Waking up to “Paradise” I decided to pen a poem about the Amalfi Coast:
Where the sky meets the sea
on the coast of Amalfi, Italyâ€¦
Everywhere I gazeâ€”BLUE
In shades of evâ€™ry hue.
Arrived yesterday from Rome
A long, long way from home.
But I love the rippling hills,
Winding roads that give me thrills
As we drive along the coast
Canâ€™t decide what I love most:
The people or the place
Diffâ€™rent life, different space;
Clothes hanging from evâ€™ry balcony
Right along the Mediterranean Sea.
Up early and had our first breakfast at the Holiday Hotel.Â Much bigger spread than in Rome: three kinds of cereal; croissants, rolls, and two or three sweet cakes; hard boiled eggs; deli meats and cheeses; yogurt, fruit salad; and coffee, tea and juice. Quite a spread! There is also a patio with tables for us to sit and enjoy the early sun, sea, and sea breezes. Paradise found!
Note: This is only half of the buffet. Another table of “goodies” is opposite this table. Too hungry to take a photo of the other table!
Left for Pompeii, which is beyond Positano, a long winding way through the hills of the Amalfi Coast, passing parked cars hugging the mountain, pedestrians along the side of the road, small shops, and several hotels and restaurants. Not sure how the vendors receive their goods, but people seemed to take the traffic, buses and noise of the streets and road in stride.
This wonderful picture of Positano is from Jackie, one of our traveling friends. I would swear it is a postcard, but no, Jackie took it!
At Pompeii we parked in an orange grove, with oranges hanging from the branches. Bought our tickets and looked for a guide to show us through the ruins of this once bustling city covered by ashes when Mt. Vesuvius* erupted thousands of years ago.
Fortunately, there was a guide in the area with the tickets, so we â€œsigned onâ€ and let Francesco lead the way. He spoke excellent English, had a wonderful personality, and also told me that he had taken several â€œfamousâ€ people on the tour: Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alan Dershowitz, Hugh Heffner and others. He was very savvy about the USA and world history. HE often dropped names or inserted the names of well-known Americans when comparing important people in Pompeiiâ€™s history to stars, dignitaries or important people such as Bill Gates.
The ruins were quite fascinating and many of the remains were remarkably preserved, like mosaics and artwork on the remaining walls. The town was well laid out and even its history interested me. I am not a history buff, but Francesco made the tour very interesting. Also, the day was overcast, which was good for me, since Pompeii is totally open to the sky and a hot day would have fried my brain!
The top left photo is the entrance to Pompeii. The top right is an intact mosaic. The alcove to the middle left was a place where water flowed, I believe. Next to that is a “cafe.” The small sculpture on the lower left was undamaged and the frescoes on the wall (right) were faded but visible. Amazing that so much survived!
After the tour, we ate at a restaurant near the parking lot, after getting a little lost because we exited in a different spot than we entered. We also drove in the wrong direction for a few minutes before finding the right highway. Signs are not all that good. I managed to take a few photos on the fly from the van and even some pictures of my new addiction, laundry hanging from balconies.(See photo below rhyme.)
When we arrived back at the Holiday Hotel, I had no energy left, especially since my lunch consisted of only grilled veggies with no protein source, plus some fruit that Alan bought on the side of the road, near Positano. The prices were very high, because the food is â€œimportedâ€ from neighboring towns and there arenâ€™t many places on the curves to park.
I took a hot bath, washed my hair, had fruit, read, fell asleep, woke up and read again â€˜til I got tired. A long day, but Pompeii and the winding road were well worth it!
*From Wikipedia: Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They were never rebuilt, although surviving townspeople and probably looters did undertake extensive salvage work after the destruction. The towns’ locations were eventually forgotten until their accidental rediscovery in the 18th century.
The eruption also changed the course of the Sarno River and raised the sea beach, so that Pompeii was now neither on the river nor adjacent to the coast. Vesuvius itself underwent major changes â€“ its slopes were denuded of vegetation and its summit changed considerably due to the force of the eruption. Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is today regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000Â people living nearby and its tendency towards explosive (Plinian) eruptions. It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world.
Here is a stock photo of the crater of Vesuvius from: http://www.viator.com/tours/Naples/Mt-Vesuvius-and-Pompeii-Day-Trip-from-Naples.