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Lauren: Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento

July 4, 2011

Flying Penis

This past weekend was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  On Friday morning, our group, led by my Art History professor, Pia, met to take a (very nice) bus for to Naples and Pompeii for the day.  In Naples we visited the Naples Archeology Museum.  Here I saw the original statue of Atlas holding up the world, and several other very beautiful and famous pieces.  We have been in a lot of museums lately, but what really set this one apart was the artwork they had from Pompeii.  Before the eruption, Pompeii was a prospering city that had a great love of…uhm…sex.  They regarded the male genitalia as lucky and powerful, and a lot of their artwork depicted this.  Much of the Museum felt like a collection of ancient porn, and judging by all the giggles from us girls, I think my professor may have overestimated our maturity. 

However, in all the Museum itself was great, but Naples isn’t somewhere I have a desire to go again.  There is a strike going on right now involving the government, the mafia, and the garbage workers.  I’m not sure of the details, but the result of whatever conflict this is was disgusting.  I did have some of the best pizza I have ever had while there though, so they at least get kudos for that.

After the Museum, we took the bus another 30 minutes to the ancient city of Pompeii.  This experience was very exciting.  Our tour focused more on the architecture of the buildings rather than the greatly preserved bodies, but we were also able to see some of those as well – which were very eerie.  One interesting thing I learned while there is that the ruins now serve as a home to about 30 stray dogs.  There are signs up saying not to touch the animals, and one might wonder why they are there, but what I have noticed in Italy is that they are much more relaxed about allowing animals indoors, which would explain why they do not care if the dogs have decided the ancient city is their new home.  Two of the dogs took quite a fancy to our group, and walked with us for a majority of it – made me miss my puppy dogs (who I hear are doing great and are being well cared for!)

The group inside an ancient Theatre in Pompeii
Paige and I

Capri

Once we were done with Pompeii, we got on a half hour train to Sorrento.  Sorrento and Naples are both the same distance to Capri, however a lot of us felt much safer staying somewhere other than Naples for the night.  After some confusion finding the way to our hostel, we were happy to see just how nice it was!  The owners were great and very friendly, and our rooms overlooked the beautiful bay.  That night we went out for dinner at a seafood restaurant by our hostel.  I was very excited to try the fish here, as we were so close to the Mediterranean!  But much to my surprise, and I don’t know why I didn’t expect it in the first place, but my meal came out with a face!  It was a whole fish!  Not a filet!  It had a head!  And a tail!  And bones!  Not knowing how to react, I began laughing hysterically, along with everyone else I was traveling with!  I remember my Grandma bringing over fish like this to our house when we were younger, and I remember always refusing to eat them.  I hope she’d be proud to know that I finally overcame my fear and grossed-out-ness and I ate this fish!  It was delicious!  I don’t regret getting it in the slightest.

That night some of us indulged in the local wine, but overall it was an early night – as we had to be up early the next morning for our day trip to Capri!  At 7 am, we all met in the lobby and ate a so-so breakfast provided by our hostel.  Then it was on to the ferry to Capri!  It took about 30 minutes, and provided us with some great views of Sorrento by sea!

More exciting parts of the tour included….It’s hard to find the words to describe the beauty in Capri.  So I’ll let a lot of my pictures do the work.  We rented a boat around the island, which lasted about 2 hours.  Unfortunately, the Blue Grotto was closed due to a dangerously high tide, but we were still able to see both the White Grotto, and the Green Grotto – which we were also able to swim in!  Swimming in the Green Grotto was an experience I will never forget.  It was hard to swim, so you had to let the waves carry you.  In the arch that blocked out the sunlight, the water was illuminated to the most beautiful bluish/green color.  You could see everything in the water it was so lit up!  It was one of the coolest things I have ever done.
The Island!

 

Capri’s Famous Arch


After our tour, we ate a pretty expensive lunch on the coast.  This time, I decided to skip the fish and went with the safe option of Chicken and a side salad.  Next, a small group of girls decided to take a ski-lift type contraption up to the topmost point of Capri.  This was TERRIFYING.  After buying our tickets, we discovered that you had to travel up the 15 minute ski lift BY YOURSELF in a wooden seat that looked about 20 years old.  I was convinced to do it, and instantly regretted the decision – but once I was on, I had to stay on, until the very tippy top.  There were even points during the trip that we were traveling at an almost vertical incline.  As we got higher and higher, I became less anxious, and was able to relax slightly. 
While it was very scary, it was also 100% worth it once arriving from the top.

The scenes from up above were breathtaking.  Here are a few:

The million dollar yachts turned into little white ants…

 

The Arch from Above!

 

Found an awesome statue at the top!

 

Capri is spectacular.


In all, it was one of the best days of my life.  I wish that my family and friends could have been there to share the experience with me.  That night we took the train back from Naples to Rome (where I met one of the doctors for the US Women’s Soccer team!  Having taken care of the team for the North Korea match, he was allowed to go on holiday for the week – and wouldn’t ya know it he chose Rome!)  He was very nice and helped us find our way from train station to train station.  He and I discussed the World Cup and what chances the US had at winning – it was very exciting!  I couldn’t help but think how jealous my sister and dad would have been!

It’s another week of school for me now, but today has been a chance for my roomies and I to catch up on SLEEP!  Hope you all enjoy the pictures!

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