June 20, 2011

O Sole Mio (Day 10, 19 June)

Oh the sun is just punishing here! BTW, 'o sole mio' means 'my sun'!

In the blink of an eye, our tour has officially ended. Amazing how 10 days can just fly. We made the short drive from Sorrento to Pompeii this morning to visit the perfectly preserved ruins of Pompeii, a once thriving town stopped in its tracks and buried under a cloud of ash and pumice by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD.

Another super hot day, we walked in the heat along the walkways as our local guide pointed out the highlights of the ancient town, including an amphitheatre, restaurant and brothel. Yes, brothel! Apparently it was a perfectly respectable career back then and there was an inn that had erotic paintings on the wall and concrete beds, which honestly didn't look too comfy!

We also saw plaster casts of how animals and humans spent their final minutes, curled up in fear or trying to block their bodies from the ash spewing. Quite sad...

Me and ma had a lot of legroom today, more than usual in one of the coach's front seats. Could stretch my whole leg and not touch the seat in front!

Back in Lazio, we stopped briefly in the town of Cassino, wherein lay a cemetery for Commonwealth soldiers killed in WWII. It was a quiet, peaceful place and the lawns were immaculate. Nearby uphill was Monte Cassino, where the Benedictine order and abbey was established by St Benedict.

In the late afternoon, we arrived back in Rome and checked into the Sheraton Roma. Rooms were on the old side but they will do! We rested for a bit before getting ready for our highlight dinner, there were quite a number of ladies in B&W!

Dinner was near Castel Sant' Angelo, in a little restaurant called Opera and no prizes for guessing what kind of entertainment was on the cards! A lady came around to sing Italian songs in her falsetto, accompanied by an accordion player.

It was a semi-formal affair, the food was interesting and we sat with Shirley and company. We had a spinach pasta with a cheese sauce, topped with chocolate powder...didn't quite work for me!
Actually, for me the highlight dinner was in Sorrento!

Natale gave me a fright as we were boarding the coach on the way back, he honked just as I was walking past his window! Gave him his tip when we alighted and he called me 'bella', had to take a picture with him for remembrance!

In the lobby, everyone was saying goodbye to each other, reluctant to part but part we must! Tomorrow is a day for last minute shopping and dinner with Juliana, who will be arriving for her own Trafalgar tour.

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