Tuesday, September 18, 2012

La Citta Antica di Pompei (The Ancient City of Pompeii)

This last weekend was a real wild one! I went with a group of 7 other friends: Jacob, Jessica, Kara, Devyn, Ally, Meghan, and Eric to the Amalfi Coast. For the sake of my sanity as well as yours, I'm going to split this post into a couple separate ones. Yes, there's that much to tell!

I believe that the smartest place to begin would be Friday :)


So.... the first stop on our weekend ferris wheel of traveling was Pompeii, the ancient city that was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in it's famous eruption in 79 AD. The amazing thing about the city is that much of it still stands despite its destruction and the consequential 2000 years. Upon entering the city, I was amazed by the amount of it that was conserved.

However, something that I truly loved about the place were the stray dogs who were so loving and friendly. Although there were signs informing me the danger of petting them, I couldn't resist, particularly with this friendly fellow :)

Friendly Puppy leading us to lunch
This whale of a dog hardly managed to get up and walk around, but he did when we asked him where we could get some food. Kindly enough, he obliged, leading us directly to the cafeteria, even pausing to wait for the stragglers of our group. I grew so attached to him that I ended up nuzzling him a bit and giving him some of my food, the picture of that will come soon enough, I promise :P

As we meandered around Pompeii, I managed to snag some really cool photos! For example, like this giant-sized keyhole in the ceiling of this building :P

Ceiling Keyhole
Or, of these cool statuettes that lined the walls of the same building without having been destroyed.


Continuing on our journey of exploring Pompeii, we found that you could literally just walked into any old house and kind of do whatever the hell you wanted. I climbed up and found a neat series of pillars that I could look down upon from a random house.

Hello, Pillars!
We even found this sweet bachelor pad of a couple of brothers who just partied all day and night because they were so rich. Here's their pool and outdoor lounging area. It's even got a center area to set your drinks down upon while you swim!

Bachelor Pad Pool

Exploring the pad further, I found that they built themselves a nice little rooftop terrace to look out upon the city from.

Rooftop Terrace

All day it was sort of gloomy and mildly drizzly, which would normally ruin sightseeing, but in the case of an ancient city full of dead people, it seemed rather fitting...

Gloomy, yet fitting
 Here was the local bakery, and those big circular things on the right are where men would stick wooden spokes in and hand-crank to generate energy. That'd be a rough job!


Here was one of my more favorite rooms, the local tavern. Anyone down to go there for a drink sometime?

Near the end of our exploration of Pompeii, I found this little gem of artwork on the ground. It was located, ironically enough, on the other side of those pillars I was looking down upon from a house earlier in the post.

Preserved Artwork
And the entire time we were walking about Pompeii, there was one thing that we truly wanted to see. Dead people. So here it is! The one, the only (well not really, there were a couple), the immortal (jk, he's totally dead), the famous Pompeiian Dead Guy!!!! Supposedly he was slain so quickly by the explosion of Mount Vesuvius that they were able to preserve his body and encase it in some sort of material that appears to be stone for the past couple thousand years.

Pompeiian Dead Guy
After finally seeing the dead guy, we had seen enough of Pompeii and decided to continue onto our next stop, Sorrento. Now, I don't have many pictures of this next part, but boy do I have a story for you.

Arrival in Sorrento
Our arrival in Sorrento was pleasant enough, as you can see from the photo above. However, we unwittingly had decided to book a hostel that in fact was really just a bunch of rickety cabins up in the mountains, away from the nightlife and anything interesting that we could want to do. In case you can't tell in the photo above, this had become a rather wet day, and staying in crappy cabins in the rain did not seem like the most appealing prospect for our group. In addition, we talked to some people who had already checked in and I would like to quote a couple phrases: "We didn't know what we we're getting ourselves into" and "Our roommate booked this, not us!"

Upon hearing these things and strongly desiring warmth and a hot shower, we tried to hop on the next bus back down into the city. The first bus we got on turned out to be a coach bus who, although initially allowing us to pay him, saw the very american looking Jacob and instantly started yelling at us to get off the bus. So back into the rain we went >>

A little bit later, the correct bus came along and we hopped on it going into town with no plan and nowhere to stay. After riding around for a bit, we got off the bus during the pouring rain and ran into a local shop that sold random items (umbrellas, bus tickets, cigarettes, etc) and I (the only italian speaker in the group) had to ask the shop owner where the closest hostel was. She gave me a number, which I then called and had to figure out prices and how to get there etc...

We kind of were unsure on where the hostel actually was, causing us to walk quite a bit in the pouring rain, getting our clothes and backpacks soaking wet! Then, after quite a long walk, we finally arrive at the hostel, only to realize that it was literally right down the street from the train station where we originally left to go to the campground. Irony, you truly are a cruel monster. Fortunately, the hostel was friendly and helpful, getting us beds at a fair rate. 

I didn't mind this hostel at all, but the rooms were a bit tiny.

Small room
However, on the plus side, they had really cool toilet seat covers!

Trip out while you let it out :)
Thus, upon getting settled into our hostel and changing out of our soaking wet clothes, all the members of our group strongly desired a release from the many trials of finding a place to sleep at night. So we went out to dinner, where everyone split a few pizzas as well as ordered some pasta and the wine flowed strongly all night! We had a hilarious little waiter who kept bringing us rounds of limoncello shots for the whole table and doing funny tricks with my hat! Also, we all got a cocktail. Honestly, this was probably the most enjoyable dinner I have had in Italy.

Din Din
After many an hour enjoying great wine, food, company, and warmth, we noticed that the rain had finally settled down and so we went out on the town.

At first, we just grabbed a couple drinks and chilled on the stoop right next door to the liquor store. We went by many a name, but this night, we were known as the children of the stoop...

Children of the Stoop
Many a people came out of that door-to-who-knows-where, but none of them cared that we were all just drinking on their stoop. Very friendly people in Sorrento :)

After the stoop, we ended up in the main piazza of Sorrento, where I snapped this photo of a cool road that appeared to be leading down to the beach.

Although you can't see it, on the wall of the left side is where there was a club and karaoke bar. I danced and sang my heart out all night long. Up on stage, Eric, some random Australian dude who was awesome, and I rocked many a song for the crowd. My favorite of the night was probably Sweet Caroline. Unfortunately, I think it was this karaoke night that sparked the loss of my voice. I still haven't recovered fully, but it's finally improving.

Here's a photo of a Kara and Jessica havin fun dancing :)

Jessica(left) and Kara(right) dancing
After I went back to the hostel, I was skyping Sloan when a couple of really drunk girls walked in and took one look at Sloan and then proceeded to tell me that she was very pretty and too good for me. Then, realizing that she could hear everything they said, continued to compliment her on her beauty, and then went to bed. Rather strange ending to the night, but alas I have to agree with them. Love you babes :)

Man, what a day. And that was only Friday.

Soon to come: Saturday in Capri and Sunday in Positano!

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