Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friday, May 28 - Saturday, May 29

Friday morning we left for a two-day trip down south to Pompeii and Paestum. It was about a 3 and a half hour bus trip to Pompeii where we were stopping first, which is right in the area of Naples and Capri. We passed right by Mt. Vesuvius which was crazy to see, especially the fact that there is a town at the base of the mountain that even extends up the side of the volcano. 

Mt. Vesuvius has three cycles of eruptions, a 50 year cycle, 500 year cycle, and a 2000 year cycle, which are all over due. The people of the Napoli region obviously are not bothered by this fact at all which I just find astonishing. The last time the 2000 year cycle happened was obviously when Pompeii was buried and frozen in time, so whenever it does go off it’s going to be disastrous. The reason it’s over due is that the mouth of the volcano is clogged with rocks. They’ve also recently discovered that the lava bank feeding this volcano is as big as the Bay of Naples. So being in Pompeii was pretty exciting J

We walked around the ancient city for a while, learning about their Forum and what the city used to be like. When they started excavating at Pompeii, they started finding these air bubbles down beneath all the ash that they couldn't figure out what they were. One smart person decided to pump a sort-of plaster down in the hole and excavate around it to see what they got. It turns out all the bubbles were actually where the people of Pompeii were buried and then evaporated from the shear heat of the blast. If you look closely, the bones are even in the casting.

We went in some typical Roman palazzos and baths. Jamie even took us to an ancient brothel. Emperor Nero made prostitution legal to rake in huge amounts of money to pay for everything he wanted to do as emperor. As such, there were many establishments such as these throughout the Roman Empire. Above each door a fresco depicts a different sex position, like an ancient Kama sutra hahaha. 

It was miserably hot so we were all glad when we finally got to leave. We got on the buses to go about another hour to Paestum. 

When we got there we went out of the hotel’s beach and went in the freezing cold water. All the guys played a world cup tourney, and Devon, Nick and I got like 4th place. After that we went in and cleaned up for dinner.

This was another delicious, real Italian meal like the one we had in Cinque Terre. The owner of Hotel Calypso prepared a menu for us all to eat. All of the ingredients were local and organic, and the food was superb. We had red wine with dinner and our first course was a type of bread with a tomato sauce on top. The second course was a type of noodle casserole with homemade noodles, cheese, potatoes and tomato sauce.  The third course was pork with peppers, potatoes, and eggplant. It was so good. I’ve fallen in love with peppers on this trip. For our fourth course we had rum cake that literally tasted like there was a whole shot of 151 in each piece. It was so strong but past that it was very good.
After dinner we all went into town to try to find some bottles of wine, and came across some outdoor pool/pizzeria place that had some. We all got a bottle and headed back to the beach to sit around and relax and have a little bit of fun after the long day.

Saturday morning we got up and took the bus five minutes to the archaeological site of Paestum. There are three temples that remain on this site and they are some of the best-preserved temples in existence today. Even though Paestum is in modern day Italy, it was originally a Greek colony founded in 7th c. B.C., making these Greek, Doric temples. These temples date back to about 500 B.C., making them over 2500 years old! It's unbelievable how intact they are still. 

We first saw the Temple of Athena, then the biggest, which was the Temple of Neptune, and finally the oldest, which was the Temple of Hera. There were a good amount of stray dogs here, and one dog came up to us at the beginning and just laid down with our group as Jamie was lecturing. We named him Maximus. He stayed with our group all day and never left our side. It was soooo sad to leave him at the end of the day :(

After Paestum we got pizzas and headed back to the beach to relax for about 3 hours before we headed home. We all laid out on the beach to work on our tans, but the weather so pretty overcast so it didn’t work out too well.

I did a quick sketch of the ocean and then we boarded the bus before the bad weather set in to head home.

No comments:

Post a Comment