Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Ancient Ruins of Herculaneum and Exploring Vietri

After our weekend in Naples, we set off down the Amalfi coast for some town hopping and sight seeing. Our first stop was the ancient ruins of Herculaneum, which is similar to Pompeii, but less well-known.  Apparently, it's where the locals go. 

We got in a little fender bender on the way there, but Mike's friend Scott says we just got the full Neopolitan experience. Luckily everyone was fine, we didn't get in a yelling match with a crazy Italian and we were able to buff out all of the marks on the rental car.  

It was all worth it because Herculaneum was totally worth it.  I was a little hesitant for a couple of reasons.  First, I've heard of Pompeii my whole life and my expectations were pretty high.  Usually that just leads to disappointment, so I was a little worried.  Secondly, we've seen A LOT of ruins and I wasn't sure how these would be any different. Fear not, though, because it was totally worth it.  You could see the entire city!  It was so cool!

Mike said all he cared about seeing was skeletons and on our first stop, his wish was granted.

We lucked out because it was sunny and warm, but not hot.  I can imagine this being kind of miserable in the summer because there is no shade and I'm sure it gets really hot.

This is crazy! You can totally see the whole little town.

Guess people weren't very tall back then...

Herculaneum was so cool.  It amazes me that all of those buildings were built thousands of years ago and survived a volcano and years and years of weathering.  Absolutely mind boggling.  I'd add it to the must-see list in a hot second because it was so cool.

After Herculaneum, we set off for Vietri, where we would be staying the night.  We checked in to our AirBnB and fell in love with this little town full of cobblestone streets, little shops and a beautiful coastline.  Vietri is known for it's pottery and there are tons of pottery shops along the streets.  We spent most of the afternoon wandering throughout them.  All of us walked away with some pottery and I'm pretty sure Karen and I would have decorated our entire homes with pottery if shipping hadn't been an issue.  Our best find was a Naval Academy Goat made out of pottery.  Apparently, Admiral Foggo from Naples knew the owner of the shop and bought one, so now the owner had a couple of extras. We debated on buying one, but eventually passed.  We got the owner's email though, so I wouldn't rule it out completely....

After all of our shopping, we stopped for a drink at RUSSO CAFE!  Cue freak out.

After stopping at Cafe Russo, we kept wandering around taking in the view because it's just THAT pretty.

Our last stop for the day was the local duomo, which, for a small town was quite large and quite beautiful.

Ending this post with a beautiful Vietri street because it really is just that picturesque.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Exploring Naples

After our night at the ball, all of us were tired and no one really protested sleeping in the next day.  Originally, we planned on going to Capri since it's a short ferry ride away, but since we got a late start, that plan was nixed and we decided on exploring Naples a little bit more.  

On our way to lunch, we saw a stage and people were tango dancing! So fun!

We wandered around looking for lunch for what seemed like forever and finally found a pizza place.  It was kind of a hole in the wall place, which almost guarantees that it will be good.  I got a ham, rocket and mozzarella pizza, Karen got eggplant, and Mike got pizza Diavola, which is a bunch of spicy meat.  YUM!

Karen's eggplant pizza

Once we were fed, we were feeling a little more energized and ready to do some sight seeing.   Our first stop was the castle.  We passed by this the previous day and, although we didn't go all the way in, we checked out the courtyard and the entrance way which is basically all you really need to see apparently.

We went into the shopping mall. Almost everything was closed because it was Sunday, the building itself is stunning.

They even have the different horoscope symbols on the floor in mosaics, so of course we all found ours.  Shout out to the sagittariuses of the world!

Karen's Pisces

And then we wandered some more....

We found the main square, Piazza Plebiscito. I love finding these types of places because that's where the people are.  We saw little kids playing soccer (sorry, I mean football), parents chatting and lots of people out and about. 

After a little bit of wandering, we decided it was time for our daily gelato break.

Scott with his gelato

We wandered along the water for a while. The waterfront is beautiful and it was nice to just walk and wander for a while.  One thing I love about travelling is how much time you spend outdoors, even if it's just walking from point A to point B.

Scott found out that Karen had been in Italy for four days and hadn't had a cappuccino, so we had to remedy that.  Karen fell in love immediately.  

By this time, it was time for Aperitivo so we had to oblige.

Streets like this are why Naples gets called dirty.   Just not that appealing.

Scott had to leave to get some things done before the week started and Karen, Mike and I were pretty tired, so we parted ways and headed home for a nap.  Some people might judge me for napping while on vacation, but travelling is a marathon not a sprint and you have to rest to make it worthwhile.  After a nap, Mike, Karen and I headed out for dinner.  

Walking to the restaurant allowed us to see the city at night, which always gives a different perspective.  I'm not a night owl by any means, but there's something about nighttime that is more peaceful and I love it.

This restaurant was pretty high up on TripAdvisor and it didn't disappoint.

Scott told us to get bruscetta and let. me. tell. you. it didn't disappoint.

This was our last day in Naples and it was great. We got to hang out with Mike's friend Scott who is a blast, see the city and eat great food.  What more can you ask for?