Thursday, September 15, 2016

Naples to Bari, Italy

Here's the image of Madrid Airport that I lost yesterday.  Really interesting and great lines and curves!

Our Airbnb in Naples was an old (400 years) 17th century house that used to belong to the palace. It had been in our hosts family for many generations, and they are now renting out three rooms for airbnb hosts. It has huge rooms, and we had a whole floor with bedroom, bathroom and a massive lounge. The kitchen for meals was downstairs. We had arrived at night, so didn't see much at first. We did walk down the road to the Shire Irish Pub for a meal, but it was closed, so our host opened a bottle of Rosso (ten years old), and cooked us an incredible pasta dish with fresh salad, followed by strudel and icecream. It was wonderful as we were both hungry. Following are photos of the house - the first two is our bedroom...

This is the lounge where I found Nikki updating her diary when I finally woke up!

The lounge looking the other direction.  By the door the host had clothes, jackets for sale, including a beautiful black leather jacket with the label name Roby!  I felt it was for me  - it certainly fit me beautifully, but I decided I had no use for one at this stage and luggage is tight, and it's too hot to wear it on the plane!

All the floors were marble right throughout the house - including the staircase...

On the windowsill going up the stairs there was a display case of beautiful urns.  And a skull. or two.  As you do!

Beautiful priceless statues and artwork was all around...

We went down for breakfast, a gorgeous spread of food.

This was the lounge on the bottom floor just out of the dining room. Again marble floors and priceless artwork.  I felt very at home. I've obviously been born into the wrong family!  I should be an Italian Heiress of some sort!

Looking back towards the dining room, and Nikki looking at the things in the display cases.

We then headed out to Ercolano, or ancient Herculaneum as they say in English. It was crazy driving there, the roads were narrow, very bumpy, and the Italians seem to have no road rules, and are very impatient.  I was trying to be careful!

It was a brilliant day (as per usual), the following photo shows the ruins of Ercolano, and the city of Naples above.  A rich American (Packard) has bought the area (where the yellow building is) so the archaeologists can carry on excavating this underground city.

I got in free because I was deaf. Nikki had to pay 8 Euros. The difference is I have my Cochlear Implant Patient Card which seems to do the trick, but Nikki has no deaf ID she can use. We were very lucky to get in on a English Tour, and Luciano, the tour guide is one of the archaelogists of Ercolano, so he was really knowledgeable. He kept apologising for his English, but in fact it was very good.

In the following image, the moat is actually where the sea used to be before the eruption.

We were told that the reason the buildings were built on the diagonal, as it made them safer in earthquakes. The Romans were such great engineers. We also learnt that Ercolano was a resort/spa by the beach, and Pompeii was a trade/commercial city, so the people here were rich. That Pompeii, the lava encased people and mummified them, whereas in Ercolano, the gas killed the people first, then 25 metres of mud buried them. Hence in Ercolano, only skeletons were found.

A 2000 year old wine bar. My kind of place...

As we were on a tour, we got taken behind the scenes of blocked access areas, to see beautiful mosaic floors. Being a Sea Resort, there were many examples of sea imagery.

Most of the houses had a fountain in the main room and Ercolano had a full sewage and water system, unlike Pompeii where people dumped in the main street.

All the houses had these lead water pipes leading into the houses for their fresh water. Our archaelogist guide told us that these lead pipes may have been the fall of the Roman Empire, dying young of lead poisoning.

Mosaics and Frescos..

Mud still on the windows, and the diagonal stones...

One of the main streets.

More examples of the lead pipes...

Frescoes in a temple

And a plaque explaining that this is a temple made by free slaves. We were told in the audioguide it is said the plaque is a copy, which stops the plaque from being stolen. However our archaelogist said no, it is actually the original and he loves that people can see it.

At the end of the tour I was allowed to take a photo of the image showing what Ercolano looked like it's its day 2000 years ago before the volcano erupted. Where the beach is, is now the moat below.

The skeletons in the boat houses were poor people and mainly women and children. The men were on the beach discussing how to escape when the gas killed them. Of the nine boats in the houses, only one was left, which meant that the rich people got out leaving the poor. In this image, there was a horse on the beach that when he smelt the gas, panicked and bolted through the door in the middle, so those are horse bones.

The city now with Mt Vesuvious in the background. I read an article a while back that Naples is still under threat of this volcano as it is not dead,,, but sleeping... No different to Auckland really!

In this one you can see the boat houses below where the skeletons remain..

We then took off and drove 256 kilometres on tolled highway to reach the old city of Bari where we are staying for two nights. This is the square near our apartment as I walked in after parking the car.  The light was beautiful, the last of the sun on the buildings. Bari is gorgeous.  Our apartment is amongst the locals and they are friendly to us, even though we can't speak Italian.

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