Friday, 13 April 2012

Pompeii in the sun, Sorrento in the rain

Unable to express their astonishment at the splendour and beauty of these coastal sites, the Italians admittd defeat:
See Naples and die...
I guess this goes for all these splendid places.
We are, to put it mildly, gob-smacked!
Yesterday spent the day in Pompeii -- not too crowded, and delightful weather -- sun and gentle wind.
Had the feeling we saw a good part of what the government allows us to see (anyway, it is evident that HM Ferdinando in the 18th century had most of the glories transported to the Museo Archaeologico in Naples). So all those erotic images were NOT on view, and not even Venus reclining in her seashell...
But a wonderfully intricate small city and many memories. And the moving figures now in glass boxes of a few bodies, caught and felled in the oncoming waves of ash.
So the city waited, buried under five or six metres of grey ash and stones, a twilight desert, lost until the mid-eighteenth century.
Certainly much food for thought, akin to "Look on my works ye mighty and despair". But here in Pompeii, now, somethng remains. So in the centre of the small stage in the amphitheatre, I recited the speech of the dying Celopatra (as I did several years ago on the stage in Epidauros). David and Gaenor sat in the back row -- but said they couldn't hear it all. Those Roman actors obviously wore masks to help project the voice. And Epidauros wins the acoustics test...
The stray dogs sleep in the sunshine, on the warm stones. We step along the huge blocks of grey, now clean, once presumably caked in dried faeces and waste...
From time to time we sat down -- in the welcome shade -- ate our picnic lunch, took photos (these will appear soon when I've downloaded them from me camera!), read the excellent guide book -- and regretted that so many of the houses of notables were at present closed.
As the shadows lenghtened, our legs grew too weary for more.
So back to the boat on the train called the "Circum Vesuvio" and with the help of the friendly guys in PortoDavide clambered back onto the boat.
A fine supper, as always, washed down with local red wine. And before that sat and watched the setting sun, the massing cluds, and drank Traminer (from northern Italy) as an aperitivo.

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