Today we are going to Muse about our time in Santorini and Pompeii. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
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After Kusadasi we sailed during the night 155 nautical miles to the Greek island of Santorini.
This island was shaped by a massive volcanic eruption in 1650 B.C., creating a huge caldera, like a bowl. This was the one stop on our trip where we did not dock at a wharf. The ship anchored offshore and we were transported to and from by motorized shuttles.
The shuttles took us to a small harbor at the base of the 800 foot cliff just below the town of Fira. To reach the top a person has three options. One option is to ride donkeys up the steep Z-shaped cobbled footpath seen here in the center of the picture.
The third option is to take the cable car. Here you see it heading up. On the upper end is a similar set of cars heading down. This is the option our group chose.
Santorini was a pleasant stop. Picturesque and definitely focused on tourists.
After checking out as much of the tourist souvenirs as we could absorb we headed off to lunch.
The view was terrific!
And that’s all there was, folks.
We headed back to the ship. The ship sailed away. We were a day at sea on our way to our next port. We played roulette in the ship’s Casino. We made the cruise line a little more profitable. And, the next morning we awoke in NAPLES.
Now our little group decided to focus our attention on Pompeii. A driver was hired and off we went to the ruins.
This was the third time I had been to Pompeii. The first was years ago when I was in college and hitch hiked through Italy with a friend. At that time I remember just arriving at a gate and walking in. There was a fellow sitting by the roadside selling “dirty pictures”, actually pictures of the erotic art now in the museum of archaeology in Naples. Or, so I am told. There were very few people there.
The second time was about fifteen years ago. What a change: big entrance, museum, buses and cars everywhere, restaurants and crowds, huge crowds!
This time all the infrastructure was in place but the crowds were missing. I guess that is a reflection of the world economy, not as many people travelling. Actually made it nicer.
We entered the city from a different direction than I had gone before. It is a huge area, of course. It was a city of considerable size.
Here you can get a sense of the expanse, looking over the rooftops.
We came to an area where artifacts are stored. As you can imagine, there is a lot of this material.
Here is one of the body casts. My understanding is that as the archaeologists removed the layers of volcanic ash on occasion they would come across a cavity, a hole, in the ash. Someone finally got the idea of filling the cavity with plaster to see what if anything it was. They discovered the cavities were formed by bodies, people caught in the gas and falling ash, their shape preserved at the time of their death. Some are quite peaceful.
Others, like this dog, restrained by a chain, are obviously in agony.
The site is extensive and trekking through can give you your exercise. Parts are steep. Here you see our travelers. Notice their happy expressions.
On our trip we visited the ruins of Olympia, Athens, Ephesus and Pompeii. There is a significant difference in the buildings of Pompeii compared to the other three sites. The buildings of the first three cities were constructed of solid massive carved stone. The Romans had discovered the secret of cement and their buildings were built of bricks or stones held together by cement and faced with stucco or marble. You can see the obvious difference here.
What is also of interest, is that after the fall of the Roman empire the secret of cement was largely lost and cement dis not come back into general use until the industrial revolution in the early 1800’s.
As you can see by the shadows the day was advancing. And, of course, we had not had lunch! So into the car we went and down the Amalfi Coast to Positano, where high up the hillside in a local restaurant we spent the balance of our time. The view was terrific.
More to come
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