07 – Napoli, Pompei, Poistano

Italia – Week 2; Roma, Napoli, Pompei, Positano

Day 1 – Friday 19 September – Napoli Travels; Rain……………………………

We made it to Naples today. With it we brought the rain & cold. We arrived to the train station with many warning about this town and its danger; most from muggers. Pretty much made the group pretty uneasy; so as we navigated the train station, in a circle with our back and wallets to the center, and eyes to the outside for muggers we felt we had the “unit down;” just kidding. But we did stay tight…..we decided after the planning of Roma we want a bit of a free for all trip. This might have not been the best idea in Naples but we made the best of it. Luckily we found a tourist office that gave us a great suggestion for a hostel (16 Euro/night) in a much safer and appealing side of the town. It was quite the conversation though as he spoke next to no English; but we really perceptive to mine and after a really good half-hour long conversation in Italian! we left with rooms and a Region wide pass for 25 Euro that gave us free transportation on anything but boats and taxis, and free entrance to all museums. Great deal considering Pompei alone cost 11 Euro entrance. We were on a high; no one had been mugged as our first hour, we found a great hotel, and we were doing South Italy on the seat of our pants! We jumped on the metro and went our four stops to the hotel. Now things started to go downhill. We couldn’t find our hostel, it was pouring rain, few of us had anything warm to wear (its south Italy…….why would we), and maybe three umbrellas between the eight of us. Attitudes turn down in a flash. Luckily we weren’t the only idiots that were circling the Church where the hostel was supposedly next too – this raise spirits and our combined effort help up realized a sharp right turn did not mean 90 degrees direct from the train station, but 180 degrees right and back under the station and up a sharp hill. We were there! Went and tired; we spent the night at a suggested Pizza place with great food and strange sparkling vino and finally had a “light” night out.

Day 2 – Saturday 20 September – Napoli, Pompei, Positano, and transportation methodology research!

I woke early and went on another jog down the boardwalk (about 4 miles) and then backtracked a bit through the city to hit some buildings I knew we wouldn’t later. Well worth it and with the storms cleared could finally see Mount Vesuvius (the Volcano). Naples coastline is much like Tuscany in how there are no bad pictures – but it is much more West Coast Mexico in look with mountains and water. We started the day breaking our streak of Pizza with Burger King (great meal and great price) and trekked towards Napoli Central. I really want to go downtown to see two things. Their Duomo contains a relic that allegedly contains the congealed blood of a saint form 350 AD that “magically” liquefies twice early (apparently just missed, was on Sept. 19th, was a close one). Strange but fun to see. Then we headed to see two sculptures that have been on my list to see for years at the burial church named Cappella Sansevero. It contains two pieces of sculpture from relatively unknown artist. The first one is the Dead Christ which is a sculpture of Jesus in the shroud lying on a mattress. The sculpture is infamous for its technicality because the shroud appears to be see-through, and possibly even just a sheet laid on top of the marble Jesus, but in reality the shroud is actually part of the marble piece. The difficulty of mastering proportion, but then adding the sheet and putting it all together was perplexing. He even made the marble mattress Jesus was laid upon seemed to be soft and inviting. Definitely top 3 sculptures ever seen if not number 1. Then there is another, not as great, but equally perplexing, of a man wrapped in a rope net. The strange part is this net is completely 3 dimensional. Most nets/ropes are mere 3/4 reliefs, but this is fully 3 dimensional in the fact that you can put your finger all the way around each square of the mesh. How one would do this I have no idea -but worth the visit to a questionable area of Naples.

We moved on to Pompei. Pompei was great – a definitely must-do. But after so many days of ruins they are beginning to all look the same, lol. So spoiled we are. This city is huge; and its seems like us everyone was getting lost in its labyrinth of streets. Most imaged included peoples staring in confusion at their maps. The fews people caught in time from the lava or mortifying and creepy to see but spoke much about why the city is what it is now. We gave it about 3 hours and decided enough old buildings for a few weeks at least and headed out to our next great idea.

After looking at a map in my guide book it appeared Positano was just two trains stops and a short bus ride across the peninsula of Sorrento. So we figured lets jump there for dinner. Our assumption was well off. While the peninsula may be just two miles in distance, vertically it was an hour and a half up and over the mountain. Didn’t think about this – all well. The drive was well worth it – the views breathtaking as we headed up a mountain almost as high or higher than Mount Vesuvius. On the south side coming down, around, and into Positano (Italy’s Amalfi Coast area) the drive got wild. Cliff side drops of 300 feet or more were on the ocean side, and hair pins turns on the other in a charter bus. Get this — Charter bus, driven by Rally Drivers, I swear. The speeds we were taking these corners would take your breath like those virtual rides at Universal Studios with the moving chairs and video screens. Alive and arrived – we walked down the hill to find food – we were well starving since BK “Have it Your Way” was at 11:00 AM. We watched the sun come down, ate food, drank vino, and then headed back up the hill to go the long trek to our hostel. Now our adventure really began. In short it included, 2 misses buses (because of the views you know…..) and on the 3rd 1.25 hour bus to Sorrento (cliff side on the Napoli side of the Peninsula), then a train that never came – because apparently I got a schedule for “l’anno prosimma” (next year’s, you are kidding me, who gives out schedules for next year), switch modes to a 2.5 hour bus to Napoli Centrale, then a 1.25 hour walk (because we were past the Metro line and couldn’t find a local bus in site) through the trashy sides of Napoli and finally arriving at our hostel at 3 AM after departing at 10PM – masters of the public transporation – making the decision to call it a night; scrapping our plans to go dancing, lol – I wonder why.

Day 3 – Sunday 21 September – The Final Return

Waking up to about 7 bug bites (I think this is the hostel life); we packed up and hit the road. Nothing compared to our night before but covering much more distance. Caught a train to Roma Termini, ran around and did some shopping in our layover. I got a Italian-English dictionary. I’m getting really good with grammar and verbs, but needs nouns now. I think it will be a great investment. Grabbed the next train to Castiglion Fiorentino and made it to the train station 3 minutes late for dinner; but with a huge climb up the hill to the center about a mile and half away. We were hungry and not wanting to spend more money the chase went on. We got of the trains and to our surprise almost half of the 100 kids at our study center did the same train and began a mass exodus. In a rush one person did not want to walk under the tracks and jumped them even with the sign “attrevesare vievato” (DO NOT CROSS). This clearly made it o.k. for the rest of us to ensue – so the following 30-40 students jumped shipped and mad dashed it to the villa. I made it there first! Along with a group of 3 others guys from our gang, after starting in the back of the pack. It definitely pays to have once been an athlete – after eating very light for days – we feasted – and now I blogged. What a week – this next is going to be intense. I have so much school to do. Probably need to pull 8 AM to 8 PM days. We take a half day excursion to another nearby town like Cortona Wednesday, then leave Thursday night for Interlaken where we will go “Canyoning” Friday and heading to Munich – where we will celebrate Oktoberfest with the rest of Germany. Monday I have a Finance exam, a paper due Friday on Blue Ocean Strategy, and tons of work to do on our business plan. So in short – I’m off to bed. Miss you all much. Hope you are well. Love you to the Segerlins. Ciao – Parliamo Presto. Probably will write after Wednesday. 

  

 

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Responses

  1. Steve, sorry naples was not that great. I know it’s dirty though that’s for sure. Did you get to tour the two castles? Castel D’Ovo and I can’t remember the other. Next time go to Ischia or Capri, you can get there by boat from the harbor. What was the name of the suggested pizza place if you can remember? La Pizza di Michele was the best pizza I have ever tasted, way better than the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever consumed, haha.

  2. Steve……WOW ……Pompei !! Did you see the petrified dog with the raisin cookie in it’s mouth? If you don’t know what I am talking about, I will leave it to your detective skills to figure it out …..Munich will be wonderful…….I remember Germany well…..lift a glass for me and do the “Bear Dance” like Chevy Chase in European Vacation LOL Take care man……..


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