through was Maiori, next was the town of Amalfi, where we stopped at a ceramic factory but couldn’t find that just right piece that I have been wanting so we headed on towards Positano. We had about 20 min. to shop here and I found exactly what I wanted! The pictures below show the 4 pieces that I bought in a quaint little shop.

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No words describe the views of the Amalfi Coastline. The sheer cliffs, impossibly small switchback road and villa’s, 5 star hotels that you can’t see from the road as they are below the road built on the side of the cliff! We saw Sofia Lauren’s home too. I know there are lots of pictures here but we had trouble narrowing it down. We have so many more that we will share on disc when we get home, the ones below are our favorites. Hope we haven’t overloaded your computers! Ha If you are having trouble, let us know and we can start removing some from the beginning to make a little more room. Just e-mail us.

 P1030242.JPGThis first picture is of an ancient lookout tower, there were 24 of these along the Amalfi Coast. They were used to send smoke signal messages warning of invaders.

 

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Our tour guide got us back to the ship at 5:00 and we set sail around 7:00 from Naples headed for Athens. We are at sea all day tomorrow. This last picture is of the Naples port as we were departing.

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