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Pompeii, Napoli, and the Continued Cold

One more full day in Sorrento and one night to go. The room has remained cold. It’s not so cold that one truly wants to go outside and sleep on the grates, but I can not imagine recommending the place we’re staying to anyone in the winter. I guess all the positive reviews I read were summer visitors?

Yesterday saw us head for Pompeii. We had an awesome time there. Managed to join up with a group of travelers from Canada on a hired guide who took us around the site and explained the sites. I think Brandy made a new best friend as he commented that he hadn’t met an American with so much knowledge of the myths. They kept meandering down one mythic tale after another together while the rest of us just enjoyed the surroundings. Pompeii was worth the cold room. Between seeing the standard of living (granted of the well-to-do) and seeing what was preserved so intact from 2,000 years ago…. boggles the mind. Tile floors, mosaics, frescoes – beautiful and survived a volcanic eruption that killed most of the inhabitants… Truly a wonder. And LARGE. We spent about 5 hours and still didn’t cover more than the highlights. I look forward to boring people senseless with all the pictures.

The joke of the tour was quite often what you were looking at was a reproduction, the original having been removed to the Naples Archaelogical Museum. This was a necessity because of the continued looting of the site even today. A visit to the museum had always been on the list of things I wanted to do, but now it seemed a good idea to actually see some of the original stuff. So, more than half-way there, we hopped on the Circumvesuviana and headed for Naples to see the museum. According to my guide book, merely one metro ride and maybe a short walk from the train station.

Arrived in Naples and got to the museum with only a little effort. Both of us had heard bad press about Naples, so we were a bit uneasy about the place. But all started out well enough. Found the museum, and looked at what we could for a bit over an hour. But considering how much was closed, it was probably not worth the 9 euro entrance fee.

Leaving there was when the fun started. Got our return metro tickets and got vaguely turned around heading down the station, ended up on the tracks going in the wrong direction… So, back up and then down, and arrived at a gate that was being closed… All we could really get out of the guy closing it was “treno fini…” oookay… Hrm… So, we go back up and ask a guy at the desk upstairs how to get to the main station, Garibaldi… “Autobus..” great… I asked if he could tell us what number bus? “directly upstairs” was his response… okay… so back out we went and examined the bus stop sign at the top of the stairs. We found two that said they were going to Piazza Garibalidi. The first one that arrived we got on. I immediately worried, were we in the right direction? What if we were going away from instead of towards Garibalidi? The bus signs, unlike Rome, didn’t illustrate the direction of the bus…

So, we rode… and I kept looking at the guide trying to figure out where we were and where we were going before I just gave up. I finally saw a sign at one of the stops that we sat at long enough to realize the bus we were on went in a circle to Garibaldi, so one way or another, we were going to get there.

As it turned out, it was the long way. We were closer to Garibaldi when we started. If we had crossed the street for another bus, we could have gotten there much faster… thanks helpul metro guy…

In the interim, we saw traffic like I hope to never drive in. Cars and scooters constantly weaving in and out around us, cutting us off, narrowly missing each other. Cars parked any old way even out in the street. I noticed a great deal of them had dings from earlier driving incidents. It was a madhouse that I think was akin to our Christmas shopping. We saw lots of people walking and on scooters with children’s gifts – presumably for the Epiphany celebration today. Oh, we also had our resident lunatic screaming bloody murder on the bus. All the people on the bus who could understand him looked uneasy. I probably looked more so wondering what the hell was wrong with him. He finally handed someone a door mat and then was silent… huh??

We FINALLY arrived in Garibaldi. And headed for the train. Got our ticket to Sorrento and headed for the train, which was a madhouse (rush hour commute by the looks of it). I pushed my ticket through, the gate opened and through I went. I turned to see Brandy on the other side of the next plexi-glass gate… with a look of horror on her face… I asked where her ticket was? It went in the machine and didn’t come out… and the gate wouldn’t open… oh good… Seconds later as we both stared through the plastic a railroad guy walked by and I started pointing at the machine saying, “she put a ticket in and it didn’t come out!” He came and retrieved it and let her through… whew…

We narrowly made the train (there were more, so not like the last train again) and back to Sorrento we went for leftover pizza and discussing the days events while watching Italian TV. Well, Brandy Watched a Cinderella movie while I read.

We both agree that we’ve seen enough of Naples.

Today is Capri assuming we can get there. Half the city is shut down today for the Epiphany. We plan to see what sort of celebrations they have for it. I know they have a tradition of La Befana, the good witch, who brings candy for children. That could be interesting.

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