Day 039: Naples, Italy | West By Sea
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Day 039: Naples, Italy

Posted by on 2013/06/27

Day 039: Naples, Italy
Position: N 40º 50′ 36″ E 014º 15′ 46″
Weather: 29ºC wind 12kts, waves 1m
Last Port: Istanbul, Turkey
Next Port: Civitavecchia, Italy
Status: In Port

From the Navigator
Throughout the early morning we will maintain a north easterly course along the Tyrrhenian Sea towards Naples. At around 0445 this morning we will pass between the island of Capri on our port side and Sorrento on our starboard side as we make our approach to Naples. We anticipate boarding our local pilot at 0600 before entering the harbor through the breakwater and maneuvering alongside our berth. We expect to be all fast alongside at 0700. This evening once everyone I’d back onboard we will thrust off our berth and retrace our courses out of the breakwater. We will disembark our pilot and set north westerly courses paralleling the coast of Italy towards Civitavecchia.

Today was busy with a multifaceted trip, first to Sorrento, Italy for lunch and shopping, a tour of a lemon, cheese and olive farm, then to Pompeii to tour the excavated remains of the ancient city destroyed by Mount Vesuvius. Along the way we picked up some new Italian words and restocked our supply of local fresh fruit. There is a decidedly “southern European” feel to this place – very Mediterranean, resort-y and relaxed.

Entering the coastal Italian city of Sorrento.

The route to town snakes along the steep, south-facing cliffs. Eyes on the road and don’t look down.

A small anchorage at the port of Sorrento, Italy.

Michelle and Minnie love the Fiat. Chao!

In the lemon groves at a farm in the hills above Sorrento.

These one meter diameter stone wheels have been crushing olives into oil for over 100 years. They were once turned by donkey power and today by an electric motor.

A little slice of heaven. Everything you see on the plate was grown and produced within 100 meters of the table. We sampled four types of cheeses, two different breads, local olive oil, white wine and several types of limoncello.

Now that’s a lemon, and not even the largest one in the basket. Each fruit could probably produce an entire glass of lemonade.

This drainspout kitteh was very vocal when we were paying her some attention. Probably begging for some of the exceptional local salami or cheese.

A ceiling decoration uncovered in a large Pompeii house, perhaps a hotel.

This is a plaster cast of the cavity left by an unfortunate inhabitant of Pompeii. Several such casts were on display. They were quick to point out the casts were NOT human remains. Still, the detail preserved by the ash and lava is striking.

A typical street in ancient Pompeii. This picture tells many stories. First, you have to keep in mind that everything you see had to be uncovered by excavators. Then you realize that this is one of hundreds of streets already uncovered. The large stone you see in the middle of the street is not a security barrier or something that just fell there. It’s a crosswalk. With horses, mud and household garbage all mingling together in the roadway such stones were how people kept their feet clean while crossing the street.

Take yourself back 2,000 years and imagine yourself walking to work. You are about to pass through this archway, as you’ve done every day for your entire life, when suddenly the mountain in front of you erupts with pyroclastic fury. Within minutes you realize there is no escape as the ashes begin to fall around you.

Another view of the storied Mount Vesuvius on a beautiful day.

Artifacts extracted from the excavation of ancient Pompeii. The cages of perfectly preserved objects go on and on. The century-old project continues to this day.

A view from the city towards the southeast. Flowering trees are in bloom, as they likely were on that fateful day.

The walls built in Pompeii were built straight and true, and built to last. Trees once again grow in ancient courtyards, silent testament to the relentless power of nature, inexorably working against our puny works in big and small ways.


Tour Overview

Your culinary adventure begins in Naples where you’ll board a motorcoach for a 90-minute ride to a local farmhouse in Sorrento. You’ll visit the “frantoio” or olive mill where the tart orbs are pressed into golden drops of olive oil. You’ll also visit a wine cantina and witness the art of mozzarella-making. Enjoy samples of the fresh white cheese with salami, wine and mineral water.

You’ll return to the motorcoach for a quick 15-minute ride into the town of Sorrento. You’ll have 2 � hours of free time to explore the village overlooking the Bay of Naples and enjoy lunch on your own. Take in the breathtaking cliffside views, enjoy the sea breezes at the Sorrento Pier, go beachcombing along the rocky shoreline or stroll down Corso Italia-Sorrento’s flower-lined main boulevard of shops, designer boutiques and caf�s. Sorrento boasts one of the biggest shopping districts along the Amalfi Coast-from lace sheets and fine furniture, to table linens and handcrafted pottery. It’s a prime place for shoppers and ambiance seekers alike. Get off the main path on to the cobblestone side streets and public squares, such as Piazza Tasso and Piazza Antiche Mura for great atmosphere.

The next leg of your journey continues at Pompeii. Here you’ll discover the archeological excavations of a lost city buried deep beneath the ash when Mt. Vesuvius violently erupted in 79 AD. This monumental natural disaster killed thousands and entombed the city. Explore the grounds on this 105-minute guided tour of the ruins.

Walk the grounds as your knowledgeable guide points out the remarkably preserved remains that hint at daily life-their customs, buildings and cuisine. The eruption of Vesuvius preserved a moment in time more than 2,000 years ago providing evidence of how they entertained, decorated and lived. From the ruins we know Pompeii was a vacation community for high society before the eruption; it had a forum, amphitheater, gymnasium, shops and an aqueduct that delivered water for irrigation, fountains and private baths. Some of the buildings are remarkably preserved with elaborately detailed mosaics and colorful frescoes decorating the interiors of wealthy homeowners’ villas. It’s fascinating and sobering snapshot of ancient Roman life.

Following Pompeii, you’ll re-board the motorcoach and stop at a cameo factory where artisans apply skills handed down for generations, carving seashell or coral into intricate works of art and beautiful keepsake jewelry.

Your tour comes to an end back in Naples after a 30-minute drive where your ship is docked and awaiting your return.

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