On Sunday, we departed from Rome to be herded onto a giant ferry to the island of Capri, off the west coast of Italy across from Naples.
Once we landed on the island, we took a cable car up to the town of Capri, which was a few hundred feet above the beach.
Tourists pour out of these like clowns out of a clown car. Except much sweatier.
Capri is an absolutely beautiful island, and most of our travelers liked this part of the tour the best up to this point. Outside of the tourist-packed cable cars, it was warm but not too hot with a sea breeze.
We grabbed a lunch of pizza, pasta, chicken, or fish, did some sight-seeing, and then took the obligatory group shot.
We assimilated one of the New Jersey travelers into our group like the Borg.
After piling out of our overloaded cable car, it was time for a boat tour of the island.
The tour was great. The guide was able to meet my high bar for guides by being informative without putting talking to me too much, and the sights around the island were amazing.
Hey! We're on a boat!
Boat group shot!
After about 45 minutes of touring and 371 selfies, we returned to the harbor, and most of the travelers headed to Capri’s beach to swim.
The beach, though, was not an orthodox, American-style beach.
Those are awfully big grains of sand on the beach.
That was no obstacle for those people looking to swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Most of our travelers and many of the EF travelers from New Jersey spent the better part of two hours swimming and dodging the rocks at the bottom. The rest of the travelers were just as happy with their day since they found that rare treasure of the Italian cafe – free wifi that actually works.
In the evening, we took a slightly smaller ferry to Sorrento, which sits on a seaside cliff. After a short wood inlaying demonstration we had some free time to explore the town.
From Sorrento, we went up the Amalfi Coast to our hotel. The views of the coast were beautiful, but the road is a tiny street with hairpin curve after hairpin curve. Our giant bus could barely make the sharp turns, and, at one point, a smart car had to back up to avoid a collision as we came around. We made it without destroying one of the many erratic scooter drivers, though.
Waking up early on Monday, we headed back to the Naples area for a morning visit to Pompeii. We had great weather – it was only in the 70’s at a time of year when it can easily be twenty degrees hotter.
As in Capri, we lucked out with our local guide, who was knowledgeable yet understanding of our desire to take pictures that show a deep reverence for the history of Pompeii.
Via Della Abbey
Pompeii is a combination of Classical village, museum, and scene of horrific destruction. It would be like If Colonial Williamsburg had been partially destroyed by a tsunami – there are remains of nice shops, some pottery, and then this:
The people of present-day Pompeii are clearly enthusiastic about one of the big moneymakers in ancient Capri – the houses of prostitution. The prostitutes would use pictures and wolf howls to attract “clients,” and some of the pictures can still be seen above the rooms that were used.
The modern merchants of Pompeii have really embraced these images in a way that would be considered scandalous back home. They can be found on refrigerator magnets, wall calendars, figurines, and more, making this a regular cottage industry for the city. So get ready for that special “Pompeii” t-shirt we bought you.
The ancient city of Pompeii extends to the top of a tall hill, and at the top of the hill, we toured Pompeii’s temples and government buildings, and then took the required group shot in front of Mt. Vesuvius.
Our travelers demonstrated their happiness that Vesuvius is presently dormant.
It was time to descend from Pompeii to take care of life’s necessities by finding a free public restroom. That didn’t happen, but this one was only half a euro.
Seats are apparently optional.
Then we could take care if other needs – finding an ATM and eating lunch. Italians have a wonderfully imprecise way of describing distance. The ATM that was described to us as “around the corner on the main road” was exactly that, minus the insignificant detail that we would have to go three quarters of a mile down the main road. No biggie.
On the plus side, we did come across a restaurant with free wifi. And for those of you who were wondering what it looks like when American travelers who have been denied Internet access for twenty-four hours find a working Internet connection…
DON'T TALK TO ME! I'M INTERNETTING!
Pompeii is located on the west coast of Italy; Brindisi, the port we would depart from on the ferry to Greece, is on the east coast. Time for a road trip!
We stopped along the way for some authentic Italian treats, which were enjoyed by everyone.
Well, almost everyone.
We were ready to get out of the country. A little before 8pm we boarded the ferry to cross to Greece, and we were scheduled to reach Patras at 1pm the next day.
I have a bad feeling about this...