We accomplished the harrowing task of loading a bus on the busy streets of Rome and were on our way at 8:00 a.m. It was about a 3 hour drive with the Appenine Mountains almost always in view.
Our first destination of the day was Pompeii where we were scheduled for a group lunch – an authentic ancient Roman meal. I’m afraid I wouldn’t have done very well as an ancient Roman. Once again there were four courses. The first was a sort of dry cake muffin with some anchovies on top (?!). The second was a bland soup with grass and an oyster ball (?!). Third there was a kind of fish with spinach. And finally, the one I could actually enjoy, a fruit and cream cheese desert. Yes, I probably would have starved in ancient Rome.
After dinner we enjoyed a guided tour of the ruins of Pompeii. We learned that Pompeii was not buried under a lava flow, but by 24 feet of volcanic ash. The ancient site was discovered in the mid 18th century and has been excavated to reveal the old Roman streets, the walls of the old city’s shops and houses. The only bodies on display come from plaster casts made from the pockets left under the ash. The place was much bigger than I had expected – it took us the rest of the afternoon to view the streets (kind of like a shallow rock creek bed with stepping stones to cross – to avoid the sewage in the street); the shops some of which were like fast food places for the ancient Romans; the bordello (a very important part of the city); a rich person’s villa; and the forum. It was an informative and entertaining afternoon, but between the meal and the tour, our afternoon was shot.
So, we truncated our day and headed for our hotel in Sorrento. On the way we confronted quite a traffic jam as we made our way through a five mile tunnel. When we arrived in Sorrento we were treated to a magnificent view of the harbor – we stopped the bus and took pictures. Then when we arrived at our hotel, we had an even greater treat. Our room has just such a view – actually with two balconies facing different directions out over the sea. The one feels like you’re sitting out over the water. We all agreed it would be fine to just stay here the next three days.
Our evening was completed with a dinner together at a fine restaurant – this time with three courses. We had a tasty pasta dish, then fish (grilled sea brean (?), and ice cream and chocolate cake. It was good – made up for the noon meal. Now I’ve got to finish writing so I can step out and enjoy the view. Maybe I won’t set the alarm so I can miss the bus and stay here all day tomorrow – but that would probably be a mistake …. Probably.