To Points South (Part One)

Fred had a business trip to Barcelona last week, so we drove to a town near the airport Wednesday night, had dinner on the coast, slept at an apartment in a town near the airport, and dropped him off in the morning. Fred’s a member of a group called Urban Sketchers which has a symposium every July at different places all over the world. They flew him to do a talk since Spain is the closest to Italy they have held this thing and it wasn’t a big deal to get him to it. He had a great experience. Check out his Facebook to see pics.

Anyway, our apartment was two rooms, very clean, huge, albeit in an unattractive area, nice guy named Raul Ramirez runs the place. We had dinner in Ladispoli, a seaside town popular with Italian tourists. Kind of like the Cape is to us. We had a pretty good meal in a large brightly-lit (aren’t they all?) restaurant. Uneventful in general, except for the high level of anxiety about getting there.. wrong direction on the highway…. getting late.. need to get an early start in the am. Not our best evening, but we rallied at dinner. In the morning after we dropped off Fred, the boys and I headed south to Pompei, with day trips to Sorrento, Capri and Napoli planned. Sunday, back to Fiumicino to get Fred at 4:15.

Sadly, we found that someone had hit our car the night before and smashed one headlight, one running light, and dented the hood…

We loved our Pompei B&B. Clean, centrally-located, sweet and helpful owner, Fabio. Studio 83, it’s called. When we arrived, Fabio told us to get going right away if we wanted to see the ruins. So we headed right out, going in at the first entrance we came upon, but were surprisingly not approached by people wanting to be our guide. In fact, there was not one map, or explanation in English, or any written matter whatsoever, to help guide us, so we set out and learned very, very little. Turns out there’s another entrance with all kinds of guidebooks, maps, personal guides, audio guides. Too late for us, though, because we inadvertently walked out of the park to eat and use the bathroom, and were banned from re-entering. We saw two bodies. I’m told a lot of the interesting stuff was brought to a museum in Naples, so we told ourselves we’d catch it there.

The next day we took a $20 cab ride to go less than a mile to take a $15 train ride to the Amalfi Coast. I’ll try to keep my negativity at bay, but we do get spoiled by living in an un-touristy part of the country and it really is almost hurtful, personally insulting, the way our adopted countrymen take advantage of us when we’re out of Viterbo. I feel so betrayed. The nerve of them to treat us as if we are tourists!