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Published: September 11th 2011
I had to attend an Infrastructure Conference at AFSOUTH in Naples during the week of October 10, 1994. At the time, airfares were substantially less if one stayed over a Saturday night. So rather than return to Brussels after the meeting ended at noon on Friday, I was paid per dium for one day and I paid for the second day to stay until Sunday, thus saving the U.S. government over $1000 in airfare.
The flight from Brussels to Naples was interesting in that the plane flew over each of the homes I had lived in Europe; Overijse, Glan Munchweiler and Boblingen, in Germany. The sky was clear so I could see each home as we flew past. I won't say much about my week in Naples, other than to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the place. The traffic wasn't nearly as bad as other cities I have been to. At least Italians know how to drive in such conditions...like dancing and not stepping on your partners toes. The pizza was great. The location on the Bay of Naples was to die for...who was it that said that you can die until you go
This was great other than I now would be visiting one of the most romantic places on earth without Linda. Instead I was joined by a couple; the husband was at the conference also.
14 October 1994 Friday. The conference ended at noon, so seconds later the other couple joined me in my rental car to drive to Pompeii. We spent several hours wandering around the ancient Roman city which had been burried by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79. It was rediscovered in 1749, and was subsequently excavated. The buildings and their frescos are remarkably intact.
We then drove to the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast, and proceeded along this very narrow, dangerous, difficult drive through such wonderous towns as Amalfi and Praiano before arriving in Positano; in my view the most beautiful town along the coast (featured in the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun"). We checked into a hotel a couple doors down from the very famous and expensive Sirenuse Hotel. We checked in and then exploered the town looking for a good restaurant. One slight problem with Positano is that all the streets go up and down...very good exercize.
However, each street is filled with interesting people and shops, so quite entertaining and slow paced so you don't really notice the climb. We had seafood dinner at a restaurant right on the beach. As with all Italian dinners it had many course and took at least four hours to eat. I really wished Linda could have been there. I intend to return with her some day; although that will be difficult as she has seen and done enough of Europe.
15 October 1994 Saturday. I spent this day on my own, so that the other couple could have time alone. I caught the early boat to Capri. I first took the tour to the Blue Grotto. You take a small boat into this cave and have to lean back as the entrance is so low. Once inside the water glows blue from the sunlight that enters the same way, except not bending back. After that tour, I took the funicular from the harbor up to the main town plaza. This is very exclusive and expensive territory. Roman emperors also built many palace on this island. I hiked from the town to Villa Jovis built by Emperor Tiberius, where
he ran the empire until his death in AD 37. Emperor Caligula used the palace, and often tossed people he didn't like over the steep cliff into the sea, presumably to die. The walk was very pleasant...not too much climbing...and passed through many gardens. I returned from the palace to Capri town in time to catch the ferry back to Positano. I rejoined the couple and we ate at the same restaurant as the evening before. We shared our days activities.
16 October Sunday. We retraced our steps along the Amalfi Coast to Paestum, founded by Greek colonists in the 7th century BC, and dedicated to their god Poseidon. We walked along the row of massive columned Greek temples, visiting each in turn. We couldn't spend much time ther because we had an early aftrnoon flight to catch from Naples to Brussels, so we left after an hour or so. We caught the flight on time.
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