Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 12, 2013 Day Trip to Naples

This story begins after posting my blog yesterday.  The day was still young as we left the B&B where we’d posted our photos and blogs.   We stopped at the gelato shop downstairs in our building and purchased a double scoop, nutella and lemon; decided it wasn’t quite as good as the caramel and lemon that we’ve been enjoying nearly every afternoon.  
  As we ate our cones we walked towards the path to the elevators along the beach.  There Mary enjoyed wading in the cool waters of the beach and then we turned around and headed back to the apartment.
About four o’clock we decided to go up into town to check the times for the bus to Almafi for a possible trip tomorrow if the weather is better.  Actually, the weather turned out to be perfect today but not knowing if there’d been mud slides on the roads we decided to stay close to home today and watch all the activity in the Marina.   Out the door; we discovered that they were cleaning out the mud that covered our entrance, so it was nice to not have to step gingerly through the mud on our way out the door.   Heard from the girls while we were in town; they were just getting off the bus in Positano; sounds like they got a very late start for their trip.
Over to the elevators, purchased a round trip ticket that saves us each a dime each way.  Up to the top and over to the information point in Piazza Tasso for the information on the bus.  Then we walked back towards the small streets that are filled with tourists shopping for all of the wonderful items offered for sale, many of them are products related to lemons.   Mary found a scarf and a keychain to purchase.  We were on our way to the elevator when I decided we need a bottle of red wine; stopped at a wine shop and the cheapest he had was seven euros.  We’d had two bottles from the grocery store for only two euros each that were pretty good so we headed back towards the train station and the super market.  Some bananas and two bottles of our wine under our arms we headed back to Piazza Tasso where we stopped for a quick check on our cell phone devices for emails on the free Wi-Fi service that is available in that area. 
Nothing like standing on a corner on a busy street with bottles of wine under your arm while you are checking for emails on your device.  I’m using my Samsung II and Mary has an older IPod that we use for emergency Wi-Fi when we don’t have our computers.  Doesn’t always work but this time it did.
Back to the elevators and over to the area on the beach below the B&B where our Wi-Fi works very well for a quick phone call home before heading upstairs for the evening.   It was nearly seven o’clock by the time we started our dinner.  
Watched the beautiful sunsets from our windows as the dark clouds rolled in. 
News from Jim at home reports that weather says we’re in for two more days of heavy rain; only time will tell.  We have CNN and BBC along with several other English speaking channels but none of them give us the weather for Europe. 
Heard from the girls about eight o’clock and they are on their way home on the bus from Positano.   They arrived safely and had dinner in Piazza Tasso before walking home.
It’s now morning and the skies are cloudy again; but the streets are dry when we arose about seven o’clock.   By eight the skies opened and the rain began.  Softly enough that they continued the work of clearing out all of the damaged shelves and merchandise from the Pharmacy located down below; they’d had a foot of mud and water inside of the shop during the heavy storm that damaged the street. 
They filled a small dump truck before they were finished.  About ten the rain stopped and we talked to the girls.  The weather reports are predicting more rain today so they’ve decided to take the boat to Naples at noon.  I said I’d talk with Mary about going with them; she’s been adamant about not going to Naples because of all the negative stories that she’s heard from other tourists while we’ve been here.
By the time the girls arrived in the port, Mary had agreed to go.  We cleaned out the purses and backpack of anything that we didn’t need; all true valuables were in the pouch hanging around our neck under our shirts.  And, since it was cool, jackets covered our purses.   We all walked together to the large boat that was leaving at noon.  It was 12.30 Euros for a one way on the boat.   We had a sudden heavy rainstorm for about five minutes while we waited for the boat; but the sky cleared and we decided to go ahead with our plans to cruise to Naples. 
  A smooth ride and in forty five minutes we were in the port of Naples.  One of those mammoth cruise ships was in port; I think they are a small floating city that has four or five thousand or maybe more people on board. 
We walked off the boat under the walls of a very old fort and looked for the bus but decided to take a taxi to our destination:  The National Archeological Museum of Naples.   We confirmed a fixed price of fifteen euros before climbing in for a fast and tricky ride up the questionable streets of Naples to the top of one of the hills where the Museum is located.  We definitely saw some streets that we didn’t want to be walking on if we walked back to the Port.
The museum contains the best of the actual art and artifacts that were recovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum.    When the excavation began in the 1800’s the King decreed that the best be brought to him and that was the basis for the Museum.  
 The actual sites are wonderful but barren of the riches that were found in very good condition under the layer of lava.   The First Floor, actually the top or second floor, has the vast collection from the ancient cities.   There is a model of the city of Pompeii as it existed in 1879 after much of the excavation was completed that is done in a scale of 1.100. 
The rooms are covered with sculptures from many of the villas of the rich residents of Pompeii.  The building was originally a University in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries before it became the Royal Museum in 1777.  The great hall is two stories with a beautifully decorated ceiling and filled with sculptures. 
The mezzanine floor contains most of the mosaic floors and wall panels and the “Secret Room”; the Gabinetto Segreto.  
A gated entrance, this room was privy to only a select few with permission granted only by the King after they arrived in the Museum in 1819.   It has been closed off and on through the years and until recent times could only be viewed with a prior appointment with the Museum.   It is now open to the public and anyone can walk through this unusual exhibit of the erotic art of ancient times.  These were found not only in the many brothels in Pompeii but also in the private homes of the wealthy.  The massive phallus was not just a sexual symbol but also a magical amulet used against the “evil eye” and symbolized fertility and happiness among other things.  There are two rooms crammed full of interesting statues, paintings and other objects.  
The ground floor contains their collection of Greek and Roman sculptures and there is a basement that is closed for renovations now that contains Egyptian artifacts.   It was three hours of viewing some very interesting art.
By 3:30 pm we were out the door and on the streets of Naples.  A taxi was suggested by Mary but it was a nice day, we were in a “nice” area so we walked downhill for about half an hour to the famous pizza restaurant.
Along the way we stopped to view the inside of the massive thirteenth century cathedral.  There was a service in progress and the place was packed.  It is very ornate and stunning as we just stood and gapped at the fabulous interior.   The side chapels were almost as good as the main sanctuary. 
We finally arrived at our destination:  L’Antica Pizzerta.  Made famous by Julie Roberts when she used it in her film, “Eat, Love and Pray”.  
We stood in line for at least half an hour to say we’d eaten here.  It is a small hole in the wall offering two types of pizza:  Margherita (sauce and mozzarella cheese) or Marinara (only sauce).  Drinks: beer, coke cola, Fanta and mineral water.  The only variation was for an extra fifty cents you could have double sauce and/or cheese.  The turn-around time is rapid and there are usually people standing in line.  Interesting, but we felt the pizza was better in Sorrento.
It was almost dark as we headed towards the main train station.  There we purchased our tickets to Rome for Monday and then found the Circumvesuviana for our final trip home to Sorrento.  It was the fast train and we arrived about 8:10 pm.   Mary and I quickly walked towards the elevators…closed…then back to the bus stop…closed….so it was a gentle walk down the well lite hill to our apartment in the marina.  Another fun filled day full of memories.  Hope you enjoy the slideshow that starts yesterday afternoon and ends at the train station in Naples:

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