Hot, but not lava hot

I know it’s a bit chilly in the Midwest right now, especially for July, but we are roasting over here in Europe. We arrived in Naples, Italy yesterday. After trekking around the train stations to get to the Airbnb apartment we rented and being on the move for a few hours with all of our stuff, I was crushed to arrive at the apartment to be told 5th floor. No elevator this time. I tried to convince Z that I would be fine sleeping at the dirty stairwell at the bottom or that we could leave our bags, but he wouldn’t let me do either. Always pushy that guy. A few years later, (ok, 5 minutes maybe?) I arrived at the door, huffing and puffing like I was going to blow the building down. Or like a fat American who climbs 1-2 flights of stairs at a time at home, take your pick. Oh, and 5th floor is really 6th to us Americans, since ground floor is 0 here in Italy. Anyway, I’m sure I scared our poor Airbnb host, who speaks mostly French (go figure), and tried to convince him that I would live. 

After a few minutes of recovery, we headed to the National Archaeology Museum, a 15 minute walk away. (Oh, and the way down is quite terrifying too, since the steps are marble and have different heights.)  We spent a couple of hours exploring the vast collection at the museum, which had a lot of mosaics, statues, and frescos from Pompeii. It was pretty neat, though again, many stairs. They also have a “secret room” that’s not really secret, but is filled with ancient erotica, with statues, paintings, and umm, moldings. Z laughed like the teen boy he still is at heart, and D was indifferent as always. Just wait a few more years.

Dog statues.

A satyr carrying a young Dionysus, oh and a statue too.

We then checked out a board game cafe that was on our way back, and played a quick game of Villa Paletti, an Italian stacking game, and had some snacks. Z was lamenting he couldn’t buy more board games (we got several in Rome). I think he may dump all of his clothes and come back with only a bag of board games if this keeps up.

Starting Villa Paletti.

We had a restless night since the apartment does not have air conditioning, and even D had a hard time sleeping. Eventually we made it through the night, and we set off for Pompeii this morning.

Public transportation is great because it’s cheap and not great because it’s unreliable. So, we waited for a train for almost an hour to get to Pompeii, but we met an American family who works for NATO and lives in Brussels on the train, so that was interesting and nice to chat. We wandered the huge site of Pompeii for quite a while (no shade here, similar to sites in Rome). It is massive and you get a sense of what the city really felt like in some ways.

Walking into Pompeii.

A small portion of the pottery and amphoras from the site. Trust me, that’s a lot.

One of the theaters.

A neat fresco in a villa.

Mount Vesuvius by my face, a creature on my back.

Z again was excited by the beautiful ancient baths and many parts of the site. D napped in the carrier most of the time, and was happy to devour most of my sandwich when he woke up and we were on our way back to Naples. We are now enjoying the European tradition of ‘siesta,’ well, at least Z and D are. Tomorrow we head back to Rome before we fly to Athens on Sunday.

Yes, we are going to Greece. Yes, even with the banking crisis and the uncertainty. Right now, we are hoping to follow our trip itinerary, but if we have trouble in Athens, we will abandon our plans (and our money) to go to Zurich for a couple of weeks until we are supposed to head to Turkey. From what we have heard from other tourists, it seems that things are ok in Greece for tourists, and people desperately want tourism to keep going, so fingers crossed that we should be fine. Z will be sewing some euros into underclothing tonight (just kidding).

Oh, and in regards to the post title, no actual lava fell on Pompeii, it was covered in ash from the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. But, ‘hot, but not volcanic ash hot’ doesn’t have the same ring to it. And now you have some useful bar trivia knowledge. Maybe.

Until then, I’ll keep drinking strong Italian coffee.


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