Saturday, October 15, 2016

Greetings from Rome

October 15th Saturday?

Dear Family & Friends,

Yesterday we said good bye to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. I loved the area but riding a motorcycle there is challenging to say the least.. When it is over, no matter how difficult it is,  you always look back and say, “WOW that was fun”.. 
We took off in the morning and rode about 45 minutes to the ruins at Pompeii. I have been there before but since Duane and Kim had not it was a must see stop. The immense size of it and the degree of sophistication in its construction for a city over 2000 years old is totally amazing. Also it is so well preserved you really get a sense of what it must have looked like in its day. I think we mostly assume from ruins that old cities were finished in stone and brick but really they had beautifully detailed plaster moldings finishing the buildings. After 2000+ years most times the plaster finish is long gone but because Pompeii was so suddenly buried there are areas with the original finish still in existence. Go to my blog to see photos. 
Those old Romans were also a randy bunch.. Sex was a common activity there. There is an elaborate house of prostitution still standing with elaborate paintings on the wall showing what “services” were available there..  Also on the local buildings and sidewalks there are large phallic symbols carved. They “point” the way to the sex districts.. Must have been a “fun” city for the men, but a living hell for the women who were forced to work there as slaves….
The story of Pompeii is a good commentary on human behavior that even applies today. The eruption that destroyed the city gave plenty of warning and in fact most of the city’s occupants left, but there are always a certain percentage of humans that ignore the obvious and they stayed. Most died in their sleep as suddenly in the middle of the night hot volcanic ash fell on the city and most people simply suffocated. The hot lava never got to the city, that is why it is so well preserved. The moral of the story is we often can see impending disasters but often refuse to react in time…Sound familiar???
After Pompeii we left to start working our way north. Our next stop was a small town we stayed in on the way down, Cassino. 
Duane and Kim were tired so the got right on the local freeway and went straight to the hotel in about  an hour and a half.  I came to Italy to see the cities, towns, and country side so I took a very convoluted back road path. No highways or freeways for me! It took me about three hours but well worth it. I love seeing a country, every aspect. I passed through numerous small towns, cities, farms, and country side.
That night we relaxed, drank some wine ( but we are starting to cut back on the quantity.) and had a good meal.
The next day was about a two ride to Rome and a big rain storm was supposed to hit Rome that afternoon so we wanted to beat it.
The next morning we got up ready to ride but when we looked out side it was raining hard! I guess the storm got to Rome early and moved all the way inland where we were. Bummer, we are all getting tired of riding in the rain. We stalled as long as we could and put on all our rain gear and hoped for the best. 
We left the hotel towards Rome and hardly rode 5 minutes when the rain stopped, in 20 minutes the sky was blue and the air was a warm 77 degrees! The ride to Rome was absolutely delightful, even the traffic co-operated.
I had booked a hotel room near the train station and the place Kim has to return her motorcycle (she is flying home soon, her adventure is just about over). In this area and in our price range there was not a lot of choices. When the GPS said we were there I couldn't find the hotel I booked us at. Finally Kim saw a small sign over an alley. We rode down the alley and to our surprise we found a delightfull small motel with cottages all surrounded by lush vegetation. It looked tropical and was very comfortable. We were all so delighted we had a walk down the street to a nice restaurant with patio garden seating and enjoyed some lunch….. with wine.
After that Duane decided to take it easy. I need to walk a bit and Kim’s female sense of direction kicked in and so after a 20 minute walk we were in a full size Italian shopping mall!! Oh what fun!!
After a good walk I am back in my motel room deciding if I even want dinner tonight.. I know shocking.
Tomorrow we go site seeing in Rome so I should have a good report on that.
Also when we arrived at the Amalfi Coast last week I filmed a 25 minute video of us riding along the coast. I finally had good enough internet service tonight to up load it. So here is a link to watch it if you want to see what it looks like there. One of these days I need to learn how to edit vide, I know 25 minutes is to long but you can fast forward through the boring bits.
That’s all folks!

Packing up to leave Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast..

On this trip every day I am adding 1 to 3 stickers. Soon you won't be able to see the bike!

Entering the ruins of Pompeii. The grounds are decorated with these modern sculptures. Not sure why.

This street was known as "The Grand Road". The center of shopping and fancy homes. Not much as changed in 2500 years.. :)

A running sewage system throughout the city. Pompeii must have smelled delightful.. 

The Queen of Pompeii..

All over the city there are various amphitheaters. Each one designed for a specific purpose, comedy plays, drama plays, music, speeches , meetings. etc. Each slightly different in design.

Our guide. She had a college degree in anthropology so she knew what she was talking about and her English was actually very good, BUT her accent was so thick it was very hard to understand her. She was very cute in an Italian sort of way.

Here are some sample of the original wall and building finishes. In its day Pompeii must have been a stunningly beautiful city.

Pompeii had lots of amenities including hot baths..

This was an original bed room for a prostitute. I hope that had some sort of mattress on that stone bed or it would have been extremely uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Illustrations of the "SERVICES" offered.

This was originally a home of a very wealthy servant. Notice the exquisite mosaic tile floor that this home had.. That floor is the original floor that has survived over 2000 years.. amazing.

The city feature fresh running water available from these local fountains.

This phallic symbol was carved into the sidewalk showing the way to the "fun" district. They are all over town. If you had one of these in front of your house it also implied wealth and status, the bigger the better.

Rome, my kind of town. This street name will mean something to my car fiends. Nuvolri was a very famous Italian  race car driver and motorcycle racer from the 1920 through the 1930s!
Oh wow!! An authentic Italian shopping mall!! ;)
A "selfie" at our first meal in Rome... :)

Those Romans must have been impressive "men", the angle of the photo is off but that is at least 12"

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