We were docked in Naples again. Naples is famous for its authentic pizza, maniac drivers and streets which smell like urine. That’s all interesting for a while but this time round, I wanted to try something more exotic. So I took a tour to Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii.
The tour started with a boat ride to Capri and then a “cable-bus” to its peak. For those not in the know, Capri is famous for being a hangout of the rich and famous. It’s also famous for lemons. Ergo, the rich and famous are big fans of lemons. The lemons here are enormous, like larger than an average grapefruit. They make lemon-everything here – from lemon sorbet to lemon perfume to lemon chocolate to Limoncello, a liqueur which tastes like lemon mixed with alcohol and fun.
But it’s not just the lemons, which are spectacular. The views in Capri are breathtaking. The island is like something out of Avatar but with cobblestone paths. It almost made me wish I were rich and famous, so I could own a villa in Capri, visit it during the summer with my (hot female model) friends and get fucked up on Limoncello in the hot tub. Nice!
Anyway before we knew it, it was time to jump on another boat and then a bus to Sorrento. Sorrento is a beautiful, albeit touristy town and I enjoyed a delicious 3-course lunch with local wine and amazing coffee. Having a meal like this after months of a crew diet involving rice, mystery meat and salt was foodgasmic. Besides, there’s something very appealing about the Mediterranean approach towards food and drink – slow food, quality ingredients and lots of booze.
The tour wasn’t over however and the best was yet to come. After lunch, we took a bus to Pompeii! Pompeii of course, is that ancient port city which was buried in volcanic ash centuries ago. What’s really interesting is this massive city which used to be the home to 20,000 inhabitants was sort of frozen in time for almost 1,700 years. In AD 79, Mt Vesuvius erupted and over a period of 3 days, ash and pumice rained down on the city. Talk about having shitty weather!
By the end of the eruption, the roofs of the tallest buildings in Pompeii were below 10 feet of ash and the shoreline had moved 3 miles out. Effectively, the city disappeared and people at that time were unable to find it again.
It was only in 1749 when Pompeii was accidentally rediscovered. Over the last 262 years, the city was unearthed and even today only 70% of the 5 square-mile city has been uncovered. However, the restoration work has been impressive. Pompeii today looks like an actual city only eerily uninhabited. It was a modern city with beautiful buildings and a modern aqueduct system. Close to the main square you could find all the necessities, like bakeries, pubs and rental stores for animal or slaves. It seemed very convenient, like an ancient-world pedestrian mall. (Maybe not so convenient for the slaves.)
Nevertheless, it was like peering into the past and possibly the most amazing experience of my life sober (and with my clothes on).
Have you ever been to Pompeii?