After a well rested night, not really, because I spent a few hours downloading photos to social media. The internet was sketchy in our boutique hotel but it was free Wi-Fi. Giggle! Giggle! The next morning we waited for our tour guide to pick us up and take us to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. Another couple rode with us. Our driver, aka Dude, drove as if he was at the Indy 500. The narrow roads along the mountain created enough drama for me to pray silently and grip the dashboard while we sat in front of the vehicle.
The views were spectacular! Dude told us that Sophia Loren and Denzel Washington both had homes on the mountainside. I really don’t think he was telling the truth, though. He was a good guide and friendly. We saw plenty of lemon trees. I couldn’t get a clear shot with Dude driving like a maniac. We stopped quickly to take a few photos.
We finally arrived at the small town of Amalfi on the outskirts of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of the tiny toy homes used for decorations around Christmas to create a small village. Your perception of the water’s color depends on your closeness to shore when you view it. In most of the photos I took from a distance, the water looked blue. However, the photos I took up close of a small private beach, the reefs or plants gave it a greenish glow. I love to look at water from a distance and find it very relaxing. The views were fantastic. We walked around a bit, picked up souvenirs and sat on the beach just “chillin.” After a while, our grumbling stomachs wanted food. We found a restaurant off the beach to eat. Although the seafood was extremely fresh, I don’t enjoy my food watching me. The heads were still attached to the seafood.
After our meal and additional free time to roam, it was time to head back to our driver. Dude dropped us off with a tour guide for Pompeii. Our second tour guide, aka Insanity, informed us that his father was a guide and he became a guide, following in his dad’s footsteps. He walked extremely fast as if he was trying to beat the heat. It was another over 100 ⁰F day. We were walking on cobblestone and Insanity could care less. He was on a mission to complete the tour without anyone falling out on his watch and if they did, they were the responsibility of whoever found them.
With Insanity leading the pack, we climbed the steep stairs into the frozen city of Pompeii with its ruins. The famous ash covered people, animals and pottery are behind a solid gate. We saw the forms of a man and dog. I watched a documentary before leaving the United States (I don’t recall the name.) that mentioned the bones and organs of the people and animals were not inside the ash shapes. Their remains disintegrated years ago. The ash solidified on their bodies after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. You better believe I was a little nervous about being so close to the volcano.
We walked along the streets and according to Insanity; the city was an exciting and lively place for many travelers and inhabitants before the volcanic eruption froze it in ashes and time. Insanity talked of politicians using bribery, throwing lavish parties and writing ads on buildings to get the votes. I do not think anything has changed. I started thinking of my hometown, Chicago.
Insanity showed us the water pipes along the sides of the roads that provided fresh water to the city. We walked as Insanity zoomed in and out of other tour groups. As we walked along the street, Insanity pointed out the male organ inlaid in the street that pointed in the direction of the brothel. I took a photo of it but won’t post on this blog. Insanity joked around a lot. So much so that a few men from another tour group didn’t understand he was joking around. Insanity teased that they were taking too long and stopping too much for their tour. Between the heat and him “running his mouth,” there may have been an international incident between tour guide and tourists.
We waited outside of the brothel and Insanity continued to crack jokes. We finally entered and Insanity described several murals on the walls. He stated that the paintings depicted “special” services available in the brothel. Clients pointed at the painting and that service was provided for a fee. It was a horrible living.
We walked around the city in and out of buildings. We saw bathhouses, middle class dwellings and the famous mosaic dog in front of an entranceway. However, besides the ash covered people and objects, my favorite was the mosaics of dark skinned people. I kept repeating, “I see black people.” Soon, the tour was over and it was a relief because it was hot and we were hungry. We met up with our driver, Dude, and headed back to Rome.
Next Florence, Valmontone Fashion Outlet and Lenny Kravitz concert!