John & Connie Europe 2013 travel blog














6:00 am came a little too early for my liking since I was still feeling the effects from my cold and also feeling highly contagious so I had a big decision to make – do I stay back on ship for the day or do I head out with the others for the tour we had booked. Curiosity about the tour won out. John & I popped another cold pill and headed down to the tour debarkation sight.

As soon as the first words were out of our tour guide’s mouth, we were glad we had come along. In her strong Italian accent and timely comments, Manuella kept the passengers on our tour well entertained. She was a wealth of information about the history of Napoli, the Amalfi coastline and Pompeii. The Amalfi coastline must be driven to be appreciated. The narrow road winds through the fishing village of Positano, Sorrento and a few other small villagers built on the hillsides and surrounded by terraced gardens. The bays are dotted with small fishing boats and numerous beaches where the umbrellas invite you to stop and sun for a while.

The traffic itself on this section of the highway was incredible. Within the 60 km stretch of road, the bus had to make 1190 hairpin turns, sometimes having to wait as the small cars and buses coming from the other direction inched passed us at a crawl to ensure that neither vehicle lost a mirror or even worse, a door. Manuella frequently had comments about the nervousness and facial expressions of the passengers in the other vehicles. We had 45 minutes in Sorrento to wander through the marketplace to look for souvenirs or pick up a snack. From Sorrento, we travelled another 40 minutes down the coast until we reached an upscale seaside restaurant with a fantastic view where we were treated to a lunch of spinach cannelloni, an entrée of chicken breast in wine, dessert & wine.

Our next stop was to tour a cameo factory located right beside the ruins of Pompeii. Mt Vesuvius overshadows the ruins of Pompeii but has not erupted since 1949. The ruins of Pompeii cover 66 acres and after finishing our tour in the heat and with a lot of other tourists, we felt we had walked all 66 acres even if we hadn’t. Parts of the sight are original and other parts have been reconstructed. Seeing the chariot rutted limestone streets was incredible. Some of the highlights of the tour included hearing about the organization of the town with its streets of stores and restaurants, the identification of the homes of the well- to-do, the explanation how the brothels of the time were advertised and worked, and seeing the recreated bodies of former residents made by casting gave us all a deeper appreciation of the advancements of that time. This tour was 9.5 hours and was very enjoyable.

After dinner in the dining room, we decided to skip the stage show for the evening and enjoyed the evening lights of Napoli and the Isle of Capri as we set sail at sunset for tomorrow’s destination of Civitavecchia, Italy.

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