September 21, 2011
We started our day with another delicious breakfast on the terrace, packed our bags, and sadly said goodbye to Positano. We walked down to the bus stop to take the next bus to Sorrento so we could catch a train to Pompei. Guess who we ran into on the way to the bus stop - our waiter! He was not happy to see us go!
The next bus arrived either a half hour early, or more likely, a half hour late and was already packed with people. We ended up having to stand in the aisles for the entire hour. Now, I rarely get motion sickness but I would rather jump out of a plane again than have to balance around those tight curves with my pack on. When we arrived in Sorrento, an hour later, I was not feeling so hot.
The train ride to Pompei was pretty quick and luckily it is the on the same train line that would take us back to Napoli. The entrance to Pompei is right outside of the train station and they even had a place to store our packs. We got one audio guide and I was deemed tour guide of Pompei for the day. Unfortunately, the map they gave us was awful, and it turned into more of a scavenger hunt to find the different sites. Despite the faulty map (I will not admit user error), it was still very neat to walk amongst the ruins and imagine what life was like for the Romans some 2,000 years ago.
I was shocked by the amount of stray dogs wondering around Pompei. However, the dogs are welcome because back in the day, the people of Pompei loved dogs and had them as pets and guardians. We even saw a sign saying that the dogs are cared for and you are welcome to adopt them. No, I didn't get one...yet.
I really wish that we would have seen more of the plaster bodies. The ones that we did see were incredible and some had teeth and all. I can only imagine the shock and horror they experienced judging by the looks on their faces. I thought they would be laying around the ruins everywhere but unfortunately not. The ironic part is that the Pompei exhibit is in NYC right now! I guess I'll have to return home in order to see more of the bodies!
We hopped back on the train to Napoli to catch our train to Firenze (Florence). The train ride was only about 2.5 hours and we arrived in Firenze in the dark. We had found a hotel near the place that I stayed in a few years ago with one of my other adopted mothers, Linda. When we got out of the train station my photographic memory kicked in and I was able to get us to our hotel without a map and in the dark. How do you like that for memory? On the way, we grabbed gelato and admired the Duomo in the moonlight. Firenze is so gorgeous and it gets even better at night when all the tourists go to bed. It was so wonderful to be back in that city. It is my absolute favorite city in the whole world. The architecture of the buildings is stunning and when the streets are lit up at night, and everyone is dining outside or strolling, the city becomes hauntingly beautiful.
Once we arrived at the address of our hotel, we did not see any signs for where the entrance would be. We wandered around the courtyard for a bit and thankfully saw two women walking out through the gate of the building. I asked them if they knew of the hotel and they said no. We began to stress and they asked to see the hotel confirmation. They verified that we were at the right address and suggested we call the hotel. When I told them that we didn't have a phone, one of them graciously offered to call on her cell phone. She discovered that they were indeed on the 3rd floor of the building. We profusely thanked them for their help. See what I mean about the people in Italy? Once we arrived on the 3rd floor the hotel was a different name. The person at the front desk confirmed our room and told us that the other hotel was booked. We asked if the other hotel existed and he said yes and it was downstairs but I am still very skeptical, considering there are no signs... Luckily, our hotel room was fine. Nothing fancy but at least it was clean!
We wandered out again to find dinner. Walking down the streets of Firenze and showing Kat and Nat around was awesome. I showed them my favorite wedding dress shop that I used to walk by and admire and then we went to the piazza to rub the boar's nose which represents good luck and that you will return to Firenze someday. We found a great restaurant by the piazza and had yet another wonderful Italian meal. After dinner, we walked to the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge and wandered around the city before retiring for the night. My heart is so happy being in this wonderful city.