Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope that this will be an excellent way for me to keep all of my friends and family up to date on my semester abroad in Rome. Please feel free to post any comments you would like, or shoot me an e-mail and I will try to respond as soon as possible. Also, if you click on each of the photographs below, it will display them at their full size.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Naples: Day 3

WARNING: Kaitlin, there may be graphic photos of delicious pizza in this post!

We slept in a little later than we anticipated this morning, perhaps it was from all the walking around Pompeii yesterday. We met up with Monica's roommates Kara, Krista, and Ashley and headed over to Pizzaria da Michele which supposedly has the best pizza in all of Naples. It was a small, kind of hole in the wall place in a not-so-special part of town, but the pizza was amazing! They only had two kinds of pizza: Marinara, red sauce only, and Margherita, red sauce and cheese (though you had your choice of 3 different levels of cheese on the Margherita). I got the Margherita with the most cheese on it and it probably was one of the best pizzas I have ever had.
We saw this on the way to lunch. It might be kind of hard to see in this picture but there is a lady who lowered down a basket on a string from 4 stories up. At first we thought she might be begging for change, but just too lazy to actually come down to the street to do it. Then we saw someone from the store directly below her apartment put something in the basket. I guess she just wanted to safe herself the trip of going down there.

This is me outside in front of Pizzeria da Michele, makers of the best pizza in Naples.

This is me and my Magherita with "doppia formaggi" or double the cheese. It was delicious.

Here is my pizza minus me.

After we were done eating lunch we started on our way to the National Archaeological Museum. It was a little expensive to get in (they are not too nice about discounts for American students at many of the Museums in Italy), and there was a lot to see but the Museum didn't seem like it was kept up very well. We started out looking at a bunch of bronze and marble statues. Then I checked out some old currency from Pompeii and other societies from a long, long time ago. Some of the coins were almost 5 inches in diameter and made from solid metal, it would not have been too much fun to carry those around. We saw everything from old Egyptian artifacts (from a travelling exhibition) to old clay pots from indigenous people in the area. There is also a huge area full of artifacts and frescoes taken from Pompeii.

This is the outside of the National Archaeological Museum.

This was a 3D map that was made of the ancient city of Pompeii, it was cool to see it after we had just been walking through the streets yesterday.

In the same room was this model of the city. It was pretty amazing how accurate it seemed to be and we were even able to recognize some of the placed we checked out yesterday.

This was one of the mosaics taken from Pompeii. The detail was pretty amazing, it didn't even look like it was made up of a bunch of small pieces from far away.

A little closer view of the lion in the center of the mosaic.

A close up of the lion's head.

This was a portrait statue of a guy with the top of his head removed and Monica's roommate Krista. The statue's head was really big, so I made Krista go stand next to it to give it some perspective.

After spending about 2 hours walking around the museum, Monica and one of her roommates sat down at the museum's cafe to take a break. I found a staircase leading into the basement so I headed down to check it out with Krista and Ashley, they immediately turned around and went back upstairs when we realized the whole basement stunk of formaldehyde. I was a little repulsed as well but thought if it smelled this bad there had to be something cool down there so I kept going...and I was right. I stumbled upon not only a whole mummy still resting in its coffin, but mummified heads and other limbs on display in glass jars. They even had mummified crocodiles (or alligators I can't tell the difference very well). It was definitely worth dealing with the smell.

I first saw this pair of mummified feet in a jar...

...then this mummified head...

...then this entire mummy still hanging out in its coffin. It was really cool.

They even had a whole crocodile/alligator that was mummified for some reason (and some baby crocodiles/alligators next to the full grown one).

One of the baby crocodiles/alligators.

I went back and told all of the girls about the mummies and invited them to come downstairs with me to check them out, but none of them took me up on the offer. Then we left the museum and headed back to the hostel to take a break before dinner.

A courtyard near the National Archaeological Museum that we walked through on the way back to the hostel.

This is Via Tribunali, one of the liveliest streets in Naples with a ton of good restaurants lining the sides.

For dinner, we decided to go back to Gino Sorbillo because it was so excellent the night before. Even though i really wanted to get the calzone again I restrained myself and just got one of the pizzas. It was excellent as well.

My pizza. Capricciosa.

After dinner we went to Piazza del Gesù Nuovo to grab a drink. There is a pizzeria there that supposedly sold 1€ big bottles of Peroni. We found it and they had raised the price to 1.50€ but it was still a heck of a deal. We spent the rest of the night hanging out in the piazza, eventually got some gelato, and then headed home for the night.

This is la Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo. It kind of looked like it should be in one of the castle stages on Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Nintendo.

This was a huge monument in the middle of Piazza del Gesù Nuovo.

Ahhhh, Peroni (from left: Monica, Ashley, Krista, Me - Kara is taking the picture).

Friday, February 9, 2007

Naples: Day 2

We woke up this morning and hopped on a train from Naples to Pompeii. It was a bit of a dreary day but the ancient city was still pretty amazing. When we walked in and came to our first opening we were really surprised to see a bunch of stray dogs just kind of hanging out. Much like the cat sanctuary in Rome, there were dogs everywhere in this open field. We spent the next 4 hours trekking through the old streets and walking in and out of some of the old living areas.
This was one of the trains that came through the station as we were waiting for our train to Pompeii. Almost every train that went through has some kind of elaborate graffiti on it.

This is a view of the city of Pompeii from beyond the outer wall.

This is the first open area we came to, I think it was some kind of ancient forum, but there were just a few dogs kind of hanging out and relaxing in the middle.

A close-up view of the dogs from the previous photo.

This little guy was sleeping right behind me when I was taking the other two pictures.

Monica and I kind of wanted to take him home, can you blame us?

It was amazing how intact a lot of the structures and streets in the city were. This is one of the main road that runs through the city.

This was one of the many altars within the city.

I just thought this window was pretty cool looking with the vines growing over the top left corner of the wall.

Also in the streets a few huge grooves had filled up with water. About five minutes before I took this picture Monica slipped and stuck her foot in one of them. Luckily it only got her jeans and the outside of her shoe wet. Then she fell in an even bigger puddle and soaked the bottom part of her leg and all of her left foot wet.

This was a circular bench in a park area next to one of the large amphitheatres in the city.

This is the inside of one of the living areas in the city.

I just thought this ivy looked cool. I spent about 5 minutes taking pictures of it before Monica threatened to walk off and leave me there because she said I was being boring. I like this one the best.

This was another temple area.

After a while we ran across a part of the city that had some of the human remains on display. We first stumbled upon one that looked like it was being stored inside some kind of wooden crate. The bodies were mostly decomposed and only the bones were left embedded in the ash. Then we walked a little further and they had a couple of bodies displayed in old, dirty Plexiglas boxes that were a little more intact. It was pretty creepy staring at them.

These were the first remains we found. Mostly decomposed and they looked like the crates were just thrown down and opened as the lid was still leaning next to one of them.

Then we found this guy. It kind of put in perspective how abrupt the volcanic explosion was. You could see through to the bone on his head, hands, and feet.

It kind of looked like he was smiling.

After we had walked across the entire city one day we found a hill and climbed up it. It gave us a great view of the city and a little bit of the coast.

A little closer up. You can see the coast a little better.

After we were done walking through Pompeii we headed back to the train station to continue down the coast to Sorrento. We were a little sceptical because of the weather but we really wanted to see the coast. Little did we know they were having a little bit of a storm there. We got off the bus and it was really windy and rainy and Monica immediately wanted to go and get back on the train back to Naples but I told her we had to see the coast before we left. This proved to be a bit of a challenge.

From the train station, if you walk towards the coast the view is completely blocked by a plethora of different hotels. We found a little opening on one street but I didn't think it was a good enough view so we kept going. We had to walk about a mile before we found a street that looked like it might go through to the coast. We eventually found it, snapped a couple of quick pictures to prove we were there and then worked our way back to the train station.

Before we left for Sorrento, I went to use the bathroom and was greeted by this luxury bathroom stall.

This picture doesn't really do it justice but it was really windy and rainy. This was a view from the train station.

This is one of the streets we walked along for what seemed like forever, looking for the coast.

This is the first little glimpse of the coast that we got. After I saw this I wanted to keep going to find a better view.

This was one road that looked like it led to the coast but Monica didn't want to go down it. It was about100 feet down from the main road that we were on. I ran down the stairs to take a couple pictures before we continued on our way.

We eventually found a road that went through and the view was amazing. Definitely worth walking a mile through the freezing rain.

This is the only time Monica smiled the whole time we were in Sorrento.

It was amazing how clear the water was.

After checking out the coast in Sorrento we got back on the train, freezing and soaking wet, and headed back to Naples. We took it easy for a couple of hours and then headed to dinner. Our guidebook recommended a pizza place called Gino Sorbillo. Supposedly this is the place that invented the calzone and they claim to still be using the original oven it was created in. I was expecting that they were going to have a bunch of different kinds of calzones but they only have one on the entire menu. I decided to get it and it was quite possibly one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten...not to mention the fact that it was over a foot long and half a foot wide. Feast your eyes.

And yes, I finished the whole thing.

This is the best shot I got of the outside of Gino Sorbillo. I definitely reccomend it if you are ever in Naples.

After dinner we went on a long search for a Gelateria called Fantasia. We didn't exactly know where it was but after about 30 minutes we spotted a neon gelato sign and started running towards it. We were both very surprised and excited when we found it. It was supposed to be some of the best gelato ever, according to Let's Go but it we were not too impressed.

Monica spilled her cone all over herself as we were eating it when we were walking home. She was sad.

Right after we cleaned the gelato up off of Monica we were crossing a street about 2 blocks from our hostel when a car sped by and totally splashed muddy water all over us. It is hard to see in this picture but it was everywhere. Luckily I, using my cat-like reflexes stepped behind Monica at the very last second and she blocked most of it for me.

This is what her bag looked like when we got home. Nice!