Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mykonos, Naples, and around the Sea....AThis

 Dear Family and Friends,

After a relaxing day at sea we stopped off at a Greek island named Mykonos… A more picturesque example of a Greek isle would be hard to find… It looks like something from every travel brochure about Greece ever made. Basically a barren rock dotted with typical Greek white buildings with colorful doors and windows, very narrow winding tiny streets, boutiques, and fabulous Greek restaurants!
Thankfully it was not a large town and we could take the day easy just shopping, walking round, drinking coffee, reading a book, and drinking lots of wine…
The only cars in the city were micro cars like a SMART car, but even with cars that small only one could go down the street at a time. An even then all the pedestrians had to go into the shops to make enough room for the car to pass!!
For dinner we went to a restaurant that was a typical Greek cafe by the water. The owner/waiter was something out of a comedy skit from SNL! He would come over, start talking to us and then mid sentence wander off to do something else or to talk to someone else, or to sing a Greek song.. Then he came back and asked for our order, but before we could move our lips he exclaimed he loves Italians and hates Americans because Italians know what they want and order it fast… then he walked away again. Finally he came back a third time to take our order and as we started telling him or order he told us to SLOW down because he could not take the order that fast.. And we weren't talking fast… As we told him what we wanted towards the end he cut us off and told us we were ordering too much and walked away… We would have been insulted but honestly we just started to laugh at the comedy in it. I believe the man had the worse case of ADD I have ever seen. Anyways the food was terrific and after dinner we had a beautiful walk along the coast back to the ship and sailed off to Naples…

After sailing all night we awoke to docking in the Naples harbor. I didn’t know what to expect since I did  not know much about Naples. We went on an organized tour which in general I am not fond of but with limited time and not knowing where to go it was a good move.
First our tour bus took us down the coast to what they call the Amalfi Coast. Absolutely stunning beauty! Imagine Highway 1 along the California coast with picture perfect coasting villages.. We stopped at a hand made furniture store, then down to Positano and briefly stopped for photos and to do some brief shopping. I purchase a popular cooking spice here called “VIAGRA”.. I will let you know how good it is…..

From there we returned to Soronto and spent a couple of hours there. First we went to lunch and had some pizza and wine.
Bonnie and I decided to to share a small bottle of wine with our lunch. Well apparently the wine was a bit stronger than we expected. After a glass or two Bonnie got a bit frisky and set her wine glass down so hard it shattered on the table! We all laughed and the waiter promptly brought her another glass and filled it. Bonnie drank a few sips and set that glass down, and amazingly it shattered too! She was so embarrassed she promptly left the restaurant and I was left to explain to the waiter their glasses were to fragile… Of course no one else if the place broke a single glass… :)
After lunch we walked around this charming town for an hour and did a little shopping. 

From there we took the bus to Pompie to view the famous ruins. I was totally overwhelmed with the beauty and grandeur of this place. I was expecting a few ruins and petrified bodies and that would be it….
This city was big! They have only uncovered about 20% and you could still not see it all. I thought it was on Mt. Vesuvius but actually it is in the center of Naples. Right now it is about 3 miles from the sea but when it was built 2300 years ago it was right on the water!
This was a Roman city and it is a marvel for its age… Beautiful streets, buildings, markets, theaters, running water, brothrels, and government buildings… Because the city was never hit by hot lava, it was only buried in ash so it was amazingly well preserved. Many parts look just like the day it was built. Please go to my blog see it all.
When the volcano erupted there were actually two eruptions… When the first one happened about 70% of the population left so they all survived. The next eruption happened that evening when the people that stayed were asleep. By the time they figured out what was happening the ash was so thick they could not breath or run and died right on the spot. 
Lava actually went down the other side of the mountain and complete vaporized another town, but Pompie never say lava, only the dust and gravel falling from the air.
That is why it is preserved like time stopped.
IF you are like me you have seen the so called “bodies” that died right on the spot and petrified… That is not what you see.. The city and bodies were buried from 300AD to about 1850AD. The city was accidentally discovered by a workers building a water aqueduct ! A German archeologist came in and did the original excavation. What he figured out was to drill holes into the ground and fill them with plaster and let the plaster harden. What you see are the plaster molds of the holes left in the ground by bodies that long ago decayed…  He did this process over 500 times to get just 40-50 good castings.. That is dedication.
Some of the expressions of the molds are really haunting.
By the end of the day we stumbled back to the ship and spent the evening resting up for an even bigger day in Rome tomorrow!

Until the next report signing off….
Jason

A typical sunset at sea...

See how relaxed Bonnie is?? That is Greek wine at work... :)

Lots of beautiful streets to explore and shop..

Here are photos of Mykonos...













Good bye to the Greek island of Mykonos..
Welcome to Naples, Italy!



The bay of Naples. In the back ground are two volcanos about 3000-4000 feet high. When Visouvious erupted and burried Pompie this was on mountain 9000 fit high and Pomopie was on the coast. Afterwards it was two small mountains and the coast is not 3 miles away from Pompie..


The view down the coast as we tour along the coast.

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OK I would really like to be riding my motorcycle down this road!!!

We stopped off at this hand made furniture store with beautiful inlayed wood patterns.


Music boxes too...

What a table! Old world craftsmanship is still alive..

This picture is all done with inlayed wood..

A private island restored where only the richest rich go...


Even from here we could clearly see the bottom of the sea..



Will try cooking with this when I get home.. Will have a full blog report with photos to let you know how good it is...




Welcome to Soronto..


Our tour bus guide. Totally Italian, funny, and charming..:)


Time to enjoy lunch..

Pizza and wine..mmmmmmmm!

Time for wine!

One glass down,,,,

Two glasses down... Sir your glass is defective.,,, honestly.














An old Italian man enjoying old world Italy...

Soronto Opera House.




Soronto is known for Cameo jewelry...









Now for a visit to the Pompie ruins.

At Pompie this was our guide.. A professional archeologist that really wanted to be a comedian! Very funny man.


This was a gladiator training ground.





As far as the eye can see the city of Pompie goes, and this is only about 20% of the original Roman city.



A Roman concert hall.












This was originally a store in the shopping "District". Notice the grooves in the front stones on the ground? This were for sliding doors of the shop!! Built around 200BC.

Pompie with what is left of Vasouvious in the background.

Shopping district.






This is a sign for a local pharmacy selling condoms for the brothel next door.... 2000 years ago..


House of Female Company..


These paintings above each room displays what "Services" are offered in this room.





Nothing says "SEXY" like a stone bed...




A drinking fountain. The worn sections on each side are from hands leaning over and drinking for centuries..



A Large Roman street..
I will let your imagination tell you what this is. Is is carved into the street in front of various houses. It tells two things... The wealth and status of the homes owner, and which direction to go to find the local brothel...


A very wealthy private homes.. Mosaic floor, fountain in the entry way, indoor plumbing, kitchen and several bedrooms..

The "SENATE"

This square is the FORUM, basically a shopping mall

On the right is a "Super Market" where you could buy any kind of food..


The big columns on the left was the slave market.. Common in the Roman times..

Beautiful lettering carved in stone.








This was one of the walls in the Super Market advertising different foods for sale,,,, milk, meat, fish, fruits, etc.

One of the plaster casts.




More Signs..



Because Pompie was a trading city these signs were so people from all over the world that did not speak laying could understand. This is a transport company.





Because there was no lava most of the every day life fixtures survived. Here they keep them under lock and key.



This poor pregnant women died right were she fell. You can almost see the anguish in her expression.



This man died while asleep. Probably the best way to go.








Those Romans knew how to enjoy themselves....