Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pompeii

On of the first things that I discovered about Krista was that she really, really wanted to visit Pompeii - we did meet at a geology camp :) This summer, when my parents gave us the amazing, awesome gift of a week travel the primary location was barely discussed. We were going to Pompeii!

A day forecasted to have rain must have kept the crowds down as we arrived early in the morning with few others and beautiful skies. The walk was humbling as we imagined a bustling village prior to the catastrophic eruption of neighboring Mt. Vesuvius. Narrow streets, side-walk "fast-food" counters, public baths and more provided us with a great trip.

Finally getting to tour a place on her list. 
One of the casts made when the hot ash flew through the city.

Street-dining counter

Inside a bath


Typical cobbled street recessed below the sidewalks / home entrances.

Mosaics

Vineyards

More casts


The edges are still uncovered. What amazing finds lie underneath the vegetation? 
Diner & Fresco 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Naples: a necessary stop-over

Even now, scrolling through photographs, it's hard to believe that Rome and Naples exist in the same country. In Rome, everything seemed to put together so we received a bit of a shock the moment our train deposited us in Napoli. Without leaving the train station, we transferred to the metro. There we waited and waited and waited. The quai slowly filled to the brim with people and there was still no sign of a train. The regularly scheduled train was simply not coming on time (first indication that we were in a new land). Eventually, one did roll in and we loaded with the hordes of others, made our way across town and found our hotel. Strike 2 was arriving in an Italian city on a Sunday afternoon. Almost everything was closed up which made the city feel even more desolate.

The National Archeological Museum was open so we walked there. Along the way we realized that a bathtub ring of graffiti adorned almost every surface of building. Beautiful buildings lay in various states of disrepair. The museum itself posted a sign indicating that the vast majority of exhibits were closed down so we skipped the visit.


Why were we here? Naples is well-positioned for those wanting to visit Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius so it was a necessary stop. 

Closed up


Grass and other plants grew from many buildings and monuments.

I wonder what the sermons here are like...


Sunday, August 3, 2014

To the Vatican

St. Peter's Square
A calm surrounded the square as we entered during the hours of dusk. Gone were the crazy crowds and lines that would return the next day in order to catch a glimpse inside the basilica. Rome felt so pleasant to walk around at night when temperatures dropped and the numbers of tourists dropped.

The next morning we joined the throngs of people to enter into the Vatican Museum. Again, Krista saved us by having purchased tickets earlier and we avoided the hours of standing in line. 


First impression: opulent. Second impression: still opulent

Grand halls managed to hold everyone with ease as we slowly made our way towards the Sistine Chapel. Paintings and tapestries covered every surface.

Hall of Maps






We made our way down the spiral staircase ready for the exit. The works of art were beautiful but how is the expense justified?