May 8, 2009

Day 5: {Naples, Italy}

I woke up feeling extremely excited today because we were finally going to be on Italy soil! Woohoo!!

Right after breakfast, Alan and I got off the ship and headed staight to the streets of Naples. We decided to be more adventurous today and did not sign up for any shore excursions. Once we left the port, we immediately were bombarded by taxi drivers offering their best rates for day tours around different cities. I was not the least bit alarmed as I've experienced this many times in my previous visits to China. I knew to take it slowly and to utilize my negotiation skills. It quickly became clear that it would be most cost effective if we were able to group up with another couple or family to share a taxi. Just as we were contemplating on this, we were approached by a nice couple around our age asking if we would be interested in sharing a taxi. We liked them immediately and said yes, since we were interested in the same destinations. After some negotiation with the taxi drivers to get the best price, we were on our way to our first stop--Pompei.

As we walked through the ruins of Pompeii, a city that was once destroyed by an erupting volcano, we were astonished at the remaining structures still intact and imagined what it was like to have lived there.

After Pompeii, our friendly taxi driver drove us to another city--Sorrento, where we enjoyed a nice Italian lunch of pizza and pasta. There were a lot of small boutiques in narrow streets which we checked out briefly before taking a semi-long hike down to the harbor for a ferry ride to the beautiful island of Capri.

The ferry ride was not very long, and gave Alan and I the opportunity to get to know our new friends Caroline and Richard a little better. They were from Ontario, Canada, and we exchanged a lot of stories on our lives in the different countries and our work.

Upon our arrival to Capri, we wandered around the open air cafes and ships before hopping on the tram to take us uphill. We couldn't stop staring at the gorgeous panoramic view surrounding us! There were lots of high end shops, like Prada, as well as boutiques that featured the work of local artisans. Ofcourse, in between them were LOTS of gelato cafes!

We were reluctant to leave Capri, but eventually hopped on the ferry again and returned to Naples. Since we still had some time, we walked around Naples a bit but were not too interested in its bustling, busy streets.

Sadly, we said goodbye to our new friends, since they were on a different cruise ship. It was definitely a delight to have met them and to have spent the entire day together! Italy is all about making friends right?

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