The Bay of Naples

The holiday got off to a poor start with me losing my luggage. Tired from our fight and from trying to locate my luggage, we headed for our hotel in Naples. The taxi driver warned us that we weren’t in the nicest area so we shouldn’t really leave at night, but luckily we were just ready for bed. Looking out of the bedroom window I understood what the taxi driver meant as I looked out onto scantily clad women leaning against lampposts and occasionally getting into passing cars..

The following morning we hopped onto the coastal train to our stop for the next week, Sorrento. Unfortunately the morning mist covered our view of Vesuvius. After a very sweaty and stuffy journey we arrived and went out in search of our apartment. We were greeted by stereotypically Italian brothers who couldn’t have been more welcoming. They walked us through their lime, lemon and orange groves, passing the odd apartment. Ours was nestled near the back of the plot giving us a great amount of privacy.

Still sticky from the train ride I was eager to take a dip in the pool yet my dreams of becoming a golden goddess were slashed when I remembered I would have to borrow Mum’s swimming costume. I guess I was lucky that she had a spare, and the fact it fit me. With flashbacks of Year 6 Intergala I slipped into the costume and headed poolside for a lazy afternoon of snoozing in the gorgeous Italian sun.

The first night was brilliant as England were playing Italy in the European Cup. Our hosts brought authentic Italian takeaway pizza which was divine, and we all settled in on his patio to watch the game on the projector. Mum and I soon slipped off to relax on the numerous hammocks tied onto the groves as Dad made friends with a bunch of rowdy Italians. We lost but it was fun being there for the game.

The next morning we wanted to explore our new destination, and I kind of needed some of my own clothes! En route we almost missed, what appears to be a derelict water mill. Nature has taken over and now it looks beautiful.

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Sorrento is a colourful port town on the Bay of Naples, looking out to Vesuvius on the horizon.

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A short boat ride from Sorrento is the stylish island of Capri. However a quick warning, if you get a bus, like we did, prepare yourselves. The roads that crumble off the cliff face are painfully thin and your crazy Italian driver hurtles down which is terrifying itself but even more so when you encounter another bus that you have to squeeze past.

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After getting a ski lift up to the highest point of the island, you can see gorgeous, idyllic views out to sea.

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The ruins of Pompeii were top of my list to do when in the area. The coastal train takes you within walking distance to this infamous site.

I was taken aback by quite how extensive the ruins are, you forget that is really was an entire town that was destroyed by the eruption. I would love to return just not at the peak of Summer. The heat was near enough unbearable, making it a very tiring day.

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Even with just remnants remaining, the impression that they give is staggering.

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I found it striking, standing in the ruins of the town, with the presence of Vesuvius looming in the background.

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So much has been discovered at Pompeii that the majority is just kept at the side.

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Looking out from our apartment towards the pool. NOTE: Don’t use tanning oil. After a long day looking around ruins, I wanted to make the most of the final rays of the day so foolishly thought, “it’s not for long, I’ll be fine”. A full day of sightseeing plus the baking heat soon had me dozing on my lilo. It wasn’t until the following day that I realised quite how pink I was, it even hurt to dip in the sea!

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Positano is a key landmark on the Amalfi Coast. We unwillingly got off the bus at the wrong stop, but this did mean that we had a chance to explore down the winding, local streets of the town.

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Positano is built, stacked up on the hillside. It is an ingenious use of the land.Italy 2012 280

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After soaking up the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast, we headed back across the Bay, this time on the ferry back to Naples. Our hotel was in a prime location, looking over to the Castel Nuovo. Built around the Castle is a small settlement, full of delightful Italian restaurants and surrounded by designer yachts.

For one of the nights we were there, the Italians had made it through the European Cup to the final. All the restaurants were bursting with people, eyes all glued to the temporary big screens. We left early to grab a good seat, and watched the game with the Bay in the background. Now for someone who hates football, even I enjoyed the atmosphere and was wholeheartedly disappointed when Italy lost.

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Herculaneum is probably the less known version of Pompeii. It was a smaller, residential settlement compared to Pompeii which was a lively town, with markets and courts. Yet Herculaneum is far better preserved. Herculaneum is on the opposite side of Vesuvius to Pompeii and so was covered in a  pyroclastic flow rather than buried under ash and stones. The British Museum have a fantastic explanation of events on their website if you’re interested.

These remnants of wall paint were unbelievable. At the bottom you can just about read ‘Nola’ which is a nearby town, this perhaps being an advertisement for an event there. Above this you see various different jugs, thought to be the different drinks for sale.

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Some of the mosaics have been beautifully preserved.

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This is an actual bedframe that has survived, how bonkers is that? Even beams of wood remained in some areas!Italy 2012 400

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After a tiring morning exploring the ruins in the scorching heat, in our wisdom we decided now would be the time to climb a Volcano. Luckily you can get a bus that goes the majority of the way. However even the remaining leg was pretty tough in such sweltering heat, climbing up such a stoney path. Dad even fell at one point which was a bit touch and go.

Unfortunately, there was a slight mist over the bay which ruined our view a little.

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The Archaeological Museum in Naples houses many of the Naples and Herculaneum discoveries that need to be protected. It is a shame that you cannot see the artefacts where they would have originally stood but then I guess it is better that they are preserved.Italy 2012 455

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Apparently the Ancient Romans were fond of exaggerated phallic gestures..Italy 2012 467

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I love Italian food. Pasta, Pizza, Balsamic Vinegar, Gelato, Olives.. I could have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snacks.

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This was such a fantastic holiday. As I’m sat looking at a dreary cloudy sky, I would do anything to escape to the gorgeous Italian sun and lounge by a pool with a cocktail and endless bruschetta!

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