Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Hey! Pompeii!

I am bored with the black theme and going for simple minimalist white themes now. I realized a long time ago when i first started blogging, widgets were like the best thing ever. However, once you start upgrading and changing themes, it's a pain. Yes, there are ways to do this but darn, i am as lazy as a LOLcat. Hope you like theme, i do actually, brighter,whiter... and gosh, i took ages to select one i like here. Finally settled for this plain one. Sigh. If only i know how to design this on my own. :)

So let's go back to my Italy post. I intend to ensure that ... i complete some travel post lah. I am not so successful in this area. Just to summarize for the readers out there, I went through the more popular parts of Italy which was Rome, Napoli, Sorrento ( drive by - really, no pun intended as well to the mafia meaning ), Sienna, Pisa, (wait, wait... i need to check the tour brochure -... starting to forget!), Florence, Venice, Milan and then towards France for a 2 day trip in Nice - It's bus rides all the way man. One thing good about Europe, is the max the driver can drive before stopping is 2 hours, so every 2 hours you get - toilet break and shopping at ... Autogrill!! Yeah, rest areas in Europe are pretty awesome -you can get food, clean toilets even souvenirs to take home here at the Autogrill or sometimes just to stretch your legs.

While i was waiting for others going on a pee break ... i took this picture of the sky and leaves on the way to Naples itself. There wasn't any photoshopping here except for the words but the sky, was clear! You start to compare sometimes when you are overseas how better the grass is on the "other side" but for me, it's mostly the sky and air that i like.

We are on our way to Pompeii, which is near Napoli ( or Naples as the English called it ). You know the famous song Santa Lucia... hey, Santa Lucia is in Naples. This is an industrial town which to me has not a lot of scenery if you are near the ports but once out of the port area, the view is fabulous. Being one of the main economic cities in Italy, this place is hustling and bustling ... and also famous for one thing besides pizza and Pompeii. The mafia. Yes, next to Sicily, this is one area that can be considered a hub. When i was there, there were 2 news items of interest about the mob there. 1) They caught one mafia fella hiding in the chicken coop. He's been evading arrest for like 10 odd years and finally, they caught him. 2) The Napoli police posted a rather graphic killing of a person in hopes to catch the perp. What's frightening is, the people there seem to think it's normal and calmly go about their business.

Ok, enough about mobsters... the main other attraction in Napoli is ... Pompeii. Destroyed by Mt Vesuvius many centuries ago, this one of the biggest attractions in Napoli. Big ocean cruisers stop here to make day tours of Pompeii. The ancient ruins are now a Unesco Heritage site and you can do the walking trip of the whole of Pompeii for 8 hours. We took the short version- which was 2-3 hours. And this was one of my favorite in the tour of Italy.

Oh by the way, that little cloud above the mount? Seems like it is always present and due to the difference of temperature. Hence mt Vesuvius is easily recognizable from a far based on that cloud flowing it.

You will need to walk alot, so bring good shoes as the roads in Pompeii are bumpy and have not change since the last time they discovered it.

The tour takes you to the more interesting parts of Pompeii... frankly without a guide, i think i will get lost. I would say i find it really weird walking through a place that was devastated in almost an instant by the fiery volcano and you feel as if you can still hear the people that formerly lived here. Residual memories perhaps? I could almost hear how the people were living here, running through the lanes and path. ( My dad say I am weird ).

However, you cannot really avoid it as every where you go, you are reminded of the people who lived and died here - check out this pictures. Looks like normal pots right? Look closely... do you see a shape of person at the bottom of the picture?

Well, that is actually clay shape of a man they found, when they dug up Pompeii. All they found was this ash with the shape and historians took the mould of the shape in clay. In fact there are many of these shapes that can be seen in the open museum, there is even a dog and pregnant woman trying to cover her belly from the ash rains during the volcano's eruption. Actually, i found it pretty disturbing to see all this, as it practically shows you these people's last minutes alive on earth.

Remarkably, some areas of Pompeii are well preserved despite being bombarded by ash from the volcanic eruptions. Some buildings are still standing, with all carvings and art still intact ( a bit dusty ) The shot below shows one of their public bathing places. Long time ago, people liked to bath together in public houses... well, mainly for those who are not so well to do but it was considered a place for socializing.
And ... in those old days, there was also the rich and poor, and this how a rich man's garden is decorated, with really ornate mosaics in the garden, painstakingly put together. The clay that is out of the Pompeii and Napoli area as this red tint to it giving it that reddish tint that you see in. This house was so big, it had rooms for guest - a rather large one plus 3 bed rooms and 2 dining rooms, one for summer and winter.... Servants quarters were upstairs while, the rest of the house is downstairs.

Now ... what would be a town like if ... you don't have a red light district. For some reason, the guide thought it would be amusing to take us to see it and ... we were throughly amused actually. Guess how people used to distinguish prostitute houses that time... Yeap, a phallic symbol on top of the roof. And such houses, the hire up you go, the more expensive it will be .... ( you know what i mean ;) ) .... Interestingly, like in all cultures, this happens to be placed some what far off from the main square of town.

If you wish to see more of pictures of Pompeii, click here. Next post is about food i had in Pompeii and ... Napoli. All what walking is making me hungry.

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