A Travellerspoint blog

Part 2 Amalfi

So I walked up the hill from Positano and was first in the line at the bus stop to Amalfi. Half an hour in the hot sun and no coach. Ten minutes later one turned the corner and though I waved him down, refused to stop. I guess he was full. After an hour in the hot sun I was about tenth in the queue because two groups of Europeans had turned up and pushed in front of me. Bastards. A bus turned up and there was room for me so I let it go. A lovely young Dutchman stood up and gave me his seat for which I was most grateful since the ride to Amalfi was an hour long and made up of 180 degree switchbacks which the driver took at about 60 km even when only inches away from the edge of 300 foot ravines. What an exciting ride that was, and you will not be surprised to hear that the driver got a standing ovation from all the passengers when he pulled into Amalfi and stopped the coach. I liked Amalfi as much as I liked Positano and spent the next hour looking around the streets where I picked up a bag of cooked squid, prawns and octopus to munch on. Then it was time to climb the 62 steps to check out the Cathedral. The remains of the real St. Andrew were stolen from Constantinople in 1206 during the 4th Crusade and a crypt was built under the Cathedral to store them. For the small sum of 3 euros I got to look through some amazing artifacts and relics before entering the crypt and then the Cathedral itself. It makes you wonder how important Amalfi once was to have been able to build and maintain such a wonderful Cathedral. Now it is just a sleepy fishing village with an annual summer influx of tourists. I made my way back reluctantly to the coach stop but was rewarded with a half empty coach and a window seat for the almost 2 hour ride back to Sorrento. An hour on the train to home and I picked up a pizza for dinner as a reward for a good day at the office....

standing here waiting for coach to Amalfi

standing here waiting for coach to Amalfi


After an exciting hours drive Amalfi in sight

After an exciting hours drive Amalfi in sight


coach drops off by the wharf

coach drops off by the wharf


and the real sandy beach

and the real sandy beach


the photo needed some foreground ok...

the photo needed some foreground ok...


Positano has got some competition

Positano has got some competition


beautiful views

beautiful views


up to the hills

up to the hills


just around the corner up 62 steps

just around the corner up 62 steps


is this incredible 9th century Cathedral

is this incredible 9th century Cathedral


with a front door that was cast in 1065

with a front door that was cast in 1065


3 euros gets you into the gardens

3 euros gets you into the gardens


with artifacts from the 12th century

with artifacts from the 12th century


like this

like this


9th cent. basilica with 12th cent. lifesize cross

9th cent. basilica with 12th cent. lifesize cross


Wooden St Andrew 12th century

Wooden St Andrew 12th century


12th century madonna and child

12th century madonna and child


13th century  wall painting #1

13th century wall painting #1


#2

#2


#3

#3


#4

#4


17th century bishops vestments

17th century bishops vestments


The crypt where St Andrews bones are kept

The crypt where St Andrews bones are kept


painted ceiling of crypt

painted ceiling of crypt


view towards the nave

view towards the nave


beautiful carved ceiling

beautiful carved ceiling


the altar

the altar


the organ

the organ


St Andrew with fishes

St Andrew with fishes

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

A magic day on the Amalfi Coast. Part 1- Positano

A one hour train trip took me to Sorrento. Off the train bought an 8 euro/24 hour bus ticket and lined up to get onto the big touring coach to Amalfi, and thats when the fun began. The queue for the coach was way too long and I had to settle for standing room only with the other sardines. We got to know each other well because the roads were really really winding, and the coach driver drove like a lunatic. I got out at the first stop for Positano 40 mad minutes later and once Id stopped shaking realised that Positano was at the bottom of a big big hill, and I was at the top. It was worth it, I thought, as view after amazing view came into sight on the way down. Real tourists were stopping off at the many flash cafes (with a view) on the way down for their morning cappuccino at 10 euros a pop. I settled for Nescafe from a flask and a biscuit ( but my view was just as good as theirs). Half way down some steps took you past dozens of lovely little high-end shops and lane-side vendors selling the usual paintings, postcards, and sunglasses. At the bottom, when you turned around and looked back up the hill, thats when you went OMG.. Onto the rocky beach, full of boats and launches selling 20 euro fast trips to The Island of Capri, out in the bay, and 12 euro rides to Amalfi. If I had known then what a struggle it was going to be to get there, I might have been tempted. It took a good hour to check out the side streets and alleys, which would soon be full of happy people sitting around eating and drinking at the many cafes and restaurants. I must admit I did think that it would be a wonderful place to spend a long weekend, or base yourself for a week exploring the coast. Anyway the day wasnt over yet and I still had a hill to climb, and a further one hour on a coach to get to my final destination of Amalfi. What a bugger of a hill it was. I thought I was never gonna reach the top, as you do. But I got there in the end and thats where my next part of the blog starts....

climbing the hills out of Sorrento

climbing the hills out of Sorrento


the road ran along the cliff edge

the road ran along the cliff edge


with the hills towering above us

with the hills towering above us


and narrow tunnels to negotiate

and narrow tunnels to negotiate


around and around bay after bay

around and around bay after bay


the bus stop at the top of the hill

the bus stop at the top of the hill


a long way down

a long way down


Positano slowly revealed itself

Positano slowly revealed itself


bit by bit

bit by bit


Until the tiled church dome came into view

Until the tiled church dome came into view


took this shot on the way back up the hill

took this shot on the way back up the hill


hit the steps

hit the steps


past dozens of shops

past dozens of shops


and artist with cat

and artist with cat


selling lots of Maiolika glazed pottery

selling lots of Maiolika glazed pottery


in colourful shady squares

in colourful shady squares


Maiolica is Italy´s most traditional pottery

Maiolica is Italy´s most traditional pottery


soon to be filled restaurants

soon to be filled restaurants


onto the pebble beach

onto the pebble beach


with a view to the town

with a view to the town


with it´s maiolica church dome

with it´s maiolica church dome


and its houses tumbling down the hill

and its houses tumbling down the hill


and of course its waterfront guest houses

and of course its waterfront guest houses


Positano, a place to remember..

Positano, a place to remember..

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Five hours at Pompei

Pompeii may only be 20 minutes by train from where I am staying, but when you visit the site you step back 2000 years in time. One of my most enduring memories of Pompeii will be the fragments of giant sculptures. They really look ancient and bring a sense of theatre to the experience of being there. I counted myself lucky to visit this year because they are only there for a six months exhibition. The statues by Polish Sculptor Igor Miteraj, who died in 2014, seem to have found their natural setting in Pompeii. They speak of ancient forms which have become cracked and fragmented by time and nature and so reflect the impermanence of existence for which Pompeii is such a strong example. Because I spent so much time walking the streets Of Pompeii ( The first hour I spent walking in circles, but after I worked out the town plan I wanted to see it all ) it soon became apparent just how big a place it really was. In ancient days it was a large thriving port city of 11,000 people. It is so easy to imagine the streets filled with people going about their daily business. When you see the level of amenities that the city provided to both the rich and the poor, it shows how civilised Roman society must have been in the world at that time. There was running water piped to 24 locations in the city and to public baths, where the water was heated. There were shops and markets selling produce,( fruit, vegetables, meat, fish ) both locally grown and imported, Streets full of small bakeries and bars where people could buy hot food and wine. There was also a laundry where slaves cleaned clothes in a solution of watered down urine before rinsing and hanging out to dry. There were two theatres, and a coliseum which seated 20,000 people. There was also a gladiator school and barracks where gladiators were trained and lived. Of course there were also brothels. I heard a guide mention to his group that they always ended their tours with a vist to the brothel where wall paintings showed the services offered in each room. Funny thing is, wandering around the site on my own, I couldn´t find the bloody place. I suppose that is where the saying ¨he couldn´t find a brothel in Pompeii¨ comes from....

One of the old gates into Pompei

One of the old gates into Pompei


Statue 1

Statue 1


Statue 2

Statue 2


Statue 3

Statue 3


Statue 4

Statue 4


Statues 6

Statues 6


Statue 7

Statue 7


Statue 8

Statue 8


Statue 9

Statue 9


Statue 10

Statue 10


Statue 11

Statue 11


Statue 12

Statue 12


a closer look

a closer look


there are many streets in Pompei

there are many streets in Pompei


they go on and on

they go on and on


cartwheel tracks on every road

cartwheel tracks on every road


the larger villas have walled gardens

the larger villas have walled gardens


doorstep mosaic ¨cave canum¨- beware of dog..

doorstep mosaic ¨cave canum¨- beware of dog..


doorstep mosaic anchor (dun roamin?)

doorstep mosaic anchor (dun roamin?)


mosaic entry to villa

mosaic entry to villa


bigger and better

bigger and better


Off one street was a laundry

Off one street was a laundry


and many bars serving hot food

and many bars serving hot food


2000 year old kitchen implements

2000 year old kitchen implements


fountain at the public baths

fountain at the public baths


intricate decorations

intricate decorations


in the public bathhouse

in the public bathhouse


with a garden to relax in afterwards

with a garden to relax in afterwards


one of the larger villas

one of the larger villas


with an enclosed garden

with an enclosed garden


and a statue of a satyr at the entryway

and a statue of a satyr at the entryway


some homes have private temples

some homes have private temples


to various deities

to various deities


a 2000 year old paint job

a 2000 year old paint job


with intricate detailing

with intricate detailing


and creative wall paintings

and creative wall paintings


large and small

large and small


another

another


and another

and another


another

another


and another

and another


the Colosseum where gladiators fought against

the Colosseum where gladiators fought against


themselves or wild animals

themselves or wild animals


and where Pink Floyd filmed themselves

and where Pink Floyd filmed themselves


in 1971 and held a concert in July this year

in 1971 and held a concert in July this year


a plaster cast

a plaster cast


of one of the victims of the Vocanic eruption

of one of the victims of the Vocanic eruption


The Grande theatre

The Grande theatre


Where Greek and Roman plays were staged

Where Greek and Roman plays were staged


work on the site still continues

work on the site still continues


with many artifacts

with many artifacts


held in storage

held in storage

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Capodimonte

I had nothing planned for a fine Sunday in Naples, so decided to try and make my way to the mid 18th century Palace of Capodimonte which houses the main Naples Art Gallery. I had a tendency to easily lose my bearings in the maze of streets which make up central Naples, so I chose to stick to public transport and not make any detours. When the bus dropped me off at the top of the hill there was still no signage or indication of which way to go to find the Museum (typical of Naples) and I had to stop an old woman and point to the word Capodimonte which I had written down. It was across the road from the bus stop where a gate covered in burlap (like a building site) was slightly ajar and all you could see on the other side was a path through some trees. Honestly it was almost like they didn´t want anybody to find the place. I paid my euros at a desk, but nobody was interested in bothering to look to see if I had a ticket as I strolled through into the first gallery. At the desk I was told that because of staff cutbacks I would have to wait until 2pm to be able to look at the Carravagio paintings. That´s when a security guard was employed for an hour to see they weren´t tampered with. I got to that area about 1.30 and the doors were open with nobody on guard. The whole place was a joke really. The lighting in most of the rooms was too dim to see the artworks, except for rooms which had a seated staff member in them. These rooms had the patio doors wide open to let in fresh air and sunlight. I remember thinking that it was a nuisance having direct sunlight shining on some of the paintings because the reflection made them impossible to photograph. Then I realised that the idiots were letting direct sunlight shine on priceless 500 year Raphael, Titian, and Botticelli paintings. Now I know why Rome and most of Italy are in ruins. Its because they couldn´t be bothered looking after the place...

Piazza Dante filled with booksellers

Piazza Dante filled with booksellers


with a grande statue of Dante

with a grande statue of Dante


where I caught a bus up the hill

where I caught a bus up the hill


to the 18th century Palace de Capodemonte

to the 18th century Palace de Capodemonte


with furnished royal apartments

with furnished royal apartments


which King Charles of Bourbon

which King Charles of Bourbon


and Marie Antoinettes big sister Queen Carolina

and Marie Antoinettes big sister Queen Carolina


lived in opulence and splendour

lived in opulence and splendour


Now Naples Art Museum (archangel Michael) 14th c.

Now Naples Art Museum (archangel Michael) 14th c.


with a collection of religious italian art

with a collection of religious italian art


painted in the 14th to the 19th centuries

painted in the 14th to the 19th centuries


with the usual subject matter

with the usual subject matter


Caravaggio´s Flagellation of Christ 1607

Caravaggio´s Flagellation of Christ 1607


a floor full of Madonnas #1

a floor full of Madonnas #1


#2 Botticelli 1468

#2 Botticelli 1468


#3

#3


#4

#4


#5

#5


the unusual like the Marketplace series #1

the unusual like the Marketplace series #1


#2

#2


#3

#3


#4

#4


then there is Andy Warhol´s Vesuvius

then there is Andy Warhol´s Vesuvius


on a mezzanine floor dedicated to

on a mezzanine floor dedicated to


a handful of contemporary artworks...

a handful of contemporary artworks...

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

My Sunday in Portici

I was happy to spend $20 to see Pompei, but wasn´t sure about doing the same to look around the much smaller site of Herculaneum, which is only a 20 minute walk away from where I am staying. When I asked where I could go for a Sunday walk in the area I was told that I could get a birds eye view of Herculaneum from a path that runs the length of the site towards the sea. After a lovely walk following some locals with a dog, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to look around the place that had been buried at the same time as Pompei, from above. On the way back I walked into a really busy local farmers market rhat sold everything from cured meats to fresh seafood. Because I had saved $20 and still seen Herculaneum, I was happy to part with that amount for a couple of bottles of local wine at one of the stalls. What could have been a boring Sunday turned out well...

Taking the girls for a Sunday stroll

Taking the girls for a Sunday stroll


C´mon girls you can talk and walk..

C´mon girls you can talk and walk..


or Ercolano in Italian

or Ercolano in Italian


A lovely path overlooking the site

A lovely path overlooking the site


View 1

View 1


View 2

View 2


View 3

View 3


View 4

View 4


View 5

View 5


View 6

View 6


View 7

View 7


On the road home

On the road home


Rested in the shade

Rested in the shade


of this area in front of a church

of this area in front of a church


At the bottom of our street was a Sunday Market

At the bottom of our street was a Sunday Market


With locally caught fish

With locally caught fish


all kinds of shellfish

all kinds of shellfish


clothes

clothes


and handbags and jewelry

and handbags and jewelry


Baked goods

Baked goods


local cheeses, wines and olive oils

local cheeses, wines and olive oils


you name it, they had it..

you name it, they had it..

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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