Friday, June 20, 2008

Italy - Day 5

Today we left our hotel in Sorrento at 8:30 and set off for Mount Vesuvius, about an hour's drive away. On our way, Sergio (our tour manager) gave the students a brief Italian lesson, covering such basics as "what is your name" and "how are you?" There will be several more lessons during future bus rides (the sheet he passed out also contains phrases for getting directions, shopping, dining, and various signs one might see on the street).

The road up Vesuvio is narrow and twisty, but our bus driver (Bruno) is quite skilled at his craft and navigated the wind-y path without any apparent difficulty. Once nearer the top, we disembarked and set off to hike the few remaining metres to the pinacle, where we were greeted by a local tour guide who gave us a rather informative, and also very fluent, presentation about the volcano. Most everyone took a few minutes to scrounge and acquire some mineral rocks, then we headed back down to our bus. Unfortunately, the mountain top was engulfed in a puffy cloud, preventing us from looking down onto Pompeii. Alas.

Upon reboarding the bus we once again set out on the road for Naples. We took a road less traveled to get there, owing to the fact that one of the primary motorway exits to the city was closed (confusing normal traffic patterns). Along the way we stopped for a bathroom break at a cameo shell shop, oggling at the beautiful, and also very expensive, shell jewelry.

One interesting phenomenon we've been noticing during our visit is the sheer quantity of trash lying on the sides of the roads, apparently due to innefective (or corrupt) politics regarding trash management... I'm sure Google can tell you more, it's just an interesting sight we've seen.

When we arrived in Naples we split up for lunch and met back at the National Archeological Museum, where we spent the rest of our afternoon touring and absorbing as much information from Mrs. Vitt as possible. Exhibits in the museum included intricate tile mosaics from Pompeii, a large variety of statues and busts, as well as an Egyptian exhibit with a couple mummies. Plenty of pictures were taken, so once we're back you can ask your student to give you a slideshow.

After leaving the museum we traveled to the town of Cassino, famous in history for a crushing Ally victory during WWII. We'll only be staying in our hotel here this one night, and tomorrow morning we set off for Rome!

A delicious ravioli and mystery meat dinner followed soon after arrival (they did tell us what the meat was, I just can't remember right now), and following that we went on a walking excursion in the hopes of seeing some nearby Roman ruins. However, when we got to the gate, the site was already closed for the night, so we brought the kids to get ice cream and then sent them to bed (after a nice little walk back to the hotel - the weather was wonderfully cool and the sky crystal clear).

Quote of the day: (in reference to our lunch)

"It's clearly not fair to make pizza this good!" - Nick Kozel

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