Monday, July 30, 2012

A Fantastic Day of Boating

On Saturday we rented boats with a group of friends from nearby Arco Felice in order to spend a day on the sea. Weather-wise, it was a perfect day to spend boating around the islands... clear skies  and very hot!

Captain Jon drove us out of the dock and we headed out to clearer water with less boat traffic. The further we went out the more serene the environment became... away from the gritty streets, jumbled traffic, and Naples' beaters. With the wind flowing through our hair we passed hundreds of mussel traps floating in the water. We passed the small island of Procida with its magnificent castle looming over the bay. We passed the colorful small marina of Corricella. And we passed Monte di Procida with its beautiful coastline.

Castle d'Avalos on Procida
Mussel collection area
Monte di Procida
Castle d'Avalos on Procida
Captain Jon
Within no time we arrived at the Ischia port to fill up the gas tanks. Soon after, we boated to another side of the island to swim, drink, and just relax.

Castle Aragonese on Ischia
Some fun in the water
Good times!

With our stomachs grumbling we boated to an area that had a few restaurants just for people pulling up to shore with their boats. We feasted on fresh seafood, linguine, and of course wine.

Ischia at the main port
Things got a little fuzzy from this point on. Could it have been the numerous bottles of beer, wine, and limocello that we just HAD to chug from the bottle? Perhaps. I like to think of it being the dehydrating effects of too much sun and no water.
Some fish
One of our stopping points

Traveling to the different islands on our own schedule was such a spectacular experience. We foresee many more boating trips in our future here!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A day in Naples, with a visit to the Archealogical Museum

With all of the traveling we've been doing it was nice to have a weekend at home with no plans. Suitcases always seem to be being packed and unpacked, or in some cases not unpacked at all as we make our travels around Europe.

Saturday proved to be a "cooler" day with temperatures only hitting 90 degrees :/ It is hot and humid in Naples over the summer, and for two people who aren't too fond of the heat (plus Maya, who for obvious reasons doesn't take too kindly to the heat) we're trying our best to keep cool.

Trying to keep cool in the shade
We started the day with a trip to the Archealogical Museum in downtown Naples. This museum is among the top museums of ancient art and has an extensive collection of artifacts. The building itself was built in the 16th century as a headquarters for the royal cavalry and then was converted into a university a century later. The century after that it was turned into a museum housing fascinating artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as art from Egyptian and Prehistoric times, Roman mosaics, marble and bronze sculptures, Greek pottery, and gems, coins, and epigraphs.

The side of the museum

Pillars and mosaics from Pompeii
We saw many remarkable sculptures on exhibit, ranging from the size of a finger to the height of a two story house. Though astounding as they were, we found that after a while they started to blend together and look very similar to one another. There were a few that stood out though:

Toro Farnese


We saw many mosaics, art, and tools:

From Pompeii
Jon liked the surgical tools
Beth! A deviled egg plate from Pompeii! ;)
Towards the end of our visit we embarked on "The Secret Room" which houses a collection of erotic finds excavated from Pompeii. Before we even entered the room we could hear the sound of giggling men from around the world echoing in the quiet museum. The following is NSFW:

After the museum we went to our favorite downtown pizza place, Pizzeria Pellone. While the pizzas in the areas surrounding Naples are fantastic there's nothing like a good downtown Naples pizza. The liquid from the sauce and cheese tend to create a very hot and soupy center (in a good way, which is why they use a fork and knife) that you can then pair with the delicious crust... and it only takes 90 seconds in an 800 degree wood burning oven! There are actually regulations in Naples for how to make a pizza in order to protect the original Neapolitan pizza within Italy and worldwide.

And that's just for one person!
After some (not so much needed) gelato, we walked around Piazza Dante, went into the fantastic woodshop of our tutor's boyfriend, and made our way home. There's nothing like going into Napoli for an afternoon and taking advantage of all that is offered.

Port'Alba entrance near Piazza Dante

Friday, July 13, 2012

Montenegro: Kotor & Budva

While in Croatia we decided to take a day trip to Montenegro since it was so close and we had heard great things about it. We hadn't rented a car so we went on a bus excursion for the day which took us to the cities of Kotor and Budva, with a quick lunch stop in the village of Njegusi. After arriving in Montenegro we drove along the almost clover-like shape of the Bay of Kotor, taking in the mountainous scenery and water.

Our next stop was the city of Kotor, which was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. The medieval architecture and various monuments make this city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The small, walled-in coastal town has a maze of narrow streets and marble-like paths to explore. We browsed the boutiques, cooled down with gelato, and took in the amazing scenery just outside the walls of the city.
Outside of Kotor

Random flying broomsticks
Now that's a big clothesline!

Next, we drove to Njegusi in the mountains via the "Serpentine Road", which is a narrow road of twists and turns zigzagging up the mountain. It was very reminiscent of driving on the Amalfi Coast and we're glad that we didn't have to do it! At the top we were given beautiful views of the fjords, mountains, Kotor, the bay, and beyond to the Adriatic Sea.

From the base of the Serpentine Road

We stopped in the very tiny village of Njegusi for a quick lunch and had their specialty: ham and cheese sandwiches.
That's a lot of ham!
Our lunch stop
Hello rooster!
Continuing on, we headed to the city of Budva which is a coastal beach town on the Adriatic Sea. It is a very popular tourist resort and has a lively nightlife. We went inside the walls of the old city and walked around the small squares and narrow streets. The streets reminded us of the streets in Venice or Positano. We wandered around looking at the churches, monuments, and small shops. When we couldn't take anymore heat we rehydrated with a beer, a pina colada, and a nice ice cream sundae :)

After we left Budva, we took the ferry in order to cut across the bay to drive back to Dubrovnik.

It was a long day of travel, but we are glad we went - our day trip to Montenegro provided us with amazing landscapes to gaze at, an insight to a different culture, and a background on the history of these cities and beautiful country.