Friday, April 24, 2009

The Sorrento Peninsula on the toe of Italy

Sunday April 19
Day at sea: Church--choir--port lecture--passenger talent show--looking at pictures and writing fill this day.
Monday April 20: Sorrento doesn’t have a deep water dock so we have to take the tenders to shore. Haven’t had to do that since Easter Island. We wind our way up the hillsides of this lemon tree loaded coast to Pompeii. This was a city of 20,000 that perished as a result of Mt .Vesuvius blowing its top in 79 AD. Walking the streets is like being put into a time capsule and turning the dial back 2000 years. It seemed like a well-oiled, closely knit, highly sophisticated group of people. The quality of the brick and stone work is wonderful. It came complete with theaters, arenas, markets, and government buildings. Finding the bodies in their last moments of agony is a little disconcerting. But what a gift to the future they gave in their untimely end. It has taken 100 years to clean most of the 60 feet of ash and other volcanic debris away from what is left of the city. It’s so much more than we expected. The rest of our day we drove the Amalphi coast. Here we find the most unbelievable collection of homes and businesses somehow clinging to the face of 500 foot limestone cliffs. One of the hallmarks of this area is their creation of villages in miniature along the roadside rock faces by the local people. This would be a bed and breakfast paradise. The area has been the subject matter for paintings and photography for years. We had lunch and did some shopping amidst Positano’s honeycomb of narrow street switchbacks. Sue was trying to keep her trinket buying to a minimum but she has been picking up the pace lately. I guess taxes will be going up when she gets home.

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