Friday, September 30, 2011

Mediterranean Cruise - Day 6: Naples, Mt. Vesuvius & Pompeii, Italy

{These posts are taken from emails that I sent to the girls everyday during our trip.}

Hi girls!  We just finished our second day in Italy.  Today we arrived in Naples, Italy around 10am.  I watched the boat dock at the pier - it was very interesting.  The ship had to back in to the spot and there were several other cruise ships in the port.  It was almost like it was parallel parking in the port.

We did an excursion with the cruise line today so we got onto a bus in the port and drove through Naples to get to Mt. Vesuvius.  We stopped in a little jewely factory to see how they make a particular kind of jewelry - the cameo.  A cameo is made from a big shell that they import from the caribbean.  The master carver removes the outer dull layer and then draws a picture on the middle layer then carves away at the middle layer until the shiny under layer is revealed.  Typically the picture is of a roman emperor's profile or a woman's profile.  I bought a pendant necklace with a J on it and wanted to buy one for each of you, but they didn't have all of your first letters available.  Maybe if we ever come back i can find one for you then!  I almost cried - i was very disappointed because i think you would have loved the necklace!

When we were done there we drove to Mt. Vesuvius.  Mt. Vesuvius is an active volcano that erupts very irregularly.  It erupted in 79A.D. and destroyed the city of Pompeii with its ash.  The most recent eruption was in 1944 and at that time the lava flow destroyed all of the towns between it and the bay of Naples.  For some weird reason, they keep rebuilding cities in its path.  And every time it erupts the cities are destroyed again.  Right now the volcano does not seem dangerous - we walked around the crater and it seems pretty dry and dead, but there is a wisp of steam coming from the center of the mountain which means that it is still alive and active.  There are volcanologists that monitor the mountain at all time and will hopefully  be able to warn people to leave if they think there is danger of it erupting again.  It was a very steep hike up the mountain - our legs are soooo tired!

After leaving Mt. Vesuvius we went to the city of Pompeii.  Pompeii was destroyed by that eruption in 79A.D., but archeologists found it many years ago when they were digging and they have continued to dig and uncover much of the city.  Many parts of the city were preserved pretty well.  we saw a huge house, a roman bath, a brothel, a bakery, a restaurant, a fountain.  Lots of stuff.  The city of Pompeii is much, much larger than we imagined it would be.  we were there for 90 minutes and didn't see hardly any of it.  I think you could explore that ruined city for a full day!

When we were done there we took the bus back to the port of Naples.  By the way Papa - Naples doesn't have anywhere to go with their rubbish/garbage, so at night people drive up Mt. Vesuvius and toss it around there.  Mt. Vesuvius and Naples are FILTHY.  There is rubbish everywhere you turn.  Litter in the streets, in the grass, in the trees, everywhere.  Maybe veolia should take a trip over there from France and see if they can help out!!!

When we got off of the bus in Naples, we decided to walk through Naples for a bit and get some pizza.  Naples is where pizza was invented and since I have no desire to ever return to that dirty city, I didn't want to leave without having their pizza!  We walked and ate with a newlywed couple that we met on tour.  They got married on Labor Day weekend and are doing this cruise as their honeymoon.  We enjoyed our dinner with them!  The pizza was good, although daddy said he would rather have Chicago pizza any day of the week.  I think I would prefer the Naples pizza.

So now we are back.  Once again we almost missed the boat!  We came back to the ship and as soon as we got on they pulled the equipment back into the ship and we are leaving.  We are going to dinner in a few minutes and then to bed - we are exhausted!  Tomorrow we go to ROME!


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