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Sorrento to Pompei

Urban life old and new


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Before alarms rang, Sally was at our door to talk about solving our lack of agreement the night before about the next two days. Before our alarm rang, Sally was at our door, knocking quietly. Have I mentioned how much Sally worries about waking us? She often is up before us only to fret about flushing the toilet or running water. Reassurance is not enough. She tiptoes around a little anxious until our lights are on. This morning she desperately wanted to resolve our lack of agreement the night before. During the night, I weighed the options. After discussion, we agreed that we would go to the port after visiting Pompei and investigate the ferry for Positano and Naples. One step at a time.

We were off to Pompei, but again, there were some navigational problems, and I had us get off the train, thinking we needed to change trains. There were two choices, get off at our last stop or get off as we did and take another train just a short distance. On my phone, I saw two Pompei destinations.

I asked the locals standing on the platform, which led to a riot of miscommunication with little understanding. A man collecting trash along the tracks said we needed to be on platform 1, but the pack of school kids said no, platform 3, but then they began to disagree. On platform 3, a couple said platform 1. The students and the man picking up trash began to argue. At this point, it was getting funny. Finally, I figured out that what I thought was the Pompei ruins was the Pompei sanctuary. The ruins were one-stop back on the train we just departed. Another train arrived in a few minutes.

Pompei was as good as I hoped. What impressed me was that this small Roman outpost city of 20,000 people (in AD 79) had a complex urban organization. There were one-lane streets, two-lane streets, and pedestrian-only streets, all with the appropriate signs. A bakery was in every neighborhood. Like some countries today, most people don't cook at home but ate at street food stalls located in every neighborhood. There were water tanks and a system for supplying water. If they were short of water, there was an orderly process of who lost water first: the baths, private houses, and finally public water sources at street corners.
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After Pompei, we headed back to Sorrento and our planned check of the port and ferry connections. That walk from the train station to the port was a great adventure. However, there was considerable complaining along the way about being on the correct route and how many steps we had to take, etc. Along the way, we passed a photoshoot for a wedding. That had us standing around for at least fifteen minutes, hoping to see something dramatic. The only thing dramatic was that this street barely wide enough for a queen-size mattress was busy, cars, trucks, and motorbikes. It was an intersection, and vans loaded with tourists could not make the turn without going on the sidewalk. We were on the sidewalk. I keep saying, as we spread ourselves against the wall, "Count your toes."
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It ended up that our level of town is about a hundred feet above the port level, and they are connected by stairs and a narrow road carved into the stone cliff. Cars and trucks took turns in the hairpin turns and breeze by pedestrians close enough to make a bit of passing contact. I am sure only cowards would avoid this route, the scenic route.
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At the bottom, we bought our tickets for the ferry to Positano. We rode a small bus back, the driver talking on the phone, gesturing, yelling as the bus swayed back and forth in the turns. Finally, we were at the train station, then walked down to Pizzeria di Franco's pizza restaurant, recommended by our landlord. We had no lunch, so we ordered two pizzas, which ended up more than we could eat. Franco has its own wine label, and we bought a bottle of red.
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Full and happy, we walked the two blocks to our apartment.

Posted by Deuxenvacances 12:36 Archived in Italy Tagged italy sorrento pompei squid Comments (0)

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