ATTENTION READERS- Our Blog Is Moving

PLEASE READ!

WordPress only gives you a certain amount of storage before you have to pay. We hit that full storage with our last post. We are more than happy to pay a sum to continues our blog but the problem is it’s a monthly fee!!! A monthly fee for as long as you want this on the internet. Annoyingly we want to keep this on the internet forever to show our children and read ourselves when we’re old so that’s just not a good plan for us.

Instead, we’ve made a continuation of our blog. It’s 100% the same thing. We have around 4 weeks of travelling left and will be blogging the rest of it here.

https://letterstohomecont.wordpress.com

https://letterstohomecont.wordpress.com

https://letterstohomecont.wordpress.com

https://letterstohomecont.wordpress.com

Just click on the link above and it will take you right to our new blog.

Thanks for being understanding

M+K

From Sorrento to Rome

Friday 9th August

It all started with a 7:55 train. We were up early and out of Sorrento first thing this morning; and we were pleasantly surprised to find we’d booked premium seats for the fast train to Rome.

These pleasant surprises keep happening because we booked everything so long ago we now just turn up and see what Katy and Mitch of the past decided was a good idea.

We arrived in Rome at 11 and walked the (what felt long) distance to our hotel. We’re staying in an area called Monti which is the oldest in Rome. It also happens to be 5 minutes from the colosseum. Luckily our room was the first to be cleaned so we were able to check in and have showers before heading back out.

We got some lunch at a nearby restaurant and made our way to the colosseum in the hopes of seeing it today. Unfortunately the next available slot was at 5pm and this was 1:30pm, and with a booking for the Vatican museum at night we would be pressed to make it to Vatican City in time. We’re going to try again tomorrow earlier in the morning and see what time we can get; but since we were all dressed up with nowhere to go. We still got some pics though.

We did a bit of shopping (mostly for the air con) and got some gelato while we strolled Via Corso before meandering our way back to the hotel to cool down. We passed the Spanish steps and Trevi fountain by accident but tried not to stop for too long as we planned to do them in our next couple of days at a less busy time. Saying that we got a few photos on the Spanish steps since they weren’t too crowded.

[side note: it was 33 today but felt like 38 so we were properly melting].

After an episode of The Money Heist (highly recommend btw) we got ready to head to Vatican City. Thankfully we’re close to a metro that goes directly to central station so it only took us about 25 mins to get to the Vatican. We ended up being 20 minutes early for the doors opening and there was a big queue already so we got our space and waited in the still hot setting sun.

You wouldn’t believe how big the queue got! We booked to go to “Night Openings” in the evening as it’s supposed to be much less busy and thus less hot; although I was getting worried that it would be like the last time I went in which I was basically squished like a sardine and tried unsuccessfully to keep up with the guide. Thankfully even with the queue it was a much more enjoyable experience this time around. Mitch rented one of the audio guides and we strolled around the rooms picking out the sculptures, paintings and tapestries that we wanted to hear more about. It was nice to be able to stop and take time to look around, especially at the ceilings and floors. It would be so easy to miss the effort that goes into these two areas of a room but in the Vatican definitely take the time to admire the frescos and mosaics if it’s quiet enough to look down.

The night openings for the Vatican museum are only available Friday nights between April and October.

Overall I would highly recommend going to the Vatican at night. Comparatively for me it was much more enjoyable and relaxing that during the day. However; Mitch and I can’t agree whether some of the corridors/rooms were closed to us at night or whether they are always restricted access during the day as well. That would be my only critique; you may not see the entirety of the museum exhibits in the evening session. We weren’t too fussed about reading every plaque and analysing every tapestry though; we just wanted a general overview of the museum and that’s what we got. Saying that it still took us 3 hours.

Here are my illicit Sistine chapel photos. They’re quite strict with the no photos rules which if you’re using flash I understand but this is one of the most talked about pieces of art in the world and to not be allowed to remember it in photos seems a shame that they’re trying to keep it to themselves.

We finished with a hearty McDonalds as we were very thirsty and our tummies were rumbling. So we’re in bed with tired feet and bantering back and fourth some good philosophical questions from today.

Fino alla prossima volta – Katy xxx

Isle of Capri

Buongiorno! Today was an absolutely fantastic day. We awoke reasonably early again and tucked into our free breakfast. We had been in two minds whether to spend the money to go to Capri or to save the money due to our backpackers budget. Our rationale for choosing to go was that we had multiple friends who have been in the past and read multiple reviews online, each and every account of this place state how amazing it is and we figured we can earn more money but may never have the opportunity to go to the Isle of Capri again in our lifetime. We found the cheapest way was to catch the public ferry, it was €38pp which is still quite pricey for a 20min boat ride.

Katy and I gathered our belongings and set off for the port of Sorrento. It was a bit of an effort to walk there using google maps as Sorrento is a maze but eventually we managed to make our way to the main port. We bought tickets to the next ferry and waited in the shade for it to arrive. We sat top deck of course (to take in the views) even though it was about 32 degrees outside. Before the boat left we were both melting in the open sunshine but as soon as the boat started to move we got a nice cool ocean breeze. 💨

The views from the boat were spectacular. On the right we had Mount Vesuvius in the distance with Naples and Pompeii visible, on the left was the Amalfi coastline in all its glory and straight in front you, you could see the rugged landscape of Capri in the distance.

The boat didn’t take too long and before we knew it we were at the main port of Capri.

There is a funicular that runs up the hillside to the main town up the top. The line for the funicular looked to be at least an hours long and google said it was an 18min walk- but we knew it was almost directly upwards.

Nonetheless we decided to make the trek up the hill to save us both time and money. By the time we got to the top we were just as sweaty as you can imagine. In fact, we were so dehydrated and thirsty we paid €3 for a litre bottle of cold water- probably more than the cost of the funicular.

Once at the top we were greeted with the streets and streets of boutique style shops mixed with designer labels and fancy jewellers, along with a lovely view of the north-west of the island.

I immediately thought of all the shopaholics in my family and how they would absolutely love this place. I tried very hard to get gifts for people but as I’m on the boat home writing this I didn’t manage to justify not 1 gift. I found a lovely watch my grandma would love, but the face was very small and it said “Milano” on it and I figured I would’ve liked Capri jewellery as I can get Milano jewellery in Milan later on. Lots of jewellery and handbags etc caught my eye for gifts but they were either too expensive, too large to transport or just weren’t quite suited.

Katy and I had a ball shopping even though neither of us bought anything. The shops were heavily air-conditioned and most of them had a token dog to pat. I even found a nice cardigan for myself that was unique to Capri and would’ve been a great memory but I couldn’t justify €90 for it. Capri seems to take pride in their watch brand “Capri watches” and I thought I would find one of them I liked but the only one I found I liked apart from a Rolex was a Maserati watch and it’s €400 price tag steered me away very quickly. As we had read online, Capri is a heaven for the rich- it housed every designer shop and expensive store you can think of, most of them having special edition lines of clothing made exclusively for Capri. This island and town are incredibly beautiful, all the superlatives in the world don’t do them justice, but I would advise anyone on a budget or without money to spend to think carefully about your visit.

There’s always a way to see a place on your budget and we proved just that today. We couldn’t afford to eat at any of the restaurants but we still had a delicious healthy lunch from the bakery for under €10. We paid the €1 entry to the botanical gardens where we sat for a good 90min reading our books and chillaxing in the shade, this was one of our greatest decisions.

The coastline around the whole island is peppered with boats everywhere, that’s understandable as it’s so popular and looks amazing from the perspective of the water. We essentially walked the entire town of Capri up and down and saw all of the shops and even sampled their lemon slushie (this area of the world is famous for everything lemon).

There is another town called Anacapri a short bus ride away but we didn’t have time to visit that one. From what we have read it is similar but less busy and geographically smaller.

Our boat home was booked for 5:30pm so we had an hour to kill, Katy and I decided we were super hot and sweaty and a quick dip in the ocean would be just what we needed. Luckily we had anticipated this this morning and threw our swimmers into our bag for the day. We made our way down the mountain which was a lot easier than going up and arrived at the only beach on this side of Capri.

Capri is not really known for its beaches. It is famous for things such as “The Blue Grotto” and it’s rugged rough coastline where you can hire boats to steer around the island to see. The beaches are added in parts for convenience of the tourists and there’s no sand- it’s all pebbly rocks but the water is still crystal clear and lovely and warm.

After awkwardly changing in front of some Italian men who weren’t even trying to hide the fact they were looking, we dumped our stuff on the coastline and jumped into the busy blue waters to cool down.

This is yet another place where our European rock shoes came in handy (best. purchase. ever!) We anticipated 30min swim quite well and dried off before walking the 5 min to the pier and find our boat.

After incorrectly walking the entire length of the peer we realised our boat was actually docked at the exact opposite side. Although it seemed very close/just in front of us, it was in fact a long walk all the way around the crescent shaped pier. Luckily we were 20min early, the walk around took us 15min and we safely boarded our much bigger vessel, bound for Sorrento.

The rest of the night is a bit “ditto” to be honest. We had a shower and we’re hungry so headed straight out to dinner. We went to the closest shop as it’s the cheapest we knew and we had lunch here our first day and it was friendly and delicious. After tanning a pizza and a pasta (typical) we strolled home through the warm summers night and packed our bags. Early morning tomorrow so we’re all packed and into bed early.

I certainly enjoy writing these blogs as it enables me to look back and reflect on just how great my day was. I’m trying not to take it all for granted and really soak in the fact that we are on the opposite side of the world, in some of the most amazing picturesque corners of the earth. No need to worry about us fam- we’re having an absolute ball. 🕺🏼

Arrivederci 🚶🏼‍♂️ M

Amalfi & Positano- The Main Event 🌊

We were up early for our “Italian breakfast” and I managed to steer away from the Nutella croissants today. Instead, opting for the prosciutto and cheese roll with an orange juice and a coffee. We met our friendly hotel neighbours on the way out, said hello and headed for the bus station.

We opted for an all day ticket as we had planned to catch a few buses and it turned out the best option for us. €10 for an all day ticket that took us to Amalfi, then Positano and afterwards, Positano to home. Our first stop was the town of Amalfi as it was furthest away. It took just under 2 hours and was one of the scariest bus rides of my life. The actual drive itself would not have been as bad if the local drivers had not treated it like an F1 track. At least the drivers in Greece (mainly Santorini) treated their dangerous roads with care, these drivers in Italy have obviously driven them so many times that they are wayyy to confident. For the sharp, blind corners they simply honk their horn to let oncoming traffic know and scream around the corner taking up both lanes of traffic in the hope that if anything was coming in the other direction, they assume the other drivers heard the horn and stopped to let them pass. It didn’t always happen like that though. 🙃 Either way the views were breathtaking so I just tried to focus on that and not think about the 3cm separating me from my death of plummeting into the ocean below. 😱

We arrived in the town of Amalfi after approx 1hr 50min. Our first thoughts were that it was lovely and quaint but there isn’t much substance to it. We were right. After a quick 30min stroll through the old town we had seen it all and we were heading for the beaches. I think possibly the attraction here is “The Amalfi Coast” and not so much the town of Amalfi itself. If I came back the best way would be to stay in Amalfi and hire a scooter so you can drive along the coast and visit all the tucked away beaches and famous swimming stops. I won’t say we were disappointed in Amalfi, we bought a few gifts and enjoyed our time wandering around, we just weren’t aware of its “piccolo” size.

After a short wait we boarded our bus and headed for Positano, back along the same road we we had arrived from, only this time we were on the (right side) side closest to the land which was much more relaxing. Was still a formula 1 race but at least if we crashed it would only be into the cliff face. 😶

We arrived to the top of Positano and we instantly knew how high up we were only meant 1 thing; lots of steps leading down. We were correct!

We painstakingly wound our way down these steep stairs knowing only too well that we would eventually need to go back up. There were a few nice platforms halfway down where we could rest and take in the view.

At least the steps were nice and sturdy. By the time we got to the bottom our legs were aeroplane jelly and we needed a swim. The entire beach was filled with expensive umbrellas. We checked them out and they were €25 each which is crazy. There was a 30m stretch in the middle of the beach for the free section but it was packed. Because I’m a rule breaker and the free section was rammed, we parked our stuff in front of the expensive sunbeds and dove in for a swim where there was much less people. We had learnt in Greece off Stefanos that the Greeks “ask for forgiveness- not for permission” so we went with that ideology. By this point we were very hot and very sweaty, the water was our saviour!

We frolicked around and swam in the ocean until our fingers shrivelled into prunes. The water temp here is very warm so you could easily stay in all day. It was very pleasant for us as our Portugal holiday told us that not all European beaches have warm water, no matter what the air temperature.

We dried off and took a seat in a nearby bar to share a fruit platter and a healthy fruit smoothie. We sat here for awhile and chatted about nothing as we watched the people go by. We utilised their bathroom to get changed into our dry set of clothes and set off to have a look around the shops.

Positano itself is not a big place. Everything you see on the hillside is residence and hotels. Down at sea level there are literally two streets with shops and restaurants. It’s very quaint and had various boutique stores to look through with things from knick knacks to expensive clothes and jewellery. I am looking to buy a new cap as mine is very old and used, I found a nice cap but the €15 price tag warned me off- after all, it’s just a cap. Eventually we had seen everything and made the steep climb back up the mountain to the bus stop. Wasn’t too long before sweaty Mitch was back. I am generally a very sweaty person but if you make me climb about 1000 steps in 32 degrees you can guarantee when I get to the top it looked like I’d just come out of the ocean. Here is a picture I took just for this blog to show how frazzled we were by the time we reached the bus stop at the top of the cliff.

NEVER. AGAIN!

It wasn’t too long to wait till the air conditioned bus arrived. Katy and I jumped on and we were home in 40min. Today was lovely. We had visited two very famous points along an equally famous coastline. We feel we saw everything we wanted to and the experience was a great one to remember for the ages.

Nothing to report after this. The usual Italian food for dinner accompanied with an ice cream before heading to bed fairly early.

Thanks for reading 🤘🏼 M

Punta Del Capo, Sorrento, Italy 🇮🇹

Picture this: you wake up in a perfectly air conditioned room, it’s 8:30 and your alarms just gone off, you would normally roll over to hit snooze but today’s different. You’re in Sorrento, Italy. You have nowhere to be, no boss to answer to, and no timeline to adhere to. Additionally, you have nothing to do today and you’re in one of the most beautiful coastlines on the entire planet! Jealous? You should be! This was me this morning- and trust me when I say I’m am living it up and taking nothing for granted.

After our very long day of walking and sightseeing yesterday we decided to postpone Amalfi and Positano until tomorrow and spend today recuperating. Our breakfast at this place consists of coffee, prosciutto and cheese bread, donuts, Nutella filled croissants and cake. 😂 As great as this sounds sometimes you want something more nutritious, especially if you’re here for 5 nights. I think the Italians aren’t big on breakfast and usually do coffee and a cigarette to get them going. I gave in to temptation and had the Nutella croissant today but will be stronger for the next few mornings if I don’t want to start growing sideways, especially with all the dinner options at night. After breaky we found a secluded beach on trip advisor 30min walk from here that isn’t even on google maps. All of the reviews said how hard it was to find and that there was no signs but it’s worth the walk in the sun. We could’ve gone for the closer beach but thought it might be cool to find the secret beach and I was up for the challenge. Possibly our inner sense of adventure came out as it was exciting to be strolling dangerously along a main road without a footpath looking for a pixelated sign that wouldn’t load on google.

Without much fuss we managed to find this spot. It took us about 50min walk from our hotel so by the time we got there we were very sweaty and ready for a swim. This place was like an open cave where you had the choice to swim at the inland part or out beyond the rocks in the Tyrrhenian Sea. We decided to start at the inland part as it was nice and calm and the water looked very appealing.

There wasn’t any actual room to put your belongings or spread out to sunbathe. Basically everyone had their stuff gathered into the holes of the cliff or the rocks sticking out of the ocean. We walked through the water and placed our bag high on a rock and headed in for a swim. The atmosphere here was so chill, 90% of the people were Italians on holiday, 100% of us were just here to enjoy the sun and cool down and a good 70% had come to get insta worthy pics.

The water was warm, almost too warm but who are we to complain. Katy and I swam here for a good while and watched people jump off the rocks into a seemingly shallow body of water below. While Katy perched herself in the sun on the rocks I made the swim through the cave and out to the ocean where I was greeted with the most spectacular sight. I can honestly say it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. As I swam through the deep narrow cave I emerged into the open and I could see all down the coastline. I could see Sorrento in the near distance, Pompei nestled under Mount Vesuvius and Naples in the background. Murphy’s law states “ones battery on their GoPro will run out at the exact moment they would have the opportunity for the best photo”. As I turned around to face where I swam from there was a fair amount of people that had setup camp on the rock face of the cliffs. There were people of all ages, Italian families on holidays, couples on romantic getaways, and tourists from afar (many of whom were cliff jumping from some serious heights ).

I went back through the cave and told Katy of the wonder I had seen. I eventually convinced her to swim through the cave with me to see for herself and she was certainly glad she did. We both stayed out there for a while before I decided to go and get our belongings and bring them round as we planned on staying at this part for a while.

Full disclosure: this is the part of the story where I stole some denim shorts that most definitely will not look great on me and even more definitely an accident. Katy stayed on the cliffs and when I went to grab our stuff her towel was layed out drying in the sun, it also had a pair of denim shorts on top. I immediately thought that they must have been Katy’s and folded them up and put them in our bag along with the towel and our shoes etc. It wasn’t until about 2 hours later when Katy informed me she was wearing a dress today and they weren’t her shorts that I was mortified. Some poor girl thinks that her shorts have been stolen when in reality it was an honest mistake. I tried my best to return them to the same spot but I highly doubt she was still there.

If you happen to be reading this and we’re at Punta Del Capo on 6th August 2019, and had your denim short shorts stolen, please accept my sincere apologies.

We swam for what seemed like hours jumping off the cliffs and treading water in the ocean trying not to get washed up on the sharp rocks of the coastline. We were actually surprised that it had only been a few hours when we were ready to go home. I guess time slows in Italy when you’re having fun. 😊🌊

We made the long sweaty walk home and grabbed some quick food on the way. Katy got conned into buying some traditional pastries from a grumpy Italian man- I wasn’t complaining, they were delicious.

We were both tired from the swimming/staying afloat so went for a shower and sat on our balcony and listened to music through our speaker and chilled out. Eventually Katy fell into a short nap and I made friends with our old Aussie hotel neighbour. His air con wasn’t working so he recruited me to try and fix it. Our balconies are attached so there was no way I could escape anything less than a half hours chinwag with this lovely Melbournian. I’ll save you his life story, but he was a lovely man. 😃

After our few hours rest we both wanted to go back to the exact same restaurant as last night for dinner. It was delicious, authentic and well priced so we thought we couldn’t beat it. We shared a pizza and a salad and had the same server as last night which was kinda the reason we came back, they looked after us so well and were very genuine lovely people.

If you’re visiting Sorrento we would definitely recommend Punta Del Capo as it had everything from scenery to atmosphere. It’s not the most accessible place so would not suit elderly or mobility disabled people and probably wouldn’t suit you if you’re no good with maps either as it’s a legitimate hole in the cliffs. We had a fabulous day and also allowed us to recharge for another day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Ciao M 🏊🏻‍♂️

Herculaneum and Pomeii

Monday 5th August

So this was a long, looooong day for us. My health app says we walked 14km yesterday but I’m convinced it was nearer 20km considering how sore both of our feet were.

We had an early breakfast in our hotel (for free yahoo!) and headed out to catch the train. It was pretty busy at the station which we expected; most people cleared off at the stop for Pompeii but we stayed on until Ercolano. It takes about 50 minutes from Sorrento so it’s a decent distance and it’s about another 500m from the train station to the archeological site of Herculaneum.

A bit of info on Herculaneum. It’s a much smaller, more well preserved site in comparison to Pompeii. The blast from the volcano sent torrents of volcanic “mud” down the mountain where it coated the town and buried it until 1738 when excavations started. The science is still shaky as to why the pyroclastic rock preserved the town the way it did rather than destroying everything. There is still large scale excavations ongoing as well as constant preservation efforts. We’re taking about materials that have been around for 2000 years here.

We picked up a guide book which is numbered with all of the open “exhibitions”. Basically they close some of the rooms/houses/shops if they are no longer safe or if they are actively working on preserving the mosaics for example. The numbers are marked on the outside of the exhibits so you know what part to read. There is an option to hire a guide; and they probably have more information that you get from the book alone but alas we’re on a travellers budget and found the included guide book to be fairly concise.

I’m going to include a lot of pictures here that I’ll explain but you get the gist that we walked about and read the guidebook. It took us 3 hours to see pretty much everything. We missed the skeletons as we only realised the exhibit was open as we were leaving. It does take it out of you, all the walking, as the streets of the site are original so you’ll trip if you don’t look where you’re going and it was very hot with no breeze. A view from above since the site is below the current ground level. If you can see in the background the yellow buildings are modern day apartments. They know there is more of Herculaneum under the current town but there is no way to safely excavate this without destroyed no current properties.

Here are the roads, you definitely need to watch your step coming down off the pavements as they’re much higher than their modern day equivalent.

Before the whole Vesuvius eruption thing; you would have been staring at a view of the sea. The marina came right up to the city walls however lava + water = new land.

Did you know – during the first excavations the archaeologists actually thought that everyone had fled the city and made it out alive. Until they started digging up bodies where the marina was.

Here is some of the preservation and excavation works. The metal snake ornament was originally part of a fountain and shows the old school Roman god version of medusa.

I’ve included pictures to show how the original wood, even though it’s black, has still retained form and texture after being buried under liquid rock. Even some metal poles from the windows have survived.

You can see here the new wood on the right versus the original on the left. Another example of the work that the site puts in to try and preserve the structures.

The Romans’ weren’t silly. While we were still dying of dysentery during the Victorian era; they had worked out how to “flush away” their 1’s & 2’s and keep their city clean. Also spot the “cats eye” marble – an ancient way of lighting the streets at night as it reflected the moonlight.

An ancient vino list and NOLA was the advertisement for a show. Say what you want but they knew how to have a good time!

These are all original frescos “paintings”. 2000 years old and still intact! You can just make out the man walking on the beach in the last one.

One of the most impressive parts for me is how well preserved the mosaics are. They still in really good condition and you can see the effort that the artists would have put in back in the day. Only the wealthy had mosaics in their homes and you can bet they weren’t on their hands and knees placing each little square.

This is from the women’s baths. One guess what it is! All the symbols utilised are done so for a purpose. Symbols of protection, luck, healing, and in this case fertility.

Lastly these are to show you the scale of some of these buildings. I naively like to think that 2000 years ago people were living in mud huts but these pictures go to show that they had massive buildings with atriums and gardens in the centre. Some were two and 3 stories high and had separate rooms for their kitchens. The rainwater pools allowed water to drain from the roof into the pool to be used for drinking and cooking. The Romans also ate out of the house as mealtimes were considered social events. The marble table tops held terracotta jugs filled with soups, wine, nuts and legumes. Staples, obviously.

Pompeii

I’ll be honest, I personally think Pompeii is a bit of a disappointment after Herculaneum but everyone always says that Pompeii is the one not to miss so obviously we spent the 15€ each to see it in all of its glory.

Pompeii is huge like 33km of huge. It’s poorly mapped out, very confusing since everything looks like the same ruins of a building and the streets go on for miles with one good room popping up every now and again. You could spend all day traipsing about and still not see all the good bits. Again I would probably suggest if you have the money to get a guide or at least an audio guide.

Here’s the funny in retrospect story – we’re obviously on a budget traveling for 3 months; so we’re skipping the “unnecessary expenses” for example very useful and knowledgeable tour guides and instead doing it ourselves. (We’re not giving up gelato so we have to make cuts somewhere). Well that was all good and well – I (meaning Katy) had downloaded an internet audioguide to tour Pompeii with and combined with a map (which we never got as they ran out!) thought it would be easy to trot off on our own and see everything. It was not. We got lost a lot at the start. Struggled to find where we were on the map we had pulled up on Mitch’s phone and were getting pretty disheartened at the start. Thankfully with a lot of rewinding and re-listening to the walking instructions, we actually saw a lot of what is considered the highlights. Still it took us close to 4 hours. We used Rick Steves audioguide which was actually really good if a little outdated as some of the rooms he mentioned were closed off and one exhibit had been moved to another area of the site, so we had to double back to see it at the end.

In the guide he explains that Vesuvius was rumbling and making noise for a few days prior to the eruption but the locals didn’t think anything of it because it hadn’t erupted in 1,200 years; so they went about their day ignoring the volcano’s warnings! As we know it erupted and shot ash and gases into the air. The ash could be as big as a boulder (which explains why nearly all of the buildings in Pompeii don’t have roofs preserved) or fine like snow, thus burying everything.

Here are the streets of Pompeii. Wider than Herculaneum and with these stepping stones so when they washed the streets everyday day – to wash away the wee wees and poo poos – they wouldn’t get their sandals wet. Also the distance between the stones is just enough to allow carriages pulled by horses to pass through. This is the forum which was a meeting place for the people of Pompeii. They had markets and food stalls here as well as Jupiter’s temple seen above where the locals would go to worship and make sacrifice. Jupiter is the Roman version of Apollo. This is the unfinished basilica, it was in the middle of construction when Vesuvius erupted. The columns which you can see on the right aren’t actually made of marble but instead cheaper brick (like those in-front) and were covered with a crushed marble paste to keep the costs down. The basilica was essentially used as a court and was where judicial affairs were conducted. This is how busy it was at 2pm. These arches were responsible for providing water pressure to the city. There was a tank that used to sit hidden on the top of the arch that filtered into a smaller tank below which supplied each neighbourhood with reliable water pressure. The house of the faun is one of the largest properties in Pompeii with an estimated 40 rooms. The house was know for the sculpture of the dancing faun which sat in one of the rainwater basins. The house would have had many frescos and mosaics but one of the only remaining is a mosaic of Alexander the Great defeating Darius 3rd of Persia in the battle of Issus. He is shown without a hemet and the Persians are shown with their head scarves. Mill used to grind flour and the oven behind it. You can see the holes in the stone where donkeys (or slaves) would have pushed a wooden bar around in a circle to move the top part of the stone.

Some more of the surviving mosaics. We think the bottom one is dedicated to Neptune, god of the sea. Onto one of my favourite parts of the site. I love it because there is absolutely no hiding what kind of business it was. The paintings on the walls are assumed to be a kind of menu of the services provided. Here are some of the pictures of us in the theatre piccolo (little theatre), the grande theatre – which we think is still used as a music venue because there are seat numbers – and the amphitheatre. Mitch pointed out that Pink Floyd played there in 1971.

We finished our long day of walking by seeing the dead bodies, as we decided to name them. This is the exhibit that had been moved when we were listening to our podcast. They aren’t actually bodies as opposed to plaster cast shells of dead bodies. When the excavation was going on they found these air gaps in the stone where the citizens had been trapped in a lava cast. So when their bodies disintegrated, it left behind a shell of their form. Hope that wasn’t to grizzly an explanation.

That wraps up a very verrrry long post. Honestly it’s taken 2 days to write and the app has crashed about 5 times!

I’ll speak to you too soon – Katy xxx

Couple days of transit Greece -> Italy

Our last few days have been a bit choppy. At the time of writing we are in Sorrento, Italy. There isn’t too much to report as we have been mainly travelling.

Our last day in Mykonos we woke up late and wandered around for a few hours after checkout before heading to get our ferry. We had pre organised all our ferry tickets and booked the expensive ferry (€60 each) as it was only 2 hours and the normal one took 5. We arrived to the port 15min early to find our boat hadn’t arrived. After waiting for what seemed like an age I asked the box office and they told me our ferry would be in 1 hr late. Not looking promising. Eventually our ferry left the port of Mykonos 1hr 20min later than originally scheduled. We still got into Mykonos faster than the snail ferry but it wasn’t ideal.

We checked into our lovely air BnB in the center of Athens for just 1 night. The air BnB was lovely but the area was very dodgy. The location was perfect, right in the center of Athens; and Our air BnB had a view of the Acropolis from its top floor which was kinda cool for the sunset.

To me Athens is a city of great culture and history; but as of recent it is very run down and dirty. It’s sad because all of the islands are so clean and vibrant but our suburb in Athens was full of graffiti and cigarette butts. On the plus side everything in Athens was super cheap, about a third of the price of Mykonos. I have previously talked about the “Mykonos Tax”, well here they had the “Athens Discount”. We only had one night here so we spent the night and next morning looking around the market stalls, enjoying the last of some Greek food and Katy got her phone re-repaired as the screen she had replaced was faulty (luckily it had a warranty so they fixed it for free).

That afternoon we made our way to the airport and boarded our flight for Naples. We had been told by multiple people that Naples wasn’t a very nice city so we only booked an overnight BnB here. We arrived about 8pm to what seemed like (on the surface) a slightly unsafe/unsavoury city. Maybe our views had been tainted by the opinions of others but this was once again a city that was unclean and has a general bad vibe. We checked into our air BnB and stayed in for the night, we didn’t feel like walking around. Checkout the next morning was 10am which I thought was a bit rubbish but alas we were up and out by 10. We had a few hours to roam around Naples in the day time before we got on the train to Sorrento.

Naples by day was much nicer and less scary. There were a few monuments we would like to see and we wanted to have a relaxing breakfast too. Unfortunately we had our full 15kg backpacks with us so that limited the distance we could walk in the 37 degree heat but we strolled down the main streets and saw a few things while we gathered a better opinion of Naples.

We boarded a train for Sorrento which takes about 1 hr and snakes down the seaside past the infamous Mt Vesuvius down to the point of Sorrento. It was hard to get a picture but the whole way we had this famous extinct Volcano on our side, it was hard to imagine the destruction it created in the 1st Century. All the things I had read in history at school came to a back to me, I didn’t really think that I’d be so casually commuting along side this beast.

The train was long and hot and sweaty but we eventually made it to Sorrento and walked to our newest air BnB.

Although on the top floor with no lift our room is lovely and has a fully functioning air conditioner which we were ever so grateful for! We checked in and went for a walk to get some lunch and see parts of the town and orientate ourselves.

Our first thoughts of Sorrento are very positive. It has such a great vibe, it feels very holiday-y and clean and beautiful. This is a very popular holiday destination for many celebrities and we can see why.

We then made the short walk home and showered and rested for an hour or so before heading out for dinner. Obviously we picked the most authentic place we could and ordered the most Italian food we could as we had been waiting for this day. I had the Gnocchi and Katy had a pizza. Katy even managed to engage her second stomach and have a Lava Cake for dessert. The meal was amazing and very well priced, we were very happy campers!

After dinner it was quite late so we went home to use the WiFi to google information for our next few days here. We found things like bus prices and timetables, as well as tips and tricks for the sights we will be visiting in the next few days.

Watch this space

M 🙌🏼🇮🇹