Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast
I arrived in Naples on Friday night. It was so good to see Mel waiting at the train station! Naples is a very interesting city -- it feels more like Asia than Europe to me. It is definitely different than northern Europe. The city is more than a little chaotic. The driving alone is an art all to itself! Apparently signs, lanes, stoplights don't really mean anything here. I am certainly glad that Jamy and Mel have mastered the art of Neapolitan driving because I don't think I could do it. And yet, because they don't really have a choice, they seem to have jumped right in and figured it out.
Mel and Jamy have a lovely apartment with a garden on the top of a hill in a suburb outside of Naples. The view is fantastic -- stretching out across the Bay of Naples to the islands of Ischia and Procida. It still seems a little surreal to me that they live here (and I think it still is for them too!). From Mel and Jamy's house, you pass old Greek and Roman ruins, including a Roman aqueduct. Amazing to think how long people have been living in this area.
On Saturday, we headed down the coast. The first stop was Pompeii. It really is a fascinating place. Of course, I had read and studied about it before, especially in art history classes in college. It really does feel like a complete town. The ruins are so beautiful and there is something that feels very sacred about them. It is crazy to think that so much of this place has survived intact since 79 A.D., thanks to being buried under layers of volcanic ash. There are even still frescoes and paint on some of the walls. Walking around Pompeii, I could really get a sense of what it must have been like to live in a Roman village back in the day. We spent the rest of the day in Sorrento, a pleasant town on the peninsula below Naples.
We spent Saturday night and Sunday on the Amalfi coast. What a beautiful area! The coastline is so dramatic, cliffs dropping down to the turquoise blue Mediterranean sea, with towns and villages perched along the shoreline. We visited the towns of Amalfi, Ravello and Positano. I liked Ravello the best. It seemed to be more laid back and was up on a hilltop overlooking the coast. We wandered and enjoyed a couple of drinks admiring the view. We even had our first celebrity spotting -- Noah Wylie (from ER) was coming out of the church after Easter services.
We stayed in a B & B along the coast in the small town of Torca. It was such a wonderful place. The host Tina made us feel so at home. Her mother lived there with her and she didn't speak any English, but was still so welcoming and friendly. They went out of their way to make sure we had a wonderful stay -- providing us with books, maps, and lots of good tips for visiting the coast. The breakfast was incredible -- we didn't have to eat lunch either day! Because of the Easter holiday, Tina prepared special Easter cakes and tortes, which were all delicious! We enjoyed a wonderful Easter dinner with some of Mel and Jamy's friends yesterday. It was great fun to sit, eat good food, and chat.