Thursday, October 13, 2005

Euro Trip - day#5; Naples

Wow! Apparently our wake up call didn’t work. Jen checked her watch and it said 8am! She jumped up and said, “Is it really 8am? Get up!” We were suppose to be in one of the lounges at 8:30am for our Naples tour! We both showered and got dressed in 15 minutes, we then ran to the breakfast buffet and ate in 10 minutes. We made it to the lounge at exactly 8:30am….talk about a morning!

We hopped on a bus and headed to Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano that covered Pompeii. We drove up a very windy road, and we could see the entire coast of Naples. There were lots of stray dogs and at one point a dog was lying in the middle of the road, and he didn’t move for us. So after we stopped and honked the horn for a bit, he finally left. Our guide said the dogs like the heat the cars leave on the road so they lay on it as cars pass. The bus dropped us off at the bottom of the volcano base. We had to walk up to the top by taking all these switchbacks (3000 feet up). The entire journey was at a 40-45 degree incline. We had to stop several times to catch our breath. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the top. We had quite the view once at the top. The volcano didn’t look too deep, but is currently is inactive, so the entire thing is filled with ash. You could feel the heat emanating from it. Some areas smelt like sulfur. They used to have a chair lift to get to the top, but in the 1970’s the volcano erupted and destroyed it, so all that remains was the cement base. Looking down from Mt. Vesuvius you could see where the lava had flowed last time the volcano was active. Some parts were still “smoking” due to the heat. We even found a few dogs lying near the top to feel the warmth. The walk down only took us about 15 minutes, but felt more dangerous as you are walking on rich soil and rocks. With that very steep incline it was easy to slip.

Our bus next took us to a “camio” shop. We thought they sold inlaid wood artwork…but it turns out it was more of a jewelry place…old antique looking stuff. We just used the restrooms (they were clean, but again no toilet seats).

Our next stop was Pompeii, and entire city back in 79AD was covered by the eruption of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius. We were surprised how much had already been uncovered, and they are still digging up part of this city today! Most of the city and buildings were intact since they made everything out of stone, brick and marble. The wooden roofs were burned away from the lava. They even recovered some bodies and plaster impressions of places where they found bodies. They said that the lava didn’t kill the people; it was the deadly gases from it that killed the people first. We saw a theater, a bath, courtyards, stores, and a “rich mans” palace. The roads were still intact with huge cobblestones, you could even see where chariot wheels had worn down the cobblestones in the streets. They also uncovered a meat/fish market where they found the building walls still painted inside and fish bones where they stored the fish.

The drive back to the ship was pretty quick. We were back about 3pm. We went to the lido deck for some fish and chips, we also finished off the rest of our anniversary cake. We were going to go back ashore (ship didn’t leave until 6pm) for a second look at the city, but we could see everything so much better from the top deck of the ship. There was a castle right across the street from the port, and another one on top of a hill near the port. We got some pictures and then laid down on a deck chair on the back of the ship and fell asleep. We woke up about an hour later and grabbed a pizza (there is ia 24 hour pizzeria on the ship!) and just watched the people on the ship, and the other ships at the port. Our ship left port about an hour late (7pm)….one of the tours was late getting back. We headed back to our room to shower (again) and get ready for dinner. Dinner was good….Dustin had escargot! After dinner we headed to a show. It was called “welcome aboard” where we met the activities director (John). John was absolutely hilarious. He invited 8 guests on stage and found ways to make us all laugh by introducing the guests. The show went late and we were up until 12:30am…that is a miracle for us!

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