Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012 – Naples, Italy – Partly Cloudy – 72 F

Distance from Civitavecchia to Naples, Italy: 170 Nautical Miles

Another beautiful day in Western Italy

Inside Information:  Naples is the capital of the Italian region of Campania and the third largest city in Italy (population 1.5 million).  The city dates back around 2,800 years.  The city was founded by the Greeks and then became an important city in the Roman Empire.  From the early 13th century until the early 19th century, Naples was a kingdom until it joined the unified Italy. Beyond Naples Bay, is the imposing, and dangerous, Volcano Vesuvius, which keep this part of Italy on its seismic toes.

Naples Italy (Small) Bourbon Castle Naples (Small)

Naples from the Ship

We are on an afternoon tour today: “Ruins of Herculaneum”.  Until then, we are heading into the city to again find WiFi and maybe some authentic Neapolitan Pizza (we have missed the last few times we have come here).  We were successful in finding WiFi in a hotel – Ellen once again used the Jedi Mind Trick to get the password of the hotel’s WiFi system.

Naples Hotel - Free Wifi (Small)

Hotel Providing “Free” WiFi

We were not so lucky in finding the wonderful restaurant we ate it a few years ago.  Perhaps it was a victim of the Italian economy.  With no other pizza options in site and the somewhat seemliness of the immediate port area (not to mention the cigarette smoke), we headed back to the ship and had lunch on the back deck.  Good food, warm temps, and a great view – what could be better?

Lunch on deck Naples (Small)

Lunch and Naples

Our tour started out around 1:45 PM at the pier.  The access to the busses was different this time than in the past – we had to go through the whole terminal (and shops) to get outside.

Our guide, Mario, was very enthusiastic although not always understandable.  Our first stop was at the requisite Cameo Factory, where we spent about 30 minutes watching workers demonstrating their skills.  The place also had facilities – a big plus.

   Cameo Factory Naples (Small)

Putting the statue to work at the Cameo Factory

Herculaneum was very close to the Cameo place and pretty non-descript from the outside – it was hard to tell we had arrived.

Herculaneum was one of several cities and towns destroyed by the massive explosive eruption of Volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD.  It had also been flattened by an earthquake in 62 AD.  Herculaneum was covered by a flow of pyroclastic rock to a depth of more than 48 feet (a different destructive mode than that suffered by the more famous Pompeii).  This resulted in a different level of preservation including the presence of plants and charred wood.

20121026 Herculaeum and Vesuvius (Small)

Herculaneum and Vesuvius

While the modern location of the ruins is close to the sea, the original village of 4000 inhabitants were right on the seashore.  The extra real estate was supplied courtesy of the volcanic lava flow, which created a new beach area.  We could see where the boats of Herculaneum were moored as we entered the archeological site.  The boat docks are the arched structures at the bottom of the photo below.

This area also contains two temples built for Venus and other gods and is known as “The Sacred Area”.

Heculaneum Panoramic (Small) 

Sacred Area

The tour of Herculaneum is summarized in the photo series below.  I have to admit it was difficult to determine where we were (we got our guides to the site at the end of the tour).

Heculaneum (Small) 20121026 Heculaneum (Small) 20121026_Heculaneum Atrium (Small)

Skylight in Atrium Area

20121026 Heculaneum Mosaic (Small)

Preserved Mosaics on House Walls

20121026 Heculaneum House (Small)

The “House of Neptune and Amphitrite” contains a glass paste mosaic of the God of the Sea and his companion (I will need to look her up).

20121026 Heculaneum Mosaic 1 (Small)

Mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite

We visited the “Hall of the Augustals”.  These are individuals who were former slaves who started to worship the Emperor Augustus.  There was a plaque on this house that indicated that this house was dedicated to Augustus and built by brothers.

20121026 Heculaneum Interior House (Small) 

Hall of the Augustals

What I can identify is the picture below – Ellen, me, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius – the entire package in one shot.

IMG_20121026 We at Herculaneum (Small) 

The sail away from Naples (while we were at dinner) took place at night.  I did manage to get a shot of the city lights and the Reflection continued on her journey.

20121026 Naples Sail Away (Small)

Tonight is a real treat since we get to catch Lindsay Hamilton’s Show.  The songs are likely the same but she is terrific.  As in her show last cruise, she started out with “Don’t Cry for me, Argentina”.

20121026 Lindsey H Evita (Small)

She also did “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, which I don’t believe she did in her last show.  She did “Climb Every Mountain”, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, and ended with “Memories”.  She had some technical difficulty with her earpiece requiring some mid-show correction (they never got them working) but she was terrific in spite of the glitch. 

She also did her visit with the audience.

20121026 Lindsay in the Crowd (Small)

We stayed until everyone had left so we could chat with her and pick up her CD.  Below, she and Ellen are discussing her technical difficulties with her earpiece.

20121026_144749-1 Lindsay and E (Small)

Another terrific performance by a great artist.

Pedometer: 7,650 steps; 3.63 miles; 374 calories

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