Day 3: Pompeii and Sorrento

I learned a great deal today about Pompeii, perhaps the world’s most famous archeological site. For instance: I did not know that all the people of the town were suffocated by the ash and gas spewing from Mt. Vesuvius. I always thought it was lava that buried them alive. I also didn’t know that there were actually four other towns that were similarly buried when the mighty volcano erupted in 79AD, but they were never excavated. We spent several hours with a local guide there. I was most impressed with the bathhouse because of the ornate carvings and preserved frescoes. I was somewhat annoyed by the presence of groups of rowdy Italian teenagers and other tour groups; that’s the bad thing about doing touristy things – there are always tourists there.

After Pompeii I had my first real Italian pizza on this trip, followed in a few hours by my first gelato in Sorrento. Sorrento is a larger city on the Amalfi coast than the ones we visited yesterday. I loved the orange trees and gardens and, of course, the gelato. I learned to love gelato on my first trip to Italy about 10 years ago, and I’ve never had gelato in the U.S. that rivaled my first taste in Rome. The gelato here, made from the local lemons (and in about 100 other flavors) was, how you say, bellisimo!

After Sorrento, the rest of the afternoon was pretty much just spent driving on the parts of the Amalfi Coast Road that I hadn’t seen before, and it was spectacular. We drove through Positano, and I just kept hearing that song from Nine: “Cinema Italiano.” The Amalfi Coast Road would be so much fun to drive on in a little red sports car with the top down…if there were NO OTHER CARS ON THE ROAD, especially tour buses.

Tomorrow: Rome!

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