We left Rome this morning and took a super fast train to Naples. First Class on the trains is definitely the way to go. We got reclining seats and drink and snack service. When we arrived in Naples, we were able to store our luggage and then took a local train to see the Archeological Museum. This museum houses remains of statues, mosaics and frescoes that were found in the excavation of Pompei. There were some really cool statues here and one of the largest most intact pieces is found here...although it was undergoing restoration so we couldn't see much of it. Anyway, we enjoyed the museum and then walked through part of Naples to a Pizza place with the best pizza we've ever had. It was delicious! We each had our own huge plate and we ate just about all of it. YUM!
After lunch we walked down Spaccanapoli where there were tons of different vendors and lots of people roaming about. We passed several different churches along the way. We eventually returned to a Metro station and took a train back to pick up our luggage and head to Pompei. The city of Pompei lies under Mount Vesuvius and it was a bustling city until the volcano blew, burrying the city under volcanic ash. The remains of the city were later discovered and excavated for us to see today. Unfortunately, the best preserved house here (House of the Vetti) was closed for renovation...but we still saw plenty of cool stuff here, including the plaster and bone casts made of some of the people who died during the destruction of the city. It was neat to see some of the replicas that are here now in place of the originals that are now at the archeological museum, knowing where they came from. The city of Pompei was very civilized, had running water, baths, paved roads, horse drawn carriages, and even a brothel with stone beds and pillows.... You can still see the grooves in the pavement from the constant passage of carriages. There were water fountains everywhere with drinkable water and are still available for us to do today. This is great because we are able to bring waterbottles with us everywhere and fill them up anytime...they had the same kind of thing in Rome.
When we finished visiting Pompei, we took the train to Sorrento, our ultimate destination for the day. Our hotel here is really nice, the rooms and bathroom are very big, which was a nice surprise. We had a great dinner at Ristorante la Favorita, Kev had Spaghetti and Clams and I had Linguini with Scampi...shrimp heads intact... and we got dessert here too, gelato with liqueur and tiramisu....and some limoncello. Everything has been fabulous so far, despite the fact that our feet now hate us. Kev has rolled his left ankle several times and we finally had to get a support brace for it so that he doesn't wind up breaking it. Hopefully it will help!
We got up early this morning to catch a ferry to the island of Capri. It takes about 25 minutes to get to Capri from Sorrento on the quick ferry boat we took. When we arrived in Capri, we bought tickets for a boat tour around the island. Part of the reason for this tour was to see the Blue Grotto, which was unfortunatley closed today. The tour was still very nice, we saw the Natural Arch, the White Grotto, and the Green Grotto. The coastal views were beautiful but we couldn't learn much about the island because the whole tour was done in Italian!
When our tour was done we bought tickets for the Funicular to the city of Capri, where we took a very scary bus ride to the city of Anacapri. The bus was small with only 4 rows of seats, seating one person on each side...of course we didnt get on in time for seats, so everything else was standing room...and they pack every square inch of it. This bus ride is not for people who value their personal space... Anyway, the ride is up a winding road right along the coast, sheer cliff face along one side, and rock wall on the other. You would think this would be a one way road, but that is not the case. There were several times when we were passing other cars and buses coming the opposite direction. Talk about scary! We somehow made it safely to the top, where we took the Monte Solaro chair lift to the top of the mountain for some amazing views of the island. I was scared to get on the bus, and even more scared to get on the chair lift. Basically, you stand where they tell you, waiting for a chair to come up behind you and it pretty much knocks you off your feet and away you go up the mountain! It wasn't too scary once we were on it, but my nerves were on end just waiting in the line. It's definitely worth it once you get to the top...and we also realized that this was one of the most serene parts of our trip so far, where we actually had tons of personal space.
We took the chair lift back down to Anacapri, and the very full bus back to Capri down the steep and winding road. We had lunch at a nice little restuarant, I got stuffed pasta and Kev got shellfish risotto. After our lunch we went off in search of a Villa that we had intended to see...only to become lost in the city with no idea where we were going. They had the sign leading to the Villa placed on a wall that we walked past, but it wasn't situated so that we would ever have seen it from the direction that we were headed... So, we missed out on that... Next we saw the Garden, which was great, but very crowded. In fact, the whole city of Capri was super crowded with tourists coming by the boatload for the day. It was overload in some places and difficult to walk at times. The city was beautiful but we could have done without the crowds.
When we finished in the Garden, we caught the Funicular back to the docks where we had hoped to catch a ferry to Positano. The ferry departure list didn't show the ferry that we had planned to take, and Kev was pretty upset by all the things that we had missed out on (Blue Grotto, 2 villas...another one we didnt see in Anacapri) and was mad that the next ferry leaving wasn't until 5:45pm when it was only 3:45. We sat on the dock for a while deciding what to do, and decided to go get our later ferry tickets and get some gelato. When we got in line, the ferry we had planned to take was listed, and we were just barely able to get tickets for it in time.
The ride to Positano was beautiful, the shoreline approaching from the ferry was gorgeous. The plan was to be there for a couple hours just lazing about, and then catch a bus back to Sorrento. Lucky for us things worked out in our favor because we could have wound up stuck in Positano. It turns out that the road from Positano to Sorrento has fallen somehow,(roadslide??) and is now closed. The last ferry leaivng to Sorrento was 5 minutes after we arrived in Positano. So we got tickets just in time and jumped back on a ferry to Sorrento. If we hadn't checked the station for a timetable that we needed for tomorrow, we would never have known that this was the case, and would have been stuck there overnight! So we spent about 30 seconds enjoying the town of Positano.
Since we had so much extra time when we got back to Sorrento, we pulled out our guide book and took the self guided tour of the city. It was really nice and we were able to experience some things in Sorrento that we wouldnt have otherwise. The city is very nice, busy but clean, and we have both really enjoyed our time here.
We had dinner at Trattoria da Emilia, which is a great little casual restaurant on the waterfront. Kev got mussels with lemon and grilled fish, and I had caprese salad and gnocchi with tomato sauce. The caprese salad here was the best we've had so far, and the whole dinner was excellent. Great cheap wine here too. We had some limoncello here too that was very tasty. We got our nightly gelato on our walk back to the hotel to get the computer so that we could post this blog. Right now we are sitting at a little bar that has wireless internet, having a drink and enjoying a little snack before we head back to our hotel to pack up for tomorrow.