Published: August 10th 2006July 30th 2006
We arrived in Naples late afternoon and went directly to our hostel, Hostel of the Sun
. For anyone going to Naples I highly recommend staying here, it is the best hostel I have stayed at. The staff are friendly and helpful and the guests cool, it has a good kitchen, free internet, comfy common room, DVD’s to watch and laundry facilities to wash those clothes which have begun to move up the evolutionary ladder! It is an excellent place to hang out and relax after a day in Pompeii, Naples or the surrounding islands.
Our first night there we went out with a few people from the hostel to another seedy square with dodgy looking pubs where Joel, feeling the effects of the alcoholic yeast water he had been ingesting, made a bet with an English girl. If one of them was not in the kitchen at 9am the next day then that person had to wear a toga around Pompeii the next day. Pompeii
Joel lost. Being woken at 9.30am after a night out is not pleasant, being woken at 9.30am after a night out and realising what you have got yourself into is worse. It was not
worse for Justin and me, for us it was very funny. Joel was a good sport about the whole thing and as soon as we were inside he changed into his "authentic" roman toga in which he would spend half the day. Pompeii is quite amazing; a huge archaeological site with Vesuvius looming in the background, deceptively quiet. Pompeii was a large and bustling Roman city that was suddenly buried in ash, all the buildings are well preserved and as such it is pretty impressive to wander around and think of the thousands of people that used to call the place home. Unfortunately, in my opinion, all the works of art have been removed, save for a scare few, and housed in a museum in Naples where they lose their effect. I think Pompeii would be improved if the art were returned to its original locations, as it would show the place like it was rather than as an empty shell of a city that it sometimes tends to be, this is a minor complaint though. The highlight of the Pompeii site for me had always been to see the plaster casts of the bodies of the people killed there.
I was looking forward to this but when I finally got to see them it was not what I was expecting. Seeing the obvious human shapes of both adults and infants alike curled up on the ground where they fell was a surprisingly sober experience and really brought home the fact that the eruption of Vesuvius was a human tragedy first and foremost.
About half way through the day Joel had tired of the toga and I jumped at the opportunity to wear it. It was surprisingly cool in the heat and very comfy, no wonder the Romans wore them. I think I carried it well. Naples
Naples itself is mad, there must be something in the water. It makes the roads in Rome look efficient, safe and well organised, traffic lights seem to be mere suggestions for car drivers and are totally ignored by those hooning around on scooters. It is smoky, hectic and crowded. The only sight we saw in Naples was the museum that housed all the art from Pompeii, it was kind of boring apart from the amazing mosaics, one of which had over a million pieces and a wing housing a collection of
The House of the Fawn
I know I am going to get some abuse for this photo but I don't care, cos its cool.
erotic art. Those Romans sure knew how to party! We spent almost all of our time outside the city visiting the various places around it, Pompeii and Ischia. Ischia
Ischia is one of the many islands around the Naples area. We got the ferry there and a bus to the other side of the island to a beach called Moronti. The descent down the steep mountain slopes to the beach was quite a sight. It was good to just relax on the beach after the hectic few days that we had had. Unfortunately I got very sunburnt as I listened to the advice of Joel and Justin when they informed me that the sun was not very strong in Europe, so the next week I spent peeling like a banana. Later that day we got a train to Salerno, which we used as a base to explore Paestum and the Amalfi Coast. Paestum
Paestum is another Roman settlement that is most famous for its three temples, the temple of Hera, temple of Apollo and the other one (I forgot what it is called). These temples are very impressive and amazingly well preserved; they sit surrounded by ruins and
The Tomb of the Diver
Located at the Paestum museum this tomb is unique as it is decorated on the inside, the only Roman tomb to be found like this.
are by far the biggest structures in the area. The photos I took provide a much better explanation than my amateurish prose ever could, so look at them. The Amalfi Coast
The road along the Amalfi coast is brilliant; it is winding, thin, steep and chaotic. I loved it. The bus drivers merrily toot their horn around every corner warning oncoming cars and scooters and on numerous occasions everything came to a halt as a string of cars had to reverse to let an enormous coach inch its way around the latest hairpin bend. The scenery itself is astonishing, steep mountains that plunge into the deep blue ocean. The buildings perch on the cliffs and slopes seemingly always on the brink of toppling into the water. Nestled into the little valleys are the small, picturesque towns of Positano and Amalfi. We had fun on the beaches and exploring the alleys of these little tourist towns. In Positano Joel and I found some cliffs to jump and dive off which was really awesome, what is it about jumping into water from height that gives you such a rush? Justin eventually did some jumping too but only after much convincing. We
The Other One
The temple whose name I can't remember.
got some really good photos and videos on our cameras.
And that is what we did in Naples and along the Amalfi Coast, next time Tunisia.
There are more photos below