This morning dawned bright and sunny. Once again the view of the Bay of Naples from our deck was spectacular. As we were eating breakfast we saw a cruise ship coming into the harboor. it looked like they would be tendering directly into Sorrento.
We got up early so we could meet our guide for a tour of Pompei. We arrived at Pompei right at 8:30, purchased our tickets, and looked for our guide. It turned out that we were looking for her in the wrong place. She was at the Camping Zeus parking lot (where we parked) and we were at the gate.
Our guides name was Patricia (Pah Tree tsee aah). She gave us a very good tour and turned out to be very quotable.
Moma Mia its hot! Moma Mia we must get away from the enemy (the other tourists)
Pompei was hot and busy even though we were some of the first people in line for tickets. But it was still very interesting and a fun tour again. It was even better after having read Harrison's book about Pompei.
- Highlights of Pompei
- the baths
After the tour Patricia gave us a lunch recommendation for a restaurant right near the Cameo factory we had visited five years ago. She introduced us as her friends to the Maitre De and told him to take good care of us. We got off to a very good start when Jane asked for a Coke Light and he responded that they had Pepsi! Our first Diet Pepsi in many days! After that the rest of the lunch, Napoli style pizza was really irrelevant.
We walked around a few of the shops and then headed for our car. We knew we were a little ahead of schedule but there really was not time for any additional touring if we wanted to be in Rome by 5:00.
Thankfully I had been able to follow the directions the guy at Renault gave me and programmed in the right location for the drop off. It was in the same area as the airport but was next to a cow pasture! The office seemed to be some kind of cheap warehouse space they had rented with a bit of covered parking for the returned vehicles. After we inspected our car and signed over the lease the attendant drove us to the airport and dropped us off near the taxi line.
We headed for the start of the taxi queue and were met by a driver who told us it would be 90 euros for a ride downtown for all four of us with our luggage. That was much higher than we expected so we went inside to regroup and try to learn about the Rome shuttle service we had read about. We finally gave up and decided to pay the 90 dollars to just get going. On our way to the line we ran into a driver who told us he would take us for 65 euros. He appeared to be wearing a taxi drivers license around his neck, but he took us to the parking lot rather than the taxi line. We were really wondering if this guy was legit but he got us downtown in just 35 minutes for the agreed on price.
Our hotel, Albergo Santa Chiara, is right behind the Pantheon. When we checked in, the two managers were looking at us and their list of customers and speaking angrily as if to say 'what are we going to do with them?' I think it worked in our favor as they gave us one of their three apartments. We have a main room with TV and two pull out beds, a middle room with another bed, bathroom, and kitchen. However the porter told us "chicken is locked." Finally, we have a master bedroom. So we have a great room for our last three nights of touring.
We all agreed that we were really really tired of pasta and heavy italian food. Unfortunately we did not have our Rick Steve's book nor had we asked at the front desk about alternative food sources. So we settled for walking to Piazza Navonna to see what they had. We found a restaurant that offered hamburgers and chicken along with traditional italian food.
As we were sitting at our table waiting for service Kaia noticed a man drawing caricatures in the middle of the piazza. She went to talk to the guy who told her he would draw both of them for 20 euros. So, while we waited for our food Josh and Kaia each had a caricature drawn. They are both very good. Josh is a soccer player and Kaia is a runner.
Since we were seated on the outside table right next the the main traffic around the Piazza we were inundated with sales people trying to sell us flowers, and all kinds of glowing and buzzing things. In addition we had fun watching the people selling scarves and fake Prada purses playing cat and mouse with the two police officers patrolling the piazza. Everytime they would get their bags arranged on the side walk we would suddenly see a wave of them scooping up bags and heading down the sidewalk. Followed by one of the officers. As quickly as the officer passed they were back putting their wares down again.