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Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples April 10th 2018

I am returning to Naples to do follow-up interviews with the elderly ladies (some only 10 years older than me) whom I interviewed last October about their experiences during WWII. I formed a close bond with several of the women and wanted to go back and visit them, thus this trip. This time, I will interview them more about their philosophy of life, perhaps asking how much their war experiences affected their views. Anyway, I'll be posting a bit on Facebook, but largely here since some of my friends don't do Facebook and others, who used to do it have quit Facebook in the light of the recent scandals. I leave my mountain home in Tonasket early morning April 17, but won't be in Naples until the evening of the 19th--big time change difference, 12 hours, ... read more

Europe » Italy » Campania » Pompei March 14th 2018

Now in Italy for the last 3 weeks of our winter escape. As our friend Lorraine says, "2 of my best friends are Italian...pasta and vino!" We would add a third friend, pizza! Pompei has always been on Marlene's wish list (having taught about it in geography classes) so we started there with 4 nights in a hotel right by the walls of the old city that was destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 AD. We did it right and hired an archaeologist/guide; with just one other couple it was a very personalized tour and Lello kept us involved with many questions of what we thought we were seeing along the way. The following day we took the local train into Naples to visit the Archeological Museum where all of the treasures and artifacts recovered when Pompei ... read more
Vesuvius looms
Horse hitches
Storefront

Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples March 12th 2018

This morning we traveled with Francesco to visit the Certosa di San Martino ("Charterhouse of St. Martin"), a former monastery complex turned into a museum. Along with the Castel Sant'Elmo that stands beside it, this is the most visible landmark of the city, perched atop the Vomero hill that commands a panoramic view over the Gulf of Naples below. We and a group of friends (Lucy Tullo, Danielle and Larry Cobb) had made an attempt to visit this monastery and museum back in 2016, but it happened to be closed that particular day. Built as a Carthusian monastery, it was finished and inaugurated in 1368, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. During the first half of the 16th-century it was expanded. Later, in 1623, it was further expanded and became essentially the structure seen today. In ... read more
Church
Grand Cloister
Bruschetta

Europe » Italy » Campania » Paestum March 10th 2018

An earlier than usual wake-up call was in order this morning, as Francesco and his family (wife Anna, daughter Lucia, and son Luigi) were at our door by 8:45 AM for the 2-hour drive to visit the Greek and Roman ruins at Paestum, a small town in the countryside, about 30 miles south of Salerno. The bambini, 5-year-old fraternal twins, were very well behaved, and we enjoyed many chuckles while observing their antics throughout a very long day. We arrived at the site of the ruins in Paestum (known as Poseidonia to the Greeks, who settled in this area during the 6th-century B.C.) at around 10:30 AM. The site itself is in a very bucolic setting, surrounded by green fields and wildflowers, with rolling hills as a backdrop. Although skies were overcast, the temperature rose to ... read more
Temple of Neptune
Temple of Ceres
Chow time at the buffalo farm

Europe » Italy » Campania » Sorrento March 9th 2018

Dee and I finally caught a break with the weather, as overcast skies gave way to some sunshine today. By mid-afternoon it was downright pleasant, with the temperature reaching 59 degrees, under partly sunny skies, and light winds. Still jacket and scarf weather, but quite comfortable for walking. We've wanted to try riding the train from Piano di Sorrento into Sorrento, saving us a 3-mile hike. The station is a 15-minute walk from our apartment, and after we arrived we purchased roundtrip tickets for 5.20 euros (about $6.75), a real bargain compared to a taxi fare of $40! We missed the first train, after waiting on the wrong track(!), but boarded the next one about 20 minutes later. This train runs between Naples and Sorrento, with numerous stops along the way, including Pompeii. It's very popular ... read more
Circumvesuviana train
Riding the "Graffito Express" to Sorrento
Peroni time at Bar Syrenuse

Europe » Italy » Campania » Sorrento March 7th 2018

The weather looked promising early this morning, with temperatures predicted to be in the upper 50s under partly sunny skies, so we contacted Francesco for a ride into Sorrento at around 11 AM. After a brief stop to meet the chef and owner of Il Convivio, a nearby restaurant where he recommended we have lunch today, Francesco dropped us off at the museum entrance. The Museo Correale is housed in an 18th-century villa surrounded by a splendid citrus garden. It formerly belonged to the Correale di Terranova family, a noble family with wide cultural interests, who resided in both Naples and Sorrento. The last descendants of the family bequeathed the villa and their extensive art collection to the city, and the museum opened to the public in 1924. The museum consists of 24 rooms, distributed on ... read more
Museo Correale di Terranova
Gardens of Museo Correale
Footpath in garden

Europe » Italy » Campania » Piano di Sorrento March 6th 2018

The weather has been so miserable the past few days that Dee and I have felt a bit like penguins stranded on an ice floe! Although the temperatures have been well above freezing, the incessant showers, rain and gusty winds have discouraged us from venturing more than a few blocks from our apartment. In fact, with the exception of brief visits to the weekly vegetable market, and nearby grocery store, our only contact with the outside world has been from the balcony and the internet (no English-speaking channels available on the cable TV service in our apartment). Yesterday afternoon, however, we took advantage of a lull in the rainfall to explore the Georges Vallet Archaeological Museum inside of the Villa Fondi across the street. This smallish museum, spread over two levels, is the first territorial archaeological ... read more
Marble statue, Villa Fondi
Large terra cotta urn
Marble sculpture

Europe » Italy » Campania » Piano di Sorrento March 4th 2018

The weather on this Sunday morning, which happened to be election day throughout Italy, looked rather promising; some patches of blue sky appeared, and we could see the top of Mt. Vesuvius for the first since we arrived. Vesuvius, incidentally, lies about 15 miles away from Sorrento (as the crow flies), and rises to an elevation of 4,190 feet; by way of comparison, Mt. Etna in Sicily stands 11,000 feet high. We puttered around the apartment during the morning, but by the time we decided to go out for lunch, overcast skies had returned; on the bright side, at least the rain drops stayed away. In all our travels over the past few years, neither of us can recall being so pleasantly surprised and impressed with a dining experience than was the case today, in the ... read more
Spaghetti with mussels and clams
Veal served with vegetables on a bed of polenta
Dessert plate

Europe » Italy » Campania » Piano di Sorrento March 3rd 2018

The wind howled throughout the night, with intermittent rain showers and chilly temperatures settling in by morning. We had planned on taking the local train into Sorrento proper today, which lies about 3 miles west of where we are staying in the suburb of Piano di Sorrento. But we were forced to scrap that plan when a steady rain and chilly wind continued into the early afternoon hours. Yesterday, by way of contrast, the weather turned out to be quite pleasant, so we ventured out for a walk through the grounds of the Villa Fondi de Sangro across the street from our apartment. This villa abuts the property (Villa Jenny) our group rented in 2016, although none of us had explored the grounds and gardens during our visit. Villa Fondi was built in 1840 by the ... read more
Street view of Villa Fondi
Pathway in gardens
Villa Fondi grounds

Europe » Italy » Campania March 1st 2018

This morning we said farewell to our host, Claudio, at the Residence Schuler, and by 9:00 AM our taxi was on its way to the airport in Catania, an hour's drive south of Taormina. Weather conditions were pretty miserable, with lingering showers and chilly temperatures, but conditions began to improve by the time we arrived at the airport. We encountered a large crowd of passengers gathered around the Alitalia check-in area, and soon discovered that a large group of high school students were traveling on a school sponsored trip to Berlin. Still, we had plenty of time to check-in, and then pass through security screening, before our scheduled departure at 11:35 AM. Following a short bus ride from the gate, we boarded the aircraft on the tarmac, but were surprised when the flight actually departed 15-minutes ... read more
Reunion with Francesco
Villa Fondi, from our balcony
Marina beneath our apartment




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