Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rome - Day 8

Up and at it and out of our hotel in Rome by 8am...onto our bus for a 3+ hour drive to Pompeii...the weather is not great, we were warned to dress warmly as it was expected to be stormy today...

The sun was shining when we checked out of our hotel but an hour into our bus ride south the rain has started...lots of sleeping on the bus today as everyone is tired.

Not too much to see from my seat in the bus but I did snap a couple of the houses I saw along the way.

We have finally arrived in Pompeii...our tour guide Ezio has a strong accent and is difficult to understand...but what we did learn, if you aren't aware of the history of Pompeii....is that it was covered with over 20 feet of ash and pumice from an eruption from Mount Vesuvius back in 79AD and it was partially uncovered in 1599 and completely uncovered in 1748.

It is seriously raining out today!!! When we arrived it started to pour, Marissa and I decided to purchase a poncho at the entrance to Pompeii...it also helped keep the wind and cold away from chilling us to the bones!

Ezio was nice enough to direct us under cover and then told us the history of the areas we were in...the photos above was where they trained the gladiators...they did not fight here, only trained.

Marvin and Marissa...don't you love the fashionable poncho Marissa is wearing?!!

This stadium was for performances like plays and music shows...there was a stage area made from wood, now gone, and they know there were orchestras there too. This stadium was not used for gladiator exhibitions, only artistic shows.

This was a wine shop...you can see the barrels on the countertop and the small marble shelves would have displayed the bottles of wine.

These are some of the earliest Frescos, still all intact, really amazing!

Look at the detailed carving in the ceilings...remember that this place was abandoned in 79AD...even though it was covered in ash and pumice...everything had been well preserved.

These bodies were also discovered perfectly preserved...they have been mummified in a sense due to the fact they were covered in ash...amazing and sad.

Pompeii is also know for its baths...they have discovered three different ones, hot, warm and cold baths...there are natural hot springs that feed into each of the bath rooms that they were able to determine that.

This is an example of the lanes or streets of Pompeii...just wide enough for a chariot to pass by...stepping stones across at various spot so that you could avoid the 'waste' which was flowing down them!

You can see in the photo below the worn in grooves from the chariot wheels...

Next stop the local Pompeii brothel...as Pompeii was a stop for many different speaking peoples, the signs above the doors indicated what you wanted to 'order' from the resident prostitute...

A very small, stone bed...I'm not sure what coverings or cushions were used, if any...some of the signs are clear, some aren't...

While you might initially assume that this is vandalism...it was actually advertising for the brothel...the penis is actually 'pointing' you in the direction of the business! True...I couldn't possibly make this stuff up...well maybe I could, but it's what Ezio told us so I am assuming its true.

The main streets were actually an open sewage system, the sewage ran out of the houses, into the lanes and then down the main road which led out of the city into the sea...people walked along the narrow sidewalks and the chariots and 'waste' travelled along the roads :)

Lookin' good! Well we are marginally wet and cold...but the rain has slowed luckily. We are sporting our rain ponchos and you are lucky enough to see all of those chins of mine too, once again!

You can see Mt. Vesuvius behind Marissa below...snow capped too...which apparently only happens a couple of times a year!

The tour part is over and now the guide takes us into the area where craftsmen are making Cameos...

In addition to Cameo's, they also have other souvenirs for us....

Nice huh? Of course the kids had a great laugh when they got to this booth!!!

The top commodity being grown here is lemons and oranges...Lemoncello is everywhere as are beverages and desserts of any lemon'y kind!

On our way to our hotel, we got to stop and walk around in Sorrento, our hotel for the night is just outside of here...I wanted to pick up some wine for Jaime here. Gianmarco helped us find his preferred store and introduced us to the owner.

It's hard with a language barrier, but after explaining what type of wine my hubby likes to drink, and with Gianmarco helping me...I was able to grab a couple pricy bottles for him, one for consuming anytime and another bottle for around five years from now or so...hopefully they meet with Jaime's approval.

The view from my room! Seriously the best hotel so far...glad it was the last...we had a wrap around veranda and arrived just in time for a gorgeous sunset! Lucky us :)

I imagine this would be some spot in the summertime here...maybe another time.....

Typical European hotel room...small single beds really close to each other...Jennifer, my roommate on this trip, and I made a path between them so we didn't feel like we were sharing a bed ;)

Time for dinner and then a suitcase tidy and bed...leaving this hotel tomorrow and heading to The Island of Capri for the day tomorrow...then our bus ride back to Rome...3am flight back to Canada on the 26th

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rome - Day 7

Buongiorno...good morning!

Here we are at day 7...today is windy and cold and raining! Around 11degrees and Francesco is our guide for the Colosseum and Forum today. We needed to hit the road extra early today because we were trying to get to the Colosseum before a Marathon started and all the road would be closed around it. It was a twenty year anniversary of this marathon that runs 43km around Rome! Runners from all over Europe and beyond come for it...some 13,000 people were estimated and the marathon started at the Colloseum today!

So we made it in and the layered brick in the photo above is gorgeous, I love all the texture and look of the old stone everywhere! I can't believe I'm actually here...super surreal.

The last remaining marble seats still intact...the rest were looted and probably cut down to create tiles or steps in people's own homes...Francesco said that there was a time that people took the marble remains to recycle them for themselves.

Another selfie! A little sun shining through on us here and there during the day.

Here's Ashley, Marvin and Marissa...we loved our portraits here :)

The area with the white marble stripes is where the Emperor would sit and pass judgement on whether the loser of the match would live or die...in the end, the crowd would chant and signal with a thumbs down for death if they were not impressed with the loser...our guide said it took a long time to train the gladiators so they didn't always degree death for a lost match. The Emperor always decided the fate of the gladiator....the people were welcome to come for free and they always made a day of it, packing lunches to enjoy for the day of entertainment.

Very slippery stones when wet...we needed to walk very carefully...some of the students weren't dressed for the weather...their clothes or their shoes...so they were very cold and wet after our touring.

Off to the Roman Forum next...or at least what remains of the Forum...if you look at it with imagination, you can see what it would have looked like in its glory days.

Another Arc of Triumph...it seems they are everywhere in Europe...they tell a story, each of them.

Don't you love all of our 'selfies'...we are getting better at them...this one has a lot of my chins but recently we are either having Marissa hold the camera and I push the trigger or vice versa :) teamwork makes them work better!

Beautiful water fountains everywhere...Gianmarco showed us how to plug the end and then water nicely arches up and out a small hole on the top of the spout...this way we don't put our whole face into the stream and get soaked! It is always cold he says even in the summer and always fresh.

Steps to the church with a photo bomb from Marvin...

We had to carefully cross the roads as we ventured around...runners were making their way and we were cheering them on as we saw them. What a long race, so many people of different ages it was really something to be able to see them all.

I mean look at these streets...seriously gorgeous...I can't even imagine how nice it would be to see this every day! The pace is so laid back, people sitting and enjoying their caffe with friends or even by themselves.

This is Gianmarco's favourite car...it's called a Cinquecento...it's not only cute to look at but it's also so cute to say their name...chink-ke-chento is how you would say it if I sounded it out for you:) but you need to say it really fast...they look like you might only fit one or two people in it...it's smaller than a Smart car. It actually makes a Smart car look like a SUV ;)

I had Marissa stand infront of it to show you the size...Gianmarco said the record is 12 people inside! Not sure how that was possible...it must've been 12 babies or small children!

We walked to see the Pantheon, we had to wait for Mass to end before we could have a look inside.


Next up, LUNCH and free time! Yay...Marissa, Ashley, Gagan and I found a quaint little place and had my best meal yet! I started with some bruschetta, yummmmy and then I ordered fettuccine with bacon, peas and mushrooms with a cream sauce...it was soooo delicious, I was so happy I chose it. Marissa has been fighting a cold and super sore throat so she order a vegetable soup, which I tried and it tasted just just someone's Grandma made it, yummy.

Wow we did a lot today!!! But we still had to make a stop to the Trevy Fountain...throw a coin is and make a wish...can't come to Rome and not visit this famous fountain can we?!!!

Cheeky Marissa has put her umbrella onto Mr. Finnigan! He didn't notice it for around 40 minutes...she said she was tired of carrying it around with her.

Last stop, the Spanish Steps and then dinner and the hotel...phew, we are tired, lots of walking and seeing today but worth it, so glad the rain wasn't with us all day...we are heading to the southern parts tomorrow to see Pompeii, can't wait! Had to share another selfie infront of the Spanish Steps, ciao!

 

 

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