Exploring the ancient times in Pompeii, Italy

Pompei

Pompeii

Here I’ve written about, how we like visiting the ancient cities and play the “Pretend to be” game, like the picture above, pretending to cross a pedestrian road in a busy Pompeii street. After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Ad 79, everything and everybody remained still, under soil and it was not discovered until 17th century. That’s why, everything is very well kept and a whole city remained untouched in Pompeii, and that’s what makes this cite more interesting.

Our visit to Pompeii started with scanning a map we had and deciding, how our route should be. We (me and my husband) did not have a plan to go trough all streets, but skip many and visit some important points. However, with an 8-year-old, you never have your own plans, because our son did want to visit every bid of the streets, houses. So in the end that’s what we did. The best part was, finding an ancient house, sit on a fine stone and guess how they must be living in there, play the game of “pretend to be”.

It took us more than 3 hours to walk all around, including some breaks in some buildings or open areas, relaxing. Good part was, the weather was so nice, calm, sunny with winter coolness.

We were already very tired and hungry, when we got out of Pompeii, so we decided to visit a tiny town of Sorrento Coast: Vico Equense which was about half an hour drive from Pompeii. Finding Vico Equense was not so hard but it was harder to find a parking place. But, it was much more harder to find the famous Pizza a Metro restaurant. So it was late afternoon, when we finally reached there and ordered our meals.

Starters at Pizza a Metro

Starters at Pizza a Metro

Unfortunately, I do not have the photo of the Pizza, as we must be so hungry to eat as soon as we got it.

Narrow lanes at Vico Equense

Narrow lanes at Vico Equense

After lunch we took time to wander around the lanes and streets of Vico Equense. The streets were full of surprising views. That is, at the end of a narrow road, you would come across to a wonderful view of Mediterranean sea, with some banks to sit on and watch the old Italian ladies feeding the birds. A pale red painted green window blinded house in the back and a lonely pine tree escorting the old lady to enjoy the view.

Mediterranean smell cooling the narrow lanes

Mediterranean smell cooling the narrow lanes

Next: Climbing the Visuv

Let’s talk about Italy

Sorrento and Amalfi Coasts

Sorrento and Amalfi Coasts

Reading trough my previous posts, I’ve realized that I had written so little about Italy. Italy is the country we visited the most with our son. So I think it is time to talk about Italy, right?

A tour to Sorrento and around was another adventure of us about 3 years ago: On a cold winter term holiday at a restaurant for dinner, we decided that we should go somewhere. Somewhere warmer, somewhere convenient, somewhere easy, somewhere we have not been before. So we checked the airlines for the next morning. Yes, NEXT MORNING. Basel; too cold. Paris; too cold. Malta; flight inconvenient. Tunus; might be hard to drive. Rome; we’ve been. Dubai, requires a visa. Napoli; … ok Napoli, let’s go. With the help of booking.com for hotel and airport rentals for the car and the Eyewitness book we bought from the airport, next morning at around 11:00 am we were in a flight to Napoli.

Our hotel was easy to choose, as at this time of the year there weren’t much alternatives. However, even if we had, I would most probably prefer to choose the very same hotel: Hotel Francischiello Bellavista.

View from our room

View from our room

It was among the best hotel room views we have ever stayed, just across Capri island, in between many lemon tree lands, fresh air, convenient parking and 10 minutes drive from Sorrento center.

We ate every evening of our 4 nights stay at the hotel restaurant, as they did have a wonderful Italian menu, with tasty various starters and some local very good vines. You would not want to risk the “drink and drive” issue while driving in Sorrento coast, would you?

In front of our hotel

In front of our hotel

One bad thing about the hotel was, there was not much to do in the evenings, however, one evening in the lobby area we found the photo albums of the family running the hotel and whole evening we looked at the albums. Seeing the guy in the reception as a little boy, grew up over there, the old “waiter” grandma was actually the bride of the family and trying to run the hotel, after her husband’s death together with her son (we do not know the story, but this is what we perceived from the photos), the restaurant had a veranda in front, in the old times, the pine tree (photo above) was much smaller. We also did think that, it is amazing to share these memories with their guests, so touchy and valuable and makes a family run local business more valuable than a chain hotel.

More to come in my next posts about the area.

Next: A day out to Pompei and mount Visuv.

Which was your best hotel room?

I’ve been to more than 200 cities in more than 20 countries, and stayed in more than a 100 hotels. I suppose my dear followers, you too like to travel. Here is the question: Which was the best hotel room you have ever stayed? Probably, like me, very many hotels come to your mind, right?

I think all three of us in my family would answer this question differently. my husband’s answer was straight: Polonia Palace Hotel. Why? Because the best sleeping quality is his only concern.

Polonia Palace Hotel

Polonia Palace Hotel

The room was very ordinary at the first sight. One double bed, a bathroom, a sofa turned into a child’s bed, and a little free space. That’s it. But my husband has a saying: Never decide about a hotel before 24 hours. So after 24 hours, his decision is “the best”.

For my son, I guess would be Hilton, Las Vegas. (I can not ask him now, he is out with his friends, but I’ll ask and let you know if I am right) Why? Because there were 3 televisions in the room, one of which was just in front of his bed, with a wall-to-wall screen of barcovision. Of course he spent hours watching Formula 1 and some other staff. Plus a good hotel for our son means a high hotel, preferably some floors over 20th is the best for him.

My answer to a best room would be, Pullman Cove Hotel in Cairns, Australia. I will probably write another post, sometime later about the hotel, but just to give you some hints, here are two photos.

Living room and kitchen

Living room and kitchen

Terrace and private pool

Terrace and private pool

Yes, our room was a 2 bedroom flat, with a big kitchen, living room, a laundry room, two bathrooms, a terrace and a private pool and the sound of ocean waves. A room you wouldn’t want to go out.

On the other hand, when we think of a “best room” we also tend to think of a room with the “best view”. What if I asked the best view room you have ever stayed? All the answers would change and the only answer would be Francischiello Hotel & Spa Bellavista near Sorrento, Italy. A view of Italian farmlands, the Mediterranean sea and the Capri island beyond.

Our room view in Sorrento

Our room view in Sorrento

And the view in the evening
And the view in the evening

 

Now I understand that, I have been to very few hotel room with a “best view” other than the sea views.  I think a hotel would not have much chance in terms of “best view”, if it was not by the sea. Maybe some mountain views in the Alpines of Switzerland, some of the Golf Hotel views, maybe a desert view, or some room overlooking the city lights, or a view of unlimited wine yards in France, or a Christmas market in Austria, or a medieval Piazza in Toscana,  or a castle in Germany, or… whatever, I should note to make sure some stays in “best view” hotels next time.

PS. Please share your best hotel experiences with a link to my post.

 

Visiting Ancient Sites

Visiting ancient sites

Visiting ancient sites – Pergamon

It always has been amazing to see how our son’s imagination work in the ancient cities. While we intent to see just “stones”, our son loves to do shopping in an “Agora”, do some cooking in a “kitchen”, play a game in the “amphitheater”, pretend to be a statue, be a king, be a slave, be a carpenter or be soldier… Ancient sites are really good places to play the old “pretending to be” games.

When we visit an ancient site he never wants to skip any bit of the “stones” and wonders the story behind every stone. Good way to teach the history and let him know that there were thousands of years people lived without their ipads, or PSPs. Hard for him to believe.

The best ancient cities we have been were in Turkey, Greece and Italy. The story behind the ancient cities are more amazing than the sites itself. How people cured themselves in the very first hospital of Asclepion, how people died of diseases, how they have been to the toilet all together in Ephesus, where the gods lives in Athens, and how people could not escape from the Visuv volcano in Pompei.

Pedestrian crossing on a busy street of Pompei

Pedestrian crossing on a busy street of Pompei

To get the most from an ancient city, when we finally finish all our walking, we love to stop at the souvenir shop and buy a little souvenir or postcards to remember the site. After a fine walk in the ancient sites, we also love to relax in a fine restaurant and talk about what we just saw, what we will remember and sometimes our son draws some pictures about the details of the stones and I am always amazed how he can remember such things in such details.

Pretending to be s statue - Ephesus

Pretending to be a statue – Ephesus

Remember me to write about our little “Do you remember?” game later on.