Saturday, 25 July 2015

Naples, Pompeii an Mount Vesvius

18 July, we set sail for Naples - as per usual, the wind was not playing ball, so it was just a 5 hour motor. We anchored on the west side of St Lucia Marina, looking at the Castel dell'Ovo (so named as the stone it is build from is egg coloured). On the Sunday we went for a sight seeing trip of Naples. Our expectations were pretty low - the Pilot's guide didn't rate it very highly. We started off our sight seeing with the Royal Palace. We then went on a hop on hop off bus trip, and we did two of those trips. We finished off the sight seeing with a trip of the underground cisterns. These were built in ancient times and were just expanded - during he second world war, they were used as bomb shelters. Very impressive, they are 40m below ground level. 

Royal Palace
This was built for one of the Spanish Kings, who conquered the kingdom of Naples. He didn't end up staying her, instead, his, Viceroy, then Napoleon's brother in law..
Entrance looking left

The walls are decorated in Marble, with carved reliefs

A close-up of the marble panels

Chapel Royal (redesigned sometime in 18th century)

Guy in the portrait is Napoleon's Brother in Law (he too didn't have a happy ending)

Tapestries locally made in Maples

Nice Vase

Equally nice vase

The walls have have a fresco covering.
Ceremonial swords and pistols belonging to Joachim Murat

Clock - depicting Atlas holding up the world (It displays, hours/minutes/day/month/phase of moon)
There are a total of 40 timepieces in the Royal Palace, guess the royalty didn't want to be late or they liked their hightech gadgits!

A decorated door

Flemish room (so named because they have mainly flemish paintings)

A flower vase and birdcage - present from Russian King

Another Cool clock

Throne room

Another cool clock  this one still works!

Job and his daughters - in one of the ante chambers

2nd Ante Chamber

Fresco, commemorating the Victory of Spanish King 

Cielling of 1st Antechamber
The ensuing photos are of the 1st Antechamber, this is where you were brought in to wait for an audience, this room is pretty impressive.

Note the 3D effect of the fresco, it is pretty impressive

The king/Viceroy's box in the theater
The gold looking thingy, is made of paper mache.

Done with the Royal palace and now for a Red bus tour.. This will take the better part of the afternoon..
New Castle

A view of Mount Vesuvius, from Polissipio

Wollombi II and Flying Fyn at anchor next to the Egg Castle

Unique style of Church, on the way to the Palace on the hill
We had spent 3-4 hours on the bus, going around Naples, only getting a taste of what it is.. We then went and did a tour of the cisterns

These were built in Greek times and were a way for them to bring fresh water to all the houses. This system was just enhanced by the Romans (no lead pipes) and even after them. The underground system was still in use till 18th Century, when a Cholera outbreak forced them to stop using the cisterns. During the 2nd World War, some of the passages were enlarged and they were used as bomb shelters. There were a total of 200 of these each housing up to 2000 people.

Steps carved out (2nd World War) to 40m below the surface

On the way down, there was a chapel, should you wish to stop and  pray.

If your house was destroyed, then you could use one of the caves.

You can just see the outline of showers(they were pilfered)

Sluice, like feeder tunnels, brought water to larger cisterns.
The wealth of the owner of the property above the cistern, would dictate it's size, in some of the ones there were up to three wells into the cisterns.
2nd World War grafitti - that one has "Vinveremos" - we will win..

The square holes, were used by the Pozzari (poor schmucks who maintained the cisterns)

Interconnecting tunnels (she was not a tall lady)
We had 1 guide for 25 people, he offered to take us through these tiny little tunnels, then promptly disappeared down one of them with us having a choice to follow. No signing of waivers or nuttin, quite refreshing. A member of the party wasn't overly keen on this , but democracy ruled..

Obviously there were going to be blackouts (during the bombing), the 3 insulators were the main power source, the two little ones were backup.

With some elbow grease and these badboys, you too can make your own system of custerns!

This used to be 1 house, in mediaeval times - this had 3 wells.

One of the wells belonging to the house above

After the tour, we went for dinner, an I had the *BEST* seafood pizza *EVER*
That was 2 meals!

View from anchor
After Dinner, we went back to the boat and had a bad Neopolitain experience - the Pilot guide warned of petty crime etc, so far we had been lucky. We went back to MnM's dinghy and found it gone.. We looked around and found it someone had kindly moved it.. We were about to leave and Mike noticed that not only did they move it, they also removed the anchor. Mike was pretty Peed off after giving some guy 10OORO, for claiming he had looked after it. Mike went and told him he wanted his money or the anchor back. Fortunately a club member came over and smoothed things over, he kindly gave Mike a spare anchor and we left...

Next day, I was going to go to Pompeii, as Mike and Michelle had to wait around for a number of days for guests and the guests would most likely want to see Pompeii, so I went on my own.  I was a bit concerned after what happened to Mike's dinghy..

Mt Vesuvius

This was a bit meh - a bus ride to the state park, then a bust trip up, a hike of 600m, then a walk around the crater down again.. It all took 3 hrs. I was done by 13h00 as I had gotten the 10h00 bus.
Looking over Pompeii 
Not the crater that obliterated Pompeii and Herculanum

 The crater we walked around was the most recent crater, I think this one last erupted in 1960(?), you can make out the 4 rings, the last four eruptions
Looking over Naples

The crater from another perspective

Looking over the Bay of Naples
This must be added to the must see list... This one can easily (even me) spend a whole day walking around, this place used to house 60k people! I took a guided tour lasting 3hrs and they took us to the most prominent points.. Firstly we went to the Gladiator's practice ground, where they trained when they were in town, then we went to House Pompeia (One of the Emperor's wife's house), then public baths, red light zone, forum and done. I went off afterwards to see the amphitheatre.
Gladiator's practice field
 Then went off to see the large theater, this housed up to 2000 people for plays, music etc, this was covered over.
In the centre(where he lady with a hat and white handbag), there is a spot where you can be clearly heard all around the amphitheater

Stage to the right
 Then off to a smaller theater, this one only housed 800 people, this too was covered this, the stairs are original.

The Stage

Close-up of the stairs
 Then on to house Pompeia..

The Via Stabia - one of the busies roads
 The stones in the middle of the road are the primitive version of pedestrian crossing - the roads didn't have sewers, so at conveniet places you could cross..
Fast food Roman style - there were 40 of these.

Wagon wheels left their marks

Another view of Via Stabia - original basalt paving stones

Another fast food joint

Sign writers; handy work
 Even in the times of Pompeii, did they have signwriters, these ranged from political slogans (for candidates), to working ladies advertising they services to this one which just stated Cornilius..
Entrance to Domus Pompeia

 The hole in the roof drained into the pool below and was collected for washing etc..



Hallway, leading to garden and more accomodation

Courtyard with garden

Dining room

Mosaic floor

Decoration on wall


Cool room
 This house had both a hot and cold room

 On to the public baths, this is the change rooms, typically men would use the baths in the morning and the women in the afternoon. There is a big courtyard for exercise and a pool in the complex as well.

Looking at the entrance, note the skylights

Hot room
 The hot room, has a raised floor and double walled so hot air was channeled to warm up the room. There was also a cold room..
Courtyard - pool to the left, note the decoration on the walls
 With that out the way, the next stop was the red light zone - this was one of the largest brothels or Lupanarium (in latin, place of shewoolf).  Prostitution was legal in Rome, there were 20 official working houses. This one was conveniently located next to a hotel, where lonely travelers could relax..
 This one had 10 rooms, 5 on ground and 5 on second, each room had a plaque above the room, depicting the lady's speciality.

Bed - just need mattress, a bit o clean up working lady and customers..

 Finally the forum, this place had a supermarket, courthouses, temples, central admin buildings etc, it was all aced in marble, it is quite impressive..
 I then went to the amphitheater, where they had plaster casts of bodies found while digging. From the casts, it can be seen that death wasn't painless..

A dog 

A gladiator
With Pompeii done, it was back home. I returned to Port St Lucia, to find my dinghy still there, stopped off at Flying Fyn for a tea, said farewells(for now), a nights rest and then off south the next day..

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