Monday, February 27, 2012

South Trip

To pick up where I left off before, after coming back from Florence on Sunday the 12th we had two days in Orvieto before leaving on a four day trip to the south of Italy. We left on a bubble gum pink tour bus early on Wednesday and headed to Paestum. The drive from Orvieto to Paestum took about five hours with stops but the trip was definitely worth it. Paestum is ruins of an ancient city. The weather was sunny and beautiful when we arrived. We had about three hours to just walk around and explore on our own. I took a lot of great pictures while I was there.

After Paestum we headed to our hotel in Pompeii. We ate dinner at the hotel and went to bed. In the morning we had a guided tour through Pompeii. Pompeii is also ruins of an ancient city which are located on a hill near the coast. It was destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted thousands of years ago. It was really cool to see the ancient streets, shops, houses and even an ancient brothel. When Vesuvius erupted the people of Pompeii didn't know what was happening so the evacuated the city and left their slaves to look after their houses. Casts of the slaves' bodies were found in the ash. This a picture of one of them. 

After spending a couple hours touring Pompeii, we had lunch then took our tour bus to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. We didn't get to spend very much time in Naples. The only part of Naples that I got to experience was what I could see from the bus and the museum. The museum was huge and had some pretty cool stuff. These are some of the pictures from the museum in Naples.

The next morning, We woke up early, hopped on the bus and headed to Sorrento. Sorrento is a peninsula on the Amalfi Coast. As soon as we got there we checked into our hostel then went straight to the bus station to catch a bus to Positano. Positano is also a town on the Amalfi coast. It is located on a very steep slope. We found a hike that went to the top of the mountain on which Positano is located. The hike was mostly stairs and steep slopes but the view from the top was breathtaking. You could look down and see all of Positano and the ocean extending as far as the eye can see. We spent awhile at the top and then decided we wanted to go to the beach for sunset. We had about two hours to make all the way down the mountain and to the beach before sunset. We headed down as fast as we could without hurting ourselves. When we got to the bottom of the mountain we realized that the fastest and safest way for pedestrians to reach the beach was to take a series of stairs all the way through the city from the top down to the beach. We ran down hundreds of stairs determined to make it to the beach by sunset. We finally made it, just in time. It was kind of chilly out and the beach was very rocky but I took my shoes off anyway and put my feet in the water. We stayed at the beach until the sun had set and reluctantly headed back up the hundreds of stairs we had just run down to catch the bus back to Sorrento. These next four pictures are in Sorrento and the rest are of my adventures in Positano.

On the last day of our trip to southern Italy we went to the Isle of Capri. Capri is a half hour fairy ride from Sorrento. It is a huge vacation spot during the warmer months. Fortunately we were there before tourist season so we basically had the island to ourselves. The one drawback of this is that most places in Capri are only open during tourist season. One thing that was open was the Villa San Michele. Villa San Michele is the former home of Axel Munth. The house is now a museum and the gardens are still maintained beautifully Getting there required us to hike hundreds of stairs up a mountain (because I hadn't done enough stairs the day before). When we got to the top we found out that the bus could have taken us there for only 1.80. Fortunately the gardens made the hike almost worth it. They looked over the rest of the island the the bright blue ocean. After spending a couple hours there we found some lunch then took the bus back into town. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering through the narrow streets of Capri. We made sure to stop for gelato before taking the fairy back to Sorrento were we met the bus and headed back to Orvieto. These are pictures of the fairy ride, Capri, and Villa San Michele. 

I didn't get back to Orvieto until almost 1:00 a.m. on Saturday night. I was so exhausted a went straight to bed and spent most of the day Sunday relaxing. The only time I left our apartment was to go to the grocery store (which ended up being closed anyway) and to attend evening mass at the Duomo. The whole thing was in Italian so I couldn't understand anything but I could at least tell which part of the service we were in. It was pretty cool seeing the inside of the Duomo for the first time. This past weekend I went to Florence again and this weekend I will going to Assisi and Perugia so expect to see updates about those two trips soon.

~ Jena