Naples, Italy     8-4-2005                                                        More Photos

Before we arrived at Naples, we were told it was a shithole, avoid it if we could. When we arrived at Naples, we were actually quite happy. It's like a hill city, buildings spread from ground level to half way up the mountain. We wanted to go to Pompei by a bus, but was touted by an Italian guy who happened to have a Benz and done business in southern China. On the way, he was describing how that island looked like the side profile of Sophia Lauren lying down, and pointed out to us which house was belonged to Ingrid Bergman.

after about an hour we reached Pompei, the ancient Roman town that was buried by lava ash when the Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Despite being a ruin, one can see a lot of the remains that showed how civilised the place was. I was particularly impressed with the mosaic at the entrance of a poet's house, which put together the picture of a dog and words saying 'dogs inside' to keep strangers away. Molly was struck on seeing the model bodies of two men and a dog. The dog was curled up, whilst one man was sitting covering his face, and another was lying face down with his hands also protecting his face.

After seeing Pompei, we were offered to go up to the Vesuvius itself. Molly was very reluctant to go fearing the mountain might erupt, but what else could she do if the parents insisted on going? So our driver drove us to the highest point that vehicles can go, and we did the rest, which was about 40 minutes of uphill climb. It was such a sight going up the volcano. we saw  dark lava trails from the last eruption 60 years ago. It was probably more strange to see a lot of hotels and restaurants  and nice houses along the way, why would anybody invest so much money and even their lives to live so close to a volcano? There were a lot of moanings and complaints from the children. We compromised to carry them each for a hundred steps and lured them with a bit of M&Ms and Chopachops. Finally when we reached the top, they were both excited, they saw the crater! The big hole was still smoking a bit and had a smell of sulphur. We were so happy with the trip, which was made even better with some nice pizzas back in Naples town centre. This is another city we'll come back if we have a chance.