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When my folks came to visit, we decided to take to trip to see Mt. Vesuvius. It sounds pretty cool to see the crater of one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, right? I was the tour guide and did my bit of research on the volcano. I found the official website:

(http://www.vesuviopark.it/pnv/home/index.asp

It even included a slick brochure in English:

http://www.vesuviopark.it/pnv/home/download/brochure_ENG.pdf

The brochure talked about nature trails, agriculture, etc., etc. It all sounded good so off we went. It was a wild goose chase finding the correct entrance to get to the crater. It was the not so unusual Italian style drive-around with a stop at a bar to ask people if they know where the entrance is. I was getting tired as was everyone else but I have a stubborn streak and gave it one more try. We did indeed find the way up to the crater but it was getting late by this time. The road close to the summit was full of buses. We could see some type of trail with people walking up to see the crater but we decided not to do it. My Dad is really not into strenuous exercise that results in looking at a hole with rocks in it. (Somehow it’s not worth it to him.)

A few weekends after the folks had returned to the U.S., I proposed to Luca that we go back to Vesuvius to see the crater and perhaps check out a nature trail. Fortunately, this time we go directly there. It was so disappointing. When arrived at the parking lot, I thought somehow we had been transported to Morocco. Was this seriously a national park? Shame on you, Italian government! There were a few vendors selling $#@# (not even “I love Mt. Vesuvius” t-shirts) but real #$@ items. One vendor was charging for use of his porta-pottie because there weren’t even any public toilets!

We were charged €2,50 for parking in the dusty, pitted parking lot. There was a long line tourists each dolling out their €8,00 per person to hike up a trail to the crater. We were totally deflated. I suddenly began to think like my father; it just wasn’t worth it.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Every single entrance to the nature trails were blocked and locked! Why would these trails be closed on a beautiful day in early May? It is such a waste of what could be a beautiful nature park. I give this tourist attraction a BIG THUMBS DOWN. Don’t waste your time.

This is the ticket office – Lovely, isn’t it?

You can see the crater in the background and the some people hiking up

At least we saw a nice view of the Gulf of Naples

Here are some photos from the first trip up to Vesuvius with my folks.

The boys on an old lava flow.

You can see that you drive within the original caldera…where I believe Vesuvius really blew its top in the AD 79 eruption. After this, another cone formed from subsequent eruptions.

The cone within the caldera; it last erupted in 1944.


Salerno boasts its very own castle. While this may seem like a big deal in the U.S., it is almost ho hum in Italy where there seems to be one on every hilltop. However, Castello di Arechi has been nicely restored and features a wonderful panorama. It’s close to the city center and doesn’t take long to tour but it is definitely well worth seeing.

Here is a Wikipedia entry about the castle. It is in Italian but I can summary a few points. It is a medieval castle 300 meters above sea level overlooking the Gulf of Salerno. It is called Arechi because it is normally associated with the Longobard Duke, Arechi II.

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castello_di_Arechi

Here is a link to the Castle’s rather annoying website:

http://www.ilcastellodiarechi.it/1024_768.php

View of the castle as you approach from the street and parking lot.

Rear view of the castle. There are also a few hiking trails on the castle grounds.

View of Salerno

Here are some actors practicing for a performance….I think it was something of Dante’s. They often use the castle for theater and musical performances. The castle is beautifully illuminated at night. You can see it way up on the hill from the city center.


Wow. It has been a month since I last posted. We have been busier than usual. My folks came and we had a good time visiting places. It was their second year visiting and we still found different places to go. It really is a good location for a tourist. I’ll get organized and post some info and photos of the places we went.

To get back into blogging again, I thought I would put together this quick post. Today I was particularly proud of my messy Up Do and just had to post a photo.

I want to give credit for my hair inspiration to this lovely lady’s blog http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/. She has great hair tutorials. Yes, now that I’ve grown longer hair, I’ve been rather obsessed with doing things with it other than the mom tail. I ran across this blog on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/ which I think is the coolest thing since sliced bread. A social media app that is actually useful! (Unlike others, say like Twitter. I just don’t get the fascination with Twitter. Do we really need more up to the minute information on people?)

Buona Giornata e Ciao tutti!