Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sept 12 continued

Vince says Capri is dramatic and he is right. Limestone walls, the sides scared away by time. Tall colorful houses hug the hills, flowers are flashy bits of red and pink. Rafael does not do a count, but he is enthusiastic, informative and it's marvelous hearing his lilting accent through the earphones. We take a bus up the winding road to the main square of Capri. Sometimes the vehicles are centimeters away from one another. I look out my window at the next door neighbor's bus and see the scratches glinting in the sun.
We find a bar overlooking the sea and the exquisite cliffs. We enjoy cold beer, delicious bruschetta and people watching while Rafael takes a group to the gardens.
When it's time to go back down, we take the funicula. We're at the front and it's a glorious ride. The ferry takes us off to Shore once again. Out on the ocean I watch an old man plow through the waves in a huge wooden boat. The old man in the sea!
The approach to Sorrento is breathtaking! The town is built on the edge of the crater, a huge volcano that once upon a time blew this world apart. Rafael takes us on a short walking tour, then we have a fabulous lunch in a quaint garden restaurant. We wander through the winding cobblestone streets, drinking in the atmosphere, the lovely ocean air, the incredible sights of the water far below.
Lemon trees dust the air with a citrus scent. There are grape vines everywhere, acting as shade as well as promising, lots to drink in the future. Flowers, bushes, ivy, olive trees, quaint buildings such as the clock tower: the combination is exotic, peaceful and addictive. We would rent a house here in a minute if it were not so far from our beloved.
We walk back to thus bus along little streets with the soaring limestone hills in the background. We travel between the mountains, Salerno on one side and Naples on the other, a sea of red domed rooftops.
Soon we are in Pompeii!  Visiting this Site has been on my bucket list for years and it does not disappoint. In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius showered 27' of volcanic matter on this town and collapsed most of the buildings. Those who tried to run met suffocation by volcanic gas. We witness their bodies curled up in agony, frozen for all time. Rafael is a superb guide as we make our way through the warren of reconstructed streets, buildings, bathhouses, and a brothel. The street sign for directions to the latter is hilarious: a stone carved penis still very clear. The large piazza, our last stop, is striking. We can imagine the people gathered here for fairs, markets, making their way to the Amphitheater, to the stores along the main street, talking, visiting. I tuck away a couple of story ideas.
Our drive back to the ship brings us past a shanty town in Naples and a twinge of guilt squeezes my heart. Another story idea floats past.

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