Friday, November 8, 2013

Rome: Second Thoughts

On our second visit to Rome we were ready for the city. Right after the pilgrimage we were a bit too overwhelmed by the crush of tourists to fully appreciate it. We have spent the last two days walking through piazzas and streets that are full of treasures. Today we spent most of the day in the Vatican Museum. I could easily spend a month in Rome, and we will probably do that some day. However we are on day 89 of a 90 day  European visa so it's time to move on. 

We  had planned to go on to Vietnam, but a combination of travel weariness, unreasonable airline charges for our bikes, and the super typhoon bearing down on Vietnam have pushed us homewards instead. We took a break in the court yard of the  Vatican museum and in 30 minutes we had a reasonably cheap flight home. We will be back in Victoria at 3:45pm tomorrow. We ended up buying a return flight because it was half the price of a single leg!?!  I can't wait to have bath and then put on a clean pair of jeans and a top that isn't my green or red one that I have been living in for three months. This pilgrim is going home.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Naples: Overdosing on Pizza and Pompeii

After Palermo,  Naples seems less gritty than its reputation had us believe. While the traffic is loud and chaotic the city is beautiful in a vibrant way. And this is the home of Pizza.

A pharmacist directed us to her favourite local pizzeria, which coincidentally was where President Clinton also enjoyed his first slice of Napoli's best. The prices were far from presidential, with the most sublime Margherita pizza costing just 3€!!

Pompeii is the second reason we wanted to come to Naples. We visited the National archeological  museum first to see the extensive collection of Roman art from Pompeii, Heraculaneum and other sites. The mosaics and frescos were unbelievable.

But the site of Pompeii is an experience like nothing else. We were transported back into a Roman city frozen in time. The Lonely Planet guide describes it as the premier archeological site in Europe and there seems no reason to doubt that. Unlike most sites that are modified, abandoned and looted, everyday life stopped in Pompeii in an instant in 79 AD, then remained preserved under 8 meters of volcanic ash until the 18th century.  The result is a treasure trove of the minutiae of life, such as fast food restaurants, bordello frescoes, and even crosswalks.

Skill testing question for those who know us well. Which of us added the word minutiae, and would this word apply in any way to the following gentleman?