Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pompeii and Sorrento

This morning when we got off the boat we had to walk a ways to the train station. There was this other random group of asians headed in that direction so we just followed them because they had a GPS.....well it didn't really do them any good. After we realized they had no idea what they were doing we found our own way.

So I don't speak Italian...but this was just helarious...

We took the train to Pompeii which is the remains of an ancient roman holiday town that was completly covered in ash with the massive erruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. It was only excavated relatively recently so the part that was not destroyed by the erruption is remarkably well preserved.
This is our Sicillian tour guide. He was a fantastic guide but he has the biggest, bumpiest nose I have ever seen, so that was a little destracting.

One of the first things we learned about the ancient Romans is that they were very smart. They put these stones in the road so that when it rained you would not have to walk through the water that accumulated in the street. And those little white rocks acted as reflectors so you could find the road in the night. Nice work Romans!
These are the remains of the main town square.

This is one of the unfortunate inhabitants of the city. They were covered and asphixiated my hot ash. Eventually their flesh rotted leaving this ash encasement around their skeleton. The creepy thing is that the hot ash captured these Romans in the exact attitude at their death, horrified facial expressions and contorted figures and all.
I had nightmares about this place for years as a small child after seeing these figures on a National Geographic tv show, so it was kind of interesting to go there and see it for myself.

It was so incredible how incredibly well preserved everything is. These are all completly original ancient frescos. Being covered in ash for thousands of years really kept this city very nicely.

This is one of their main shopping streets. You can see the deep ruts in the streets from their chariotts and wagons. The guide showed us something very ingenious they had done as well. On the threshold of the doorways there was always a deep grove where they would have had sliding doors on the front of their shops.
We went into one of their bath houses. Again, very well preserved. The mosaic tile floors were almost in perfect condition as well as the artwork on the ceiling and the statues throughout.
This is a bakery. Our guide said that when they excavated this are they found a loaf of bread in the oven.... another testament to how quickly Mt. Visuvius completly demolished this city.

Last stop on the tour was the local Brothel (i.e. prostitute house). I guess this was a very common and acceptable part of Roman culture. The building had lots of little tiny rooms with stone beds inside. Complete with ancient porn on the walls. Mom particularly loved this part!

From Pompei we headed to Sorrento which is built right on this cliftop overlooking the Mediterranean. This view was really worth soaking up.

We decided to have lunch at this cliff top restaurant. Besides the view being unbeatable. The food was really incredible. We all had different types of homemade pasta. Fantastic!

At this point we split ways. Daren and Dad went to the warf to check out the boat and get us tickets on the ferry back to Naples and Mom, Andrea and I wandered around these classically narrow little streets to look at the shops.

This is the view from water level. The restaurant we ate at is up on those cliffs. How incredible is this place!

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