Friday, September 18, 2009

On to Caserta

This morning we left Sorrento and headed to Amalfi via ferry. We thought the ferry was getting in around 10:25 am, but we didnt acutally arrive there until closer to 11. We had planned on seeing a Villa there, but due to our late arrival, we missed the bus we needed to take. Instead, we took a self guided tour of Amalfi. We started up the main street which was busy filled with many shops and lots of tourists. Our first stop was a fountain in the main part of town which flows with spring water. Next was the basilica which houses many artifacts from centuries past.

After the basilica we headed up towards the Paper Mill museum. Amalfi was once the source of the world's greatest paper. We took a tour of the museum and learned about this history of paper making, and the quality of the paper that was produced here. It was really interesting to learn about how paper was made using the old machines and water as the main source of power.

We had lunch at a very small pizzeria, then headed back toward the docks and stopping at a couple of cute shops along the way. We had some yummy gelato while waiting for the ferry that would take us to Salerno.

In Salerno we picked up the much dreaded car that we need for the next couple of days. It took about an hour to get the whole car situated and be on our way. We were lucky enough to make it out of the city easily, even though the drivers here are crazy! They dont care at all about oncoming traffic, just pass in the center of the two lanes and expect everyone else to make room for them. It's pretty funny to us how the people here are so relaxed and casual at dinner, not expecting to be rushed, but when they are going somewhere, they want to be there like yesterday!

We drove for a little over an hour to the ruins of Paestum. Paestum holds some of the oldest and most intact Greek ruins. Here we used our guide book for a self guided tour of the ruins. The Romans built their own town here, but did not build on top of the old Greek temples they found here because they respected the Greek's religous and holy sites. Much of Paestum is still to be excavated, and the main road cuts right through some of the ruins. It is a pretty cool place to visit.

After walking through the ruins we went to the Archeological Museum here to see some of the frescoes and artifacts excavated from here. One display that was really cool is 9 intact vases that were found in Paestum, all filled with honey and sealed with beeswax. When they were found, the honey was still in liquid form after over a thousand years.

We left Paestum and began our trek north to the city of Caserta. The drive wasn't too bad once we got on the autostrada, although the craziness of drivers continues here. Several times we saw people just flying down the highway, even with signs warning of speed control. The signage here can be confusing, but the GPS has helped alot with that...(Thanks Mom!)

We arrived unscathed at our hotel in Caserta. The hotel is a Best Western, and has a great pool which we swam in for about an hour before going to dinner. We had red wine, spaghetti, and beef for dinner. The people here have all been very nice, and even apologize when they have trouble speaking to us in English...even though we always feel bad that we aren't able to speek better Italian!

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