Day 16 – Naples & Pompei, Italy
We were up at 6 today, picked up by a Trolley, which brought us literally around the block to the tour station. Had we known, we could have easily walked. What’s one block when you’ve spent more than 2 weeks walking miles and miles through ten different cities? But, I digress…
We left with a full bus at 8 a.m. Unfortunately, this tour could not reach Sorrento. We were told that at this time of year, the Sorrento area is too congested. Later we learned that Naples was also very crowded with lots of traffic! Our tour guide was amazing. She spoke four languages! So, as we drove along, she had to repeat everything FOUR times. I was impressed.
After 2 hours, we arrived in Naples, and took a ten-minute photo break on the bay. It was gorgeous, with Mt. Vesuvias looming in the background. Naples is the largest city in Italy. It seemed like every single apartment (and there were tons) had laundry hanging out. Then we hopped aboard again and were given a panoramic tour of the city. After sitting in traffic for an hour, we arrived in Pompei, a fifteen km distance.
We had lunch at Hotel Victoria (included in the tour price), which caters to tour groups. Before serving us, we had a five-minute tour of a coral and cameo factory, only to be dropped in the gift shop for the remaining fifteen minutes. There were several groups there at the same time. The cameos were indeed pretty, just not our thing.
An additional tour guide joined us for Pompei, so that we were able to split off into smaller groups. Our guide spoke Spanish and English, and was excellent. We would not have enjoyed Pompei nearly as much had we gone on our own. It would be really hard to tell what we were looking at. The tour lasted about two hours. We had a little free time before we set off for Rome.
The people of Pompei were really quite smart. For example, built right into their stone streets, were chiseled out holes to tie their horses on the roadside. There were also three very large rocks leading across the street, at sidewalk level. This enabled them to walk across the street with dry feet when the street was flooded, which was common living so close to the sea.
The rocks were placed so that the carriage wheels could still fit right in between. Inside the homes, holes were left in the ceilings, with fountains and baths strategically placed below to collect rainwater. The largest home in Pompei was massive, having two gardens within its walls. We were back at the hotel about 10 p.m.