Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mi piace l'Italia - Civitavecchia, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Anacapri (Part 3)

Way back when I was in Italy….

The next day I went on a Pompeii and Sorrento trip with Lauryn.  Mel and Alexis had a trip to Pompeii that day too so we were going to meet them in Sorrento and go to the beach.  However, when we got on the bus, the tour guide told us that we were switching the order because of the traffic that is in Sorrento by the middle of the day because everyone wants to go to the beach.  So we didn’t end up meeting up with them.  Anyways, we got some free time to walk around in Sorrento.  We didn’t have time to go to the beach, but we got to see it.  It was really cool because there were these docks that went down that had beach chairs lined up so you could sit on the sand, or go out on these docks.  Then we ate a really good lunch and went to Pompeii.  We walked around the recovered part of the city (and saw Mount Vesuvius – some people hiked up it that day).  I can’t even imagine how they dug that up – it’s really cool.  You can see where all the houses and shops were.  Some of the paintings on the walls were even still intact.

That night we came back to the ship and went out to Naples for some classic Italian pizza.  Apparently there’s this place called L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele that supposedly Opera flies out to.  Our group was getting too big so it ended up being this huge ordeal because we were supposed to leave at one time and then some people weren’t ready and other people wanted to come.  Anyways, long story short.  I ran back to get the rest of the group from the dining room but they were already in Timitz Square and then Nhesthy was waiting for more people so we got separated from the first group, but still managed to walk there.  Naples is, as Lauryn says, dodgy.  We got past the pier area and see one of those long 2 pronged spear things just chilling on the sidewalk.  Then as we walk to the pizza place I cross the street behind this car that backs up a little so I run out of the way and trip over a cinder block hanging out on the sidewalk.  Good thing someone had a band aid when we got to the restaurant.  It is a really popular restaurant so we went in and took a number and waited outside because it was kind of a small place.  We actually got called pretty soon, so we sat down by the kitchen area and could see them making the pizzas.  There were two options – margarita (regular cheese and tomato sauce) and double mozzarella.  I got a delicious double mozzarella pizza.  They were pretty big but they had a really thin crust so it was okay.  It was delicious pizza and we went out and walked around later.  We were trying to find this specific street, but it took over an hour and a half.  We kept asking for directions and people would say go down this street and then turn.  So we would and then we would ask for directions again and they would say it’s just around the corner, etc.  We backtracked over and over again, but it was a nice informal tour of Naples.  There were some parts that were really nice.  We finally found the street we were looking for and ran into a bunch of SAS people.  We went into this one place and it was almost all SASers.  There were 2 guys who weren’t from the ship.  They told Lauryn they were from Manchester England.  So she let us know and when Molly asked where they were from they told her to guess.  So she said Manchester and they said no, it was a place above there.  So who knows where they were actually from.  Also when we asked what one of their names was, he said “uh…. Matt?”.  So we said Matt? And he said – I love you Americans, everyone else calls me Mark by accident.  We’re pretty sure neither was his name.  Later, Mel and I were ready to leave so we took a taxi home.  We walked out to this street where there was a line of cabs and pointed to the phrase written on our green sheet that says where our ship was docked.  The guy walked to the trunk of the cab and took out his reading glasses.  I was a little nervous that he needed to get his glasses, but I know you don’t use reading glasses to drive, so I figured it was okay.  It was funny though because once he realized where we wanted to go, he kept asking “why do you want to go there?”  We couldn’t get him to understand why we wanted to go to the pier even though it was closed.  When we got closer, he went “Oh the ship! What company?”  So we tried to explain to him that it was for school (aka university).  I think he might have gotten it but I’m not sure.  The roads are crazy in Naples.  Some roads have lanes drawn on them but I don’t think they all do.  Regardless, the cars for the most part didn’t follow them.  I was more like a free for all.  Also, there were this motorcycle kind of things and I don’t know what the driving age for that is, but it seemed like people who were really young (like 14 tops) were driving them.  Similar to how I saw them in Rome, they just weaved in and out of the cars.  Think how really reckless motorcyclists drive but even worse.  When you would get to a traffic light, they would all come up from the back and go in front of you.  There would be no bikes at the front initially, but by the time the light turned green, there would be like 6 at the front.  We almost saw so many accidents it was crazy.  Nothing major, because there was so much traffic that you couldn’t drive that fast, but I was very surprised that we didn’t see any actual fender benders.  So we get to the pier and drive down but then there’s this gate that’s closed.  We need to get to the other side to get to the ship, but you can’t even walk around it.  So the driver looks and the gate and looks at the ship and says a few times “Not Possible”.  Mel and I just look at each other and say that it has to be possible.  So finally we turn around and almost bump into this other taxi as we try to squeeze past.  We get really close and our driver stops.  The driver in the other cab looks out and says to go ahead because there’s plenty of room.  So we squeeze by, find the right way to go around the gate, and get to the ship.  This didn’t happen with this taxi driver, and I don’t remember if I already wrote about this, but this story reminded me of another cab ride we had taken.  We arrived at our location and I saw that the meter said 5.80.  Then the guy hit a button and it changed to 6.10.  Then my friend in the back seat asked how much it was.  He turned off the meter and said 7.00.  We gave him 7 because we figured that would be 5.80 plus tip, but you have to be careful about these taxi drivers.

Time for a scholar seminar, ciao!

From the middle of the Ocean between Croatia and Greece, Sharon

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