Sunday, April 26, 2009


Today I actually did get to the top of the volcano that created Pompeii. Yes, it was a strenuous climb but the view of the bay of Naples with its' cityscape laid out across the valley, the flows of cooled magma and the blue water sprinkled with volcanic islands was well worth it.

There is still steam rising from vents in the rock, which I didn't expect since the last time Vesuvius blew was the year of my birth, 1944. There's life in us old folks, yet, I suppose.

One of those pieces of info that the guide gave out was that the unemployment rate in Naples is 20%. I questioned him about whether that has been the rate for a long time, and he assured me it was almost permanent because all the resources of the country are concentrated on the northern areas. Those more politically ascendant areas seem to rake off the revenues, most of them from tourism, and put back in as little as possible. As I say, this was the guide's POV, can't give you figures behind it, but it is an area of obvious impoverishment.

The view from the top sort of blurs out those details, but nearly every balcony had a load of laundry drying on it, and many really gorgeous stone homes were very neglected.

The tomatoes are supposed to be great, with the basaltic base to the soil. Sorry, I didn't get any.

Then of course we went to Pompeii, and toured the basaltic flow that has been slowly, carefully, chipped away to reveal the city that was buried beneath it. One feature that I hadn't expected was a brothel, so yep, I've seen the Greatest Little Brothel in Pompeii. Very detailed and frank illustrations on the walls told about the national origin, as the guide put it, of the offered ladies. Their pictures will be featured in a course on Italian history that will be offered next semester to his college history course by the brother of the ship's 'escort', the member of staff who covered this trip today. He says there are openings if I'm interested. I'm still mulling that over. It helps that I speak some German and French, of course.

Do you all expect me to come home? Oh, yes, the kittehs.



Anonymous Monkeyfister said...

I spent three days while on leave in Pompeii. That brothel's paintings are the absolutely bestest.

The Roman Centurean with the penis crane set up had me rolling. Those pictures are matted and framed 8x10's in my house. The stadium is pretty cool, too. I hope you were able to go to the Museum of Antiquities of Naples, where the artifacts of Pompeii are shown. 79ce Pompeii was a pretty hip, and advanced place.


2:05 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Wish I had been able to do more of the inside stuff, but no, monkeyfister, my time went to climbing the volcano - and I must say I don't regret my choice. When I get pics to put up, you'll be glad too.

Hip? it was downright organic. (sorry, couldn't help myself.)

9:19 PM  

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