After we were done with our tour to Pompei we returned to Naples and set out to find our hostel
. Now, in spite of the numerous warnings that we had recieved about Naples being a dirty city, we decided to stay there. We had to use the metro to get to our hostel and popped up in an area that looked like if we were in Winnipeg we would have been stabbed. SO not the super polished tidy tourism centre that other European cities are. We wondered around, looking for our hostel and both of us were feeling quite nervous about the area, but were also trying to be brave for the other. We finally found the correct street and number and wanted to cry when the front door looked like a huge dugeon door. SO SKETCHY!!!!! But, bravely we rang the bell (Hostels in Italy tend to be one suite in a larger building) and entered through the miniature door within the big dungeon door. Oh wow, this place was old school. But then, as we entered we noticed that we were not entering into a front lobby, but a court yard that was encircled by the building. A very nice old Italian man popped onto the landing and waved us up to the hostel. We climbed up 3 flights of marble stairs (its hard to feel too sketchy when there’s marble involved) and arrived at a very cute hostel with an adorable host named Giovanni. After we got settled, we headed out to find ourselves some dinner on a lovely restaurant terrace that was only a 3 minute walk away. It was a wonderful stay, and not at all dangerous (obviously, since I am still alive and unscathed). All we kept saying is "if our mothers saw this street right now they would kill us!" But we promise mom(s)..
. it was much more an issue of culture shock than of actual safety :)
The next morning, we got up and set off to our planed beach day in Sorrento, which was such a cute little town! You have to walk down the coastal cliffs to get to the beach area, and it was all quite charming. The free beach area was very small, overcrowded (even for Europe) and was more mud than sand, so we decided to splurge and went to a paid beach. This meant that we got our own beach chairs and a shared umbrella with a side table. We felt like such ‘big girls’ and it was just so wonderful to lay there, reading a book, listening to the waves and, of course, floating in the Mediterranean! It was truly a fabulous day! We headed back to our hostel, which seemed infinitely less dodgy now that we were familiar with it, and got ourselves ready to head up to Northern Italy...
We got an early start on Sunday morning and headed took a train, through Naples, to see the excavated city of Pompei. Okay, so as it turns out, Pompei is super cool. It is an ancient city that was burried under the ashes of the volcano called Mt Vesuvius in around 200AD. This tour was nothing like the Roman Forum because the ENTIRE city is still in tact, mostly with whole buildings, not just patches of pillars. We got taken through the city blocks and got to see side walks, groove tracks on roads from where the chariots drove, advanced plumbing, drainage systems, grid style city layouts, street signs, heated floors, public baths with special roofs that prevent condensation dripping, and artistic mosaics with perspective techniques far 'beyond' their time. WOW. Pompei (and the Roman Empire) was so advanced, I just can’t believe it!