IN OLD NAPOLI
2 November 2015
We didn't dock in Naples until 11 a.m., so our 3 hour excursion into town didn't start until 1 p.m. It was nice to sleep in (yes me!) and go to The Restaurant for breakfast, a lovely assortment of way too many things. I had oatmeal and it was nice to have something so simple (of course I also added a croissant). The internet was still out and a great frustration until I checked with Char and she had good connection, so I ended up having to take the laptop down to the Explorer Desk to have someone help me. The girl at the desk had to call the big guns because it was obvious she didn't know much about computers (when I asked if there was a USB port on the ship's computers, she didn't know what I was talking about).
Turns out they were changing something on the disk last night, which was when I got thrown off, but instead of coming right back, which it obviously did for Char, it did not for me, but instead disabled my IP. Essentially he kick started it and now it's fine, except things are v-e-r-y slow.
Char pulled something in her leg yesterday so decided to opt out of today's tour. Tomorrow we will be at sea all day, with no stops, so with two days of rest, she should be OK for our next port of call, which is Corfu on November 4.
She was sure, however, to get a photo with Mt. Vesuvius in the background! As she said, no eruptions today.
Walt had switched his ticket for the tour of Naples to a tour of Pompeii (that's Pom-pee-eye-eye, for those who understand why) so I was doing Naples all alone (just me and a bus load of strangers). Walt says that the difference between here and the US is that in the US when you talk about the "earthquake of 64," you refer to the earthquake of 1964. Here when you talk about the "earthquake of 79," you really mean the earthquake of 79 A.D.!
I didn't know how my day was going to go since I was halfway from the ship to the bus when I realized I had forgotten to change my Birkenstocks for walking shoes. I talked with Flavia, the tour guide, about it and about possibly staying on the bus and she was OK with that, but ultimately I decided to give it a try and it all worked out just fine.
Flavia is a 3rd generation tour guide in Naples. My favorite tour guide so far.
We first took a drive around the old part of the city and then the rich part of the city. It was difficult getting photos out the opposite side of the bus for this reason:
Every time I lined up a photo, this guy and his damn hat were there. However, I did get a photo of this castle on the water eventually when the bus turned around and went back the way it came.
I was also able to get this picture for Charlotte, in memory of all those statues of Lenin we saw in Russia with bird poop on his head (I don't know who this guy is)
(Ironically just after I took this picture, a bird landed on his head).
I even managed to get a photo of one of the natives enjoying the sun.
When it was time to begin our hour's walk in the old part of the city, Flavia asked if I wanted to stay on the bus, but I bravely said I would go with the group.
Actually it wasn't an hour of walking because there were lots of opportunities to sit, but we were touring the church of Santa Chiara. It is a religious complex that includes the church, a monastery, tombs and an archaeological museum (including a HUGE Roman bath complex). It was built in 1313 by Queen Sancha of Majorca and her husband King Robert of Naples. After being nearly destroyed by the allies in WWII, it was brought back to the alleged original state by a disputed restoration, which was completed in 1953.
Part of the grounds also includes a cloister for nuns, to prevent them from being affected by the outside world. These nuns, however, were often sent off to the nunnery by their parents, whether they wanted to devote their lives to God or not. Nuns and priests living together. What could possibly go wrong? Rumor has it that there was occasionally hanky panky in the beautiful gardens and even, perhaps, an occasional infanticide.
I fell in love with these wonderful pillars that adorn the garden and surround the lemon trees (now heavy with lemons). They are made of Majolica tiles and just beautiful. There are more than 70 of them in the garden. They had a magnet of a column you could buy, but I didn't love them enough to spend 10 euros for it. A photo will have to suffice.
At the base of these pillars everywhere are these great painted tiles which depict daily life in Naples.
Only one in all the garden showed anything about the place itself or its religious inhabitants, but I think this one is cute.
From here we entered the old Roman baths which were huge and featured a number of different baths, each with its own temperature from very hot to cold. It's hard to get a perspective from the way it is being restored, but this gives a hint.
The very end of the tour was this incredible creche which features the holy family at the top, and then coming down the hill, the citizens of Naples.
Through this whole tour, and the whole day, really, there was a man from the bus who took me on as his project. While his wife was ahead of us, he stayed behind with me to make sure that I got where I was supposed to be, and was there to lend a hand with steps. I was very appreciative. I never got his name.
At the end of the tour, we had about 40 minutes free time. I hoped to find a little cafe where I could sit and people watch, but the narrow street which we were on, didn't have outside food service. I did, however, find a couple of cute little girls still in their Halloween costumes.
I also found a great pasta shop, but was sad that the proprietor didn't move out of the front doorway because I would like to have taken a photo. I did get this much, though
And I found a place to get gelato. I had strawberry, but I know how Char loves pistachio, so I took this photo for her.
I had about an hour before we were all meeting for dinner at The Restaurant. We exchanged stories of how we had spent our respective days. Sounds like the Pompeii group had an educational experience. Oddly I don't know how it started, but we talked a lot about funerals we have known, sharing stories, tragic and funny. It wasn't until later that I realized it was All Saints Day so maybe that was appropriate.
After dinner we settled in the lounge, which we seem to do every night now, and continued our conversation, as well as plan out our meals for the next few nights. Ahhhh...the dilemmas of 1st World inhabitants!
As I settled in to write this entry, I realized that we had
spent an entire day in Naples, the home of pizza, and never had one single
bite of a pizza.
DINNER OF THE DAY
Starter: More caprese salad
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This is entry #5694