On day 5 of my cruise around the Mediterranean, I arrived in Naples, Italy. From the ship, I went on an escorted tour of the ancient city of Pompeii.
I woke early today & was eating breakfast by 6:30 am. I went early to give myself a chance of eating before my trip to Pompeii today. I had an omelette, orange juice, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, tomato & a cappuccino before heading down to the pickup point right next to where the ship was docked. The Costa cruises rep checked me & several people onto a coach & told me to sit anywhere. Ten minutes later another Costa rep was asking us to get off because the first rep had put us on the wrong coach.
When we got to the correct coach we were checked onto it & after waiting for some latecomers because they got the leaving time wrong, we were soon on our way. Today's guide was very organized & a lot more professional than yesterday's guide & after a 25-minute drive we arrived at Pompeii & were given 10 minutes to get a drink or use the toilet before we started our tour.
Our guide was very good, very knowledgeable & gave us a lot of interesting information as she took us around to see, the barracks, training area, baths, homes, shops, lupine or brothel, bakers & the Forum of Pompeii. The Forum was very large & standing at one end you could see the Temple of Jupiter at the other end with Mount Vesuvius rising into the sky behind it.
Mount Vesuvius, we were told by our guide, has erupted many times since its ashes covered Pompeii & it is the only volcano on Europe's mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Mount Vesuvius is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of over 3,000,000 people living near enough to be affected by an eruption & its tendency towards violently explosive eruptions.
Our guide told us the main difference between Herculaneum & Pompei was that whereas Herculaneum had been destroyed by & covered in lave which hardened, Pompeii had only been covered in 13 to 20 feet of volcanic ash & pumice. This is the reason so much of Pompeii has been able to be uncovered in such relatively good condition.
Pompeii was massive, I don't know why but I always assumed, wrongly, that it was quite small. The amount of streets & buildings that you can walk around is amazing, some of the murals, graffiti & decorations are still plainly seen in the uncovered buildings. One of the things that made most of our tour laugh was the large stone penises that we saw attached to some buildings or the floor of the roads. These were there to point sailors from the nearby Port to the lupine or brothels & literally did point the way through Pompeii to the brothels.
In the museum at Pompeii, we saw some human figures & one of a horse that had been recovered from the ash. she explained that these are not the remains of the people that were there, but were casts of the forms of the bodies. When the bodies were covered in tons of ash, they eventually decomposed, leaving perfectly formed moulds of their forms in the ash. As the archaeologists discovered the voids they poured plaster in, forming perfectly reproduced casts of the bodies that had been there.
After our tour, we are given 15 minutes to look around a small market outside. I buy a typical tourist t-shirt that I like & feel is fairly good quality for the €25 it costs. I will wear it whenever I go back to see my sister in Pompey in the UK.
We then head back to the coach & head to a nearby hotel to watch a short film about how local craftsmen make jewelry from shells. It is boring, unnecessary & obviously tacked on in the hope that they can sell overpriced trinkets to foreign tourists. It was not necessary & the time would have been better spent in Pompeii. To top it off one of the kids on the trip managed to kick my already painful & swollen leg making it even worse.
When we arrive back at the ship I thank our guide & give her a €5 tip. Once again I'm the only person on the whole coach who tips the guide. Either I'm easily pleased or these cruise passengers don't believe in tipping for a good service.
As we go through port security all passengers are asked for passports. Luckily I have my Spanish resident card, which proves I am a European citizen, & I go straight through. The rep from Costa Cruises, Eve, had been on the trip with us & argues for the people who left their ID onboard the ship that it isn't required. She tells us that immigration at Naples is the only port they ever have problems with.
Back on board the ship, I go for dinner straight away with Michael & Lynda who had also gone on the trip to Pompeii. We have a great meal in the restaurant before going back to our cabins.
This afternoon I get a beer before going for dinner, in the hope the alcohol will help with the leg pain I have. The meal is good & afterwards Lynda & Michael, & Susan & Bryan & myself go to see a show. As the show isn't on for an hour we go to another bar for a drink. Unfortunately, this bar only serves ice cream, the Ferrari bar next to it only serves certain drinks, & the sports bar next to the Ferrari bar closed a month ago & hasn't reopened, according to ship staff. Why have a bar onboard ship if it isn't open?
We all go for a walk to find a bar that is open, for such a large ship with thousands of passengers the bars & restaurants are annoyingly closed more than they are open. I go to find a toilet, which are also very limited in number & well-hidden. When I leave the toilet I can't find my friends so I go to the Colosseum bar to get a good seat for the Leonardo Da Vinci show.
The show was brilliant & I really enjoyed it. The three Kiwi Colada's I had during the show helped ease the pain in my leg. The next show by Ultramarine is on after the show I have just watched so I get a beer & wait for it to start. Although the music is good it is not for me, so I leave to go to the Leonardo bar.
When I get there it's not busy & I get a seat in front of the dance floor & stage. Unfortunately, there are again very few bar staff working & when the group finish I still haven't been served. As I'm comfortable & a large group of gorgeous Italian women have arrived & are sitting all around me I stay where I am. The waitress continues to ignore me & seemingly everyone else as they give up waiting for her, get their own at another bar or leave. It is around 40 minutes after I arrived that I eventually get served so I order a pint to go with my Bahama Mamma cocktail. I really enjoyed the music & watching the people dancing. I get myself a final beer but as the show has finished I take it with me & finish it in my cabin before going to bed.
My leg is very sore, I'm grateful for a sea day tomorrow so that I can rest.