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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Hide and go seek….

Day 122/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Napoli, Italy.

We arrived this morning into the port of Naples or Napoli, Italy.

The very art deco looking cruise terminal called Stazione Maritima in Naples, Italy.

Gene and Margaret were also on our excursion so we met up at 8:30am on Deck 4, to walk down to the pier with them, to be assigned our bus for our tour. We had a very long day ahead us because we were trying to make the most of seeing this beautiful area in one fell swoop!

The bus pulled out of the port at 8:40am, which was 5 minutes ahead of our scheduled 8:45am departure time. We were advised that our drive would be 60 minutes long, but that is always caveated by “depending on traffic”. And today the traffic was horrible. It seems that everyone wanted to go to Sorrento, Italy, so the 60 minute drive turned into a 1 hour and 50 minute drive!

Our tour guide was very chatty and lived in Pompeii. Sometimes you just wish the guides would be quiet though, since the view from the bus was stunning. We could see what was in front of us, let us enjoy it!

Sorrento, Italy. What a pretty piece of real estate!

Everywhere we looked there were lemon trees growing under nets. And besides lemon trees, there were orange trees. What a wonderful place for fresh fruits! No wonder they make and sell limoncello everywhere in Sorrento!

Lemons, so plentiful everywhere in Sorrento!

And oranges too!

You name it, they use lemons to make it! Lemonicello, Lemonicello cream, lemon ices, lemonade, lemon gelato and so many more delightful things they use lemons for!

The bus parked about 10 minutes away from the Main Street of Sorrento and of course to use the washrooms we were walked to a store selling hand carved wooden items, where we were supposed to watch a demonstration, to then move on to the next part of our tour. I used the rest room and then asked the guide when we had to meet him as lunch was included on our tour. He told us we only had 45 minutes of free time. At this point I said to Richard, we should find out where the restaurant for lunch was so we could either go directly there without having to meet the guide at the woodworking store, or find out when the lunch would be over, to go and have lunch on our own And then meet the group after their lunch.

Richard wanted to walk by the restaurant we were supposed to meet the group at, so he knew where it was. Once we had found the restaurant we started walking. Gene and Margaret were with us, but they wanted to stop to look at pottery and other things, so we left them and went on our own to walk the small alley ways of Sorrento. It is nice to get lost in a city without really getting lost, the first time you go there, to try and experience as much of the city as we could, in the short time we had to visit it.

Sorrento in the Spring! It has a ring to it don’t you think?

I liked this top, but not in this colour.

Sorrento was beautiful and 21C today. The sun was shining, hardly a cloud in the sky and after shopping for a bit I said to Richard I wanted a pizza. Napoli was where pizza was invented and I did not want to leave Italy without having an authentic hand made pizza! So instead of going back to have lunch with the group, we found a wonderful little restaurant on the Main Street and stopped in for a pizza while enjoying the view of the people going by.

Richard enjoying the view at ‘La Mais on Douce’. This family run restaurant was delightful!

Across the way from the restaurant was a pharmacist and I needed to pick up a few things, so after we ordered, I left Richard and sure enough by the time I returned, Richard had made new acquaintances. He talks to everyone and so he introduced me to a lovely couple by the names of Tina and Gary from England.

Tina and Gary from England. This is their third trip to Sorrento and they love it because there is so much to do. They have taken a boat over to Capri, a boat over to the Amalfi coast for the day, visited Herkulion and Pompeii on the train from Sorrento and walked and enjoyed the many beautiful cafes and restaurants in Sorrento. I can understand why someone would want to keep coming back to this beautiful place! On some of their trips they have stayed north of Sorrento and the hotel provides breakfast and dinner and runs a shuttle down and back to Sorrento, so that is another good option for a visit to Sorrento. We chatted throughout our meal and really valued hearing what there was to do around Sorrento without having a car. They were able to take a 3 hour direct flight from Leeds in the UK, to Naples, and then they either arrived by boat into Sorrento or arrived by train. Anything not to sit in a bus for 1.45 hours!!!

A great little spot for lunch in Sorrento.

That pizza sure looks good!

We ordered very quickly because we wanted to finish our meal and then walk over to where the group was dining - who were not having pizza!

Yummy! 1st bite…. So deliciouso!

Wow! Pizza in Sorrento. This town, wow! Sorrento is cheaper than staying around the corner on the Amalfi Coast. Hotels are around 145 euros a night and there are affordable Air BnB rentals for around 80 euros a night. Our pizza was 12 euros and meals in Sorrento are typically half what you would pay in Positano, on the Amalfi Coast.

We finished up our lovely lunch and walked back to the restaurant where the rest of our group was eating and our timing was perfect as the group had just finished lunch. Margaret said their meal was good and consisted of pasta, chicken and cannoli for dessert, as well as wine and water. I was happy we made the decision to go on our own, as it gave us more time to look around Sorrento, as well as finally having pizza in Italy!

We headed back to the bus with the guide, for the drive to our second stop of the day. We were going to see the Ancient City of Pompeii.

Richard in Pompeii.

It all depends on your perspective what you see in a photo.

Roman columns.

And a different perspective on the same shot. ‘The Large Theatre of Pompeii’ was built into a natural hill in the 2nd century B.C.and was one of the first permanent stone theatres in the Roman Empire.

The Large Theatre sat roughly 5,000 spectators. In 1972 Pink Floyd recorded a concert called ‘Echoes’ in the theatre. No one was in attendance for their show, but there is a You Tube video and the acoustics are amazing!

Pompeii was an ancient city located near Naples which was buried under 13 to 20 feet of volcanic ash and pumice in the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Mount Vesuvius roared to life and spewed ash hundreds of feet into the air for 18 hours straight. Once the cone of the volcano collapsed, it triggered a hundred mile an hour avalanche of mud and ash that flooded Pompeii and destroyed everything in its path. The city which was a wealthy town of around 20,000 was largely preserved under the ash of the volcano and it provides a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the time the volcano erupted. Even though the city of Pompeii was Roman, it was built on top of a substantial city dating from much earlier times as there are also many Greek ruins in the city, with items dating back to the 8th Century B.C.

I could not believe how vast Pompeii was! It was a very large city for its time.

The beautiful mosaic floors in Pompeii.

Fast food restaurant in Pompei.

Food was served in large folia jars set in holes carved in the stone counter, similar to today’s take out restaurants. Meat and seafood stew may have been on the menu. Poor Roman families couldn’t afford to have kitchens in their homes, so they bought food at these restaurants on the main street.

The old Roman roads in Pompei. They were quite difficult to walk on so I stuck to the sidewalks wherever possible.

The walls are well preserved in the amazing ancient city of Pompeii.

During the excavations in Pompeii, the remains of over one thousand victims of the 79AD eruption have been found. During the first phase of the eruption, those who had not left the city in time were trapped in their homes or shelters, buried by a shower of pumice stones and lapilli or killed by the roofs and walls collapsing under the weight of falling volcanic debris, reaching about 3 meters in height. After the eruption a high temperature phyroclastic flow hit the city at high speed and filled all the spots not yet engulfed by other volcanic materials, so that anybody still in the city died at once of thermal shock. The bodies of these victims remained in the same position as when the pyroclastic flow hit them, and being covered by calcified layers of ash, the form of their bodies was preserved even after the biological material decomposed. Many of the casts on display were destroyed or badly damaged by bombings in 1943 which our guide made a big deal about the factthat the Canadians bombed Pompeii in WW2.

As excavators continued to uncover human remains, they noticed that the skeletons were surrounded by voids in the compacted ash. By carefully pouring plaster of Paris into the spaces, the final poses, clothing and faces of the last residents of Pompeii came to life in the mid 1800’s during excavation. About 75% of Pompeii’s 165 acres have been excavated and some 1,150 bodies have been discovered out of an estimated 2,000 thought to have died in the disaster. That means about 18,000 people fled at the first signs of the volcanic activity.

Temple of Apollo in Pompeii.

I was really struck by this image as I took this photo. Today in 2023 a brother and sister are in Pompeii playing hide and seek, probably just like the ancient Roman children, but when Vesuvius erupted, they had no where to hide or seek shelter. It was nice to see the lighthearted play from these kids in Pompeii, almost as if the whispers of the past were encouraging them to play, and have fun, because their lives ended too soon and they did not get to live their lives playing hide and seek.

‘Before all turns to dust’ statue, Pompeii.

We arrived back to the cruise terminal in Napoli with ample time to get back on board before our 5pm back on board time. We could see another large mega cruise ship had arrived in port today while we were out on excursions.

The Costa Toscana with 6,554 passengers. The ship is new and is powered by liquefied natural gas. That ship holds more than 7x the number of passengers on the Neptune. Yikes!

We enjoyed our excursions today. We would definitely like to spend more time in Sorrento in the future because as always our speed dating of Sorrento was not long enough.

Richard captured this beautiful sunset when we playing Brain Busters.

Nice. The sunsets have been amazing on this World Cruise!

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27 abr 2023

What a lovely day! And that pizza ....... yum! Great photos, as always.

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