Saturday, November 11, 2017
Day 22, Naples, Italy
Today our port is Naples in the southwestern part of Italy. The alarm again went off at 7:00 for us as this was another early morning. When we got up the skies were blue, the temperatures were mild and hallelujah, I felt much better than yesterday. I was starting the dreaded cough part of the cold, but at least I was feeling good.
|Our first look at Mount Vesuvius.|
Today we were taking a ship’s tour to Pompeii and the coastal town of Sorrento and all systems were go. After getting a quick bite in the Neptune Lounge we were off to the showroom to meet our tour group. We were on the road promptly at 8:30 and on our way to Sorrento. It was a beautiful drive down the coast with panoramic views of the Naples harbor and picturesque towns perched on the steep hillside along the coast, but yesterday’s weather caused us one problem.
Heading south out of Naples, there are three tunnels through the mountains on the major route. Yesterday, they had heavy rains, which closed two of the three tunnels due to flooding and they were still closed today. This didn’t seem to affect traffic too much except we were detoured through several small towns where traffic was horrendous. Oh well, we just had to sit back and relax and let the bus driver worry about it.
Our first stop was at place where they manufactured a lemon based liqueur called Limoncello, which is very popular. I suspect the reason for the stop was mostly to sell some of the products, but it worked as we ended up buying some. From there, we continued down the coast to the seaside resort town of Sorrento. Sorrento is built on the side of the mountains and is very picturesque although also very crowded with tourists.
|The Sorrento Coast as we drive south.|
After we arrived in town and the bus let us out, our guide led us to the town square and then we were on our own to explore. We walked through the narrow streets and browsed through the some of the numerous shops that lined the streets. There were also numerous sidewalk cafes where you could eat or just have a drink and watch the people go buy. We were very tempted to have a gelato offered by numerous places, but lunch was provided on our tour and we didn’t want to spoil our appetites for that. I actually wish lunch wasn’t provided as it would have been nice to stop at one of the cafes and relax for a while over lunch.
|We enter the Sorrento Town Square.|
|I'm not sure the name of this statue, but I heard it called the Climbing Man Statue.|
Even though the streets were very narrow there were still numerous cars and motor cycles and scooters on the road. One thing we have learned since arriving in Italy is that unlike the very polite drivers in Portugal and Spain, Italian drivers don’t like pedestrians and you have to be very careful. All to soon it was time to meet up with our guide and head to lunch.
|Val waits for the group to gather for our walk to lunch.|
It was a ten-minute walk to the hotel where lunch was served and it was in a beautiful location above the coast with panoramic views. Our lunch was OK considering they were serving a group of people, but I still wish we could have had lunch on our own. After lunch, we walked back to the bus and headed back up the coast to Pompeii.
|After lunch I took some pictures of the coast from the patio of the restaurant.|
We followed the same route back that we came down on and traffic was even worse than it was in the morning, but we made it through and took the turnoff to Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius looming in the background. Pompeii was a thriving Roman city founded sometime in the 6th or 7th century BC, but was almost completely buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 BC
Pompeii was much different than I expected. It was much, much larger than I expected and the state of excavation was greater than I expected. It was an amazing experience. Once again, instead of trying to describe everything I saw, I will show it in pictures below.
|When excavating, they found cavities where bodies had been incinerated and injected some sort of cement to recreate them. The detail is quite amazing and brings impact to what we were seeing.|
|This is a dog|
|Some of the many artifacts that were found when the ruins were excavated.|
|Some of the original tile that survived.|
|Mount Vesuvius looks down on the city.|
After spending several hours in Pompeii, it was time to go back to the bus for the trip back to the ship. We really enjoyed Pompeii and found it extremely interesting. As usual, even in this off-season traveling, it was fairly crowded, but you just have to make the best of it.
We were back to the ship by 4:30 and found huge lines waiting to go through the port security. There were three cruise ships in port and it seems that many excursions were all coming back at once. We were saved though, as someone started directing Holland America passengers to a different line, which bypassed the terminal security. Being a smaller ship than the other two in port, the Veendam had set up their own security screening on board so we were happily quickly through and back in our room.
I felt pretty good, but tired and the cough was wearing me down. Val and I both rested until dinnertime. I skipped trivia again, but did go to dinner and the casino and actually did well tonight. After the casino it was back to the room and straight to bed. We are both really worried about my cough and getting enough sleep tonight. Tomorrow is a sea day so we will have a day of rest.