Sunday, August 3, 2008

Naples, Vesuvius, and Sorrento

Saturday: We started this morning off by heading back to the town of Pompeii and took a bus from there up the summit of Mt. Vesuvius. But before the bus arrives at the top, they take a 30 minute break at a stand run by a very charismatic 80 year old gentleman who was hired by Italy 15 years ago to run the most recent funicular that was being built then, but it was never completed and he's still waiting to start :) We enjoyed listening to his stories of the former funiculars, life with British soldiers after WWII during an eruption, and more. We couldn't stop ourselves from buying a few postcards to support the guy. Then the bus took us to the visitor center that was close to the top of the mountain - close but we still had a lot of switchback trail climbing to do. And the bus comes at funny intervals so we had to either be back on the bus in 1 hour or 2.5 hours. The climb to the top took about 25 mins, then about 15 mins of taking pictures, then we raced back down to catch the bus that was getting ready to pull away.

After the bus dropped us off at the bottom of the mountain, we took a train out to Sorrento, a scenic town on the Amalfi coast. We wandered around a bit and saw the center of town in about 30 minutes. Then we headed down the cliffside path from Piazza Tasso and went for a swim in the Bay of Naples then back up the hill (these stairs are a lot easier to climb than Vesuvius' switchback trails the air isn't as thin either). We had dinner at a nice local restaurant catering to the tourists who overrun the town. The local musician Fernando entertained us with famous Neapolitan songs. Then we took the train back to Naples and that was a long day. Whoo!

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