Naples (aka Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii)

I wanted to write about Christmas in the Dominican, but really can’t until I’ve updated the summer holiday in Europe. At least, in my orderly, chronologically progressing Leo mind I can’t.

The first day on the ship was spent at sea, and we spent it relaxing, enjoying our balcony and finding our way around the ship. And buying an engagement ring.

The second day we woke bright and early, ready for our first excursion day. We docked at Naples, and our excursion encompassed Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii. We reached Capri by boat and took a funicular ride up (notice, we’re still doing the “up” thing!) to the top of the hill. The view from the top was magnificent – the city built into the hillside sloping gradually down to the harbour with that beautiful Mediterranean blue sea. I’m not quite sure what exactly we were supposed to be seeing here, as our primary destination seemed to be a garden which, while it was lovely, wasn’t necessarily worth the boat ride to get here. However, I can now say I’ve been to Capri. Next boat ride took us off to Sorrento, another hillside town. This time a bus took us up (there’s that “up” again!) to the top. We toured a factory making beautiful inlaid wood furniture and had free time for lunch. We sat at an outside cafe and had a delicious lunch while we watched the tourists flock by. “Flock” is the operative word – Italy was the place to be this summer, apparently.

After lunch we were bused off to Pompeii. This was the main reason for booking the excursion. I’ve read so much about Pompeii that to be able to actually see it was so exciting. Our tour guide this day was amazing. A spry elderly gentleman with the patience of Job. He answered everyone’s questions, shared so much information, and was calm and unruffled the whole day. We wore earphones and receivers so we could hear what he was saying into his microphone – so much more civilized than trying to crowd round to hear him yelling – and he always told us in which direction he would be heading and where he would wait, and he followed it up with a laid back “Do not rush. There is no hurry. It is hot. Take your time.”

His lecture theme in Pompeii was that everything new is actually old. We think we have the market cornered on new ideas but we don’t. Pompeii had speed bumps to slow the carriages down as they came into town. Pompeii had fast food restaurants where you could pick up dinner on the way home. Pompeii had refreshment bars where you could get a cold drink on a hot day. Pompeii even had servants who would carry your purchases home after a long day of shopping. And Pompeii had graffiti. What Pompeii did not have however, was longevity, and as we know, the city was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which even today can be seen shadowing the city. This was my favourite tour of the entire cruise. The guide brought history to life and made us realize we were walking on ground where others had tread so many years before. Wonderful day.

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