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Italy 2012: Jacob Pulfer

Blog of Engineering in Italy 2012

I know this isn’t going to be the most interesting thing in the world, but I think that if I am putting in the time to do it for the class I might as well throw this blog up where people can look at it. Even if it’s only my parents. So yeah. Starts outs slow, some reason felt like I needed to comment on people I met on the flight. Also this isn’t everything that happened or everything I thought. Just what I thought was fit to share. I am writing this as I think it.

Ciao

 

Rome 5/10/12

Flew into Italy. Nothing that special. On the flight from Dallas to JFK I sat next to a construction manager that only made Liquified Natural Gas refineries. He talked about building these refineries in Nigeria, India, the Middle East etc. and the difficulties of building such technical plants in third world places and how the states needed to get over the environmental stuff to allow us to build these refineries in the states to bring down the price of this fuel.  Really interesting talking to him. He was extremely rich. The rings he and his Filipina wife had were gigantic. They were on their way to see their daughter who was in film production and shot videos for small service industries around the world.

On the flight from JFK to Fiumicino I sat and talked to a really skinny, almost sickly, about just Italy in general. His English was pretty good, but he could only whisper so quietly that I really didn’t understand him.  He didn’t look so good, but he was really nice.

In order to get from the Airport to Termini I ended up taking a train. Because I was just following what the people in front of me did, I ended up on the wrong train. I kinda thought so because this train was really graffitied up and in not so good of shape to be the premiere train to take tourists about to spend all their money to the center of Rome. So I rode it for an hour, decided it was not right and got off the train and got on the one directly back, found the correct train, which was very clean and nice looking and found Termini.

Took a taxi from Termini Station to the hotel which is a relatively short drive.  The taxi driver drove so insanely fast and recklessly, by crossing the median, cutting people off, that I am not confident that I have the capacity to drive in Rome.  In addition, he didn’t show me where the hotel is so I walked around for a half hour trying to figure out the housing situation in Rome.

The buildings and neighborhood set-up in Rome is completely different than anything I have experienced.  The shops ring the bottoms of most of the buildings. Each shops space is like 25’ wide and goes back anywhere from 40’ to 60’. Some shops have multiple of these spaces together to make a bigger space but most are the small size.  These shops are lined up like sardines with barely any sort of advertisement on the outside.  The outsides of the shops all look the shabby same but the insides are usually completely decked out.  The apartments are all upstairs.  You get to these by big heavy doors in the place of a store that have stairs that lead into a center atrium that is usually open to the outside and has stairs to the upstairs apartment. Some centers are big enough for vehicles to fit inside because it is unwise to park too long in the street.  Our hotel was through one of those big heavy doors and way up the stairs which was why I had such trouble trying to find it.  Eventually I found Professor Erdogmus walking with some students who showed me the way.

After I unpacked I just wandered around just to get my bearings and to move after the flight.  The city is hectic; I don’t know how else to say it. More so than New York from my experience, but it is really interesting. The middle of it is just scattered with preserved ruins that are mostly all free to take a look at.  So I walked into a couple huge renaissance churches and looked at the arches and ceilings and took a look at the Pantheon which was a minute walk from our hotel.

 

Rome 5/11/12

First we walked to the Colosseum. One of the most impressive things I have ever seen.  The scale of it is just not appreciable from textbooks or pictures.  It is huge.  It would have been something to see this back in 80 AD when this was completed.  It is a marvel that the engineers they had could really complete such a monumental project so long ago.  The arena is smaller than a normal football field’s arena, but the stands are much steeper and taller.

After the Colosseum, we walked by the Arch of Constantine, the emperor that converted the Romans to Christianity, and into the ruins of Palatine Hill the Roman Forum.  Seeing the foundations and the few remaining pillars of these temples and buildings was impressive, but there wasn’t enough there to really visualize what the place was like.  All you can gather was that it was a very imposing and busy place.  Still, it was very interesting to stand on the hill that Rome was founded on and think about all the history that has taken places around you, millenias of history, not just centuries.  And  to think that history actually influenced the world around you today is mind numbing.

Today I learned a lot of truths about Rome. 1. There are no new looking buildings in Rome. They reuse the old and endlessly renovate the insides and leave the outside. Never judge a building by the exterior. 2. The people here are major big city people. Just don’t care about anything that is happening around them. They will walk in front of people, cars, pictures, doesn’t matter. 3. The Italian food here is not the Italian food we know in the states. Last night I got a pizza with salami, ham, and olives. I received a cheese pizza with 2 slices of salami and ham on stop and some olives thrown on top.  It was really good, but it was not a normal pizza. The toppings were super salty and strong tasting. I don’t know if the lack of typical strong refrigeration requires them to preserve the food more or what. This meal was typical of the other meals I got. 4. They sell alcohol everywhere. Coffee shops, gelato shops, most anywhere with food.

 

Rome 5/12/12

We started the day by walking to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.  The churches and buildings I had seen before this could not have prepared me for the sheer size of the church.  It is astounding. Every square inch of it is covered in ornamentation. I believe that no paint was used in the interior. All of the pictures are actually extremely detailed mosaics and the gold is gold leaf.  In the middle of the floor there are some plaques set into the ground that show the size of the other biggest churches and St. Peter’s just destroys them.  It’s taller, wider, longer, more decorated than any other church built. The statues were pretty interesting to look at, but there were lots of preserved dead popes in glass coffins that you could see which were kinda weird.

After St. Peter’s, we went to the Vatican Museum.  The museum is full of marble statues, paintings, and other small things.  The highlights were seeing the marble statue depictions of the Roman gods; the statue of Athena looked precisely like the character off Disney’s Hercules. There was an Egyptian exhibit that was a nice change from the endless Roman statues; they had a mummy in a sarcophagus.  The frescoes done by Raphael were extremely interesting and intricate.  Looking at the meanings and the characters that he put in them was fascinating. Then of course there was the Sistine chapel frescoes done by Michelangelo. The creation of Adam picture was dead center of the ceiling and looks as good as they are portrayed.  There were a lot of things that were super interesting in the Vatican museum, but there were just so many people.  We literally walked through the whole museum with no room to move. It was really not fun.  I am glad I did it once, but I probably couldn’t do it again.

Finally we went up to Castel Sant’angelo. The view from the top of the castle was pretty gorgeous. On one side you have Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica, and the other you have the Pantheon, Wedding Cake (Monument of Victor Emmanuel), the forums and the hills, and just too many big domes to count.  Just an impressive view.

Favorite small painter: Pensionante Del Saraceni

 

Rome 5/13/12

The first place we went was the Pantheon.  All of us had already gone through it, but we needed to look at it as a class and talk about it.  In my opinion, it is the most structurally impressive building we have seen and probably will see. It was the largest free standing concrete dome in the world for over a thousand years, and everyone is not really sure how they did it.  It is one of the oldest still-standing buildings in Rome.  They still even have the original giant doors, even though the pediment was melted down for some war.

After the Pantheon, we walked over to a couple different piazzas including Campo de Fiori, field of flowers, and the Piazza Navona with the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, the fountain of the four rivers.  Both are just big wide open plazas full of shops and street vendors.  Campo de Fiori actually has a very big market in it during the day, and at night, any different restaurants and bars.

After the plazas we walked over to Trevi Fountain and to the Spanish Steps. Both are pretty cool to look at, but both are major tourist traps. There were enough people that I had trouble enjoying both.

The last place we went was over to the Piazza del Popolo. Fairly big plaza with a big obelisk from Circus Maximus.  The interesting part about it was it is in a major shopping district.  Seeing those expensive, but only heard about, brands was interesting although it doesn’t deal with me.

Later that day, because I thought I hadn’t walked enough I guess, I decided to go on a run. I decided I would walk the half mile to the Teberes River because it would be too difficult to run through the traffic and people, and then run north up the river on the paved running/biking trail 15 mins and turn around.  Well as I started running, it turned more into a tempo run than a jog and 15 turned to 25 and it was a tough run.  I got to really observe some interesting things though.  First, there was a ton of graffiti.  Second, lots and lots of bikes, no real runners. Third, no one except the people from the states would wave back. Fourth, saw two guys on a pink tandem bike.  Fifth, ran by a street vendor taking a piss right on the running trail. Explains where some of the smell comes from.  The street vendors really are just the scumbags of the city. All in all, I thought it was really worth my time though.

 

Rome 5/14/12

Started the day with a scavenger hunt. My team was Kyle, Nate, and Alex and our goal was to run the whole way. Our route was Piazza Navona to Sopra Minerva to Area Sacro de Lago Argentino to Trajan’s Column to the Colosseum to the Pantheon. We ended up winning the race by quite a bit. After that we went to Campo de Fiori in order to get lunch. Mostly we got some really good fruit and a panini. The fruit in italy is good everywhere we go it seems. It’s all really ripe and really sweet. I guess it doesn’t need to be transported as far. After Fiori, most of the people went back to St. Peter’s to climb the dome and buy some souvenirs, but I hung back to mail some postcards and go check out this big park by Piazza del Popolo. It had some great views of Rome and was a pretty nice park. Ended up just sunbathing and taking a nap for a while. I was hoping to find people running, but I didn’t see that. On the way back I tried to take the straightest way back to the hotel along some random side streets and it worked. Just crazy how just a couple days ago I couldn’t even find my hotel when I had an address for it, but now I can just take random streets that I have no idea where they go and just hit the area perfect. Navigating around central Rome is really fun, but it takes some getting used to. You can find some really awesome random areas anywhere. There seems to be no plan, so anything could be around the corner.

 

Rome 5/15/12

Today we went to go check out the University of Rome and listen to a couple presentations of research that they are involved in.  I took a lot of notes because it was actually pretty interesting, but it’s not really worth writing in this blog thing.  Mostly I want to talk about is the similarities and differences they have with us.  First off, their tuition is only like 2000 euro ($2700) a year, so they have 145,000 students.  That is insane.  As a result a lot of students skip class or just don’t care. The way she described it made it sound like the US too, but I don’t know if it is better or worse than really. The other thing is we took a subway to the main campus (we were in the engineering building) to check that out, and there were people hanging out around campus everywhere, mostly just sitting in groups and chilling.

So the other big thing we did today was go to the supermarket for food.  One of the best ideas we have had.  It is so much cheaper and really it is so much better usually.  Bread is usually less than a euro, cheese and meat for 2 euros, and you are set for a couple meals.  The cheese and sausages they have are amazing.  They have great fresh mozzarella and great salami that goes great on bread.  The fruit is also good, dang everything is pretty good.

 

Rome => Florence 5/16/12

Took a cab to Termini. Waited for like 2 hours for a group that got dropped at the wrong side of the station.  We thought they were lost in Rome somewhere which would be very bad.  Because of that we ended up taking the fast train to Florence. Sheldon would be proud. Very comfortable seats, substantial seat back trays. The seats actually slid forward in order to lean back so they weren’t in the way of the person behind you. Automatic glass sliding door between cars. Just really modern and kinda feels shocking after being in Rome.

The country is just gorgeous and really looks like nothing I’ve seen in the states. It’s really quite hilly, but it’s different than Nebraska hilly. The hills are more random and jagged. Usually in Nebraska the hills are sloping and you can see the patterns of high and low points. Here is just sporadic, and covered with assortments of green fields and vineyards and trees. Part of the reason is that a lot of the hills are just giant blocks of marble and limestone. Explains all the giant marble and limestone buildings. The historic looking towns are all built on top of the tallest steepest hills which looks so inconvenient but makes them all the more alluring. There are also a lot of estates just pushed back on the hills all by themselves. That would be an amazing place to live.

Also I don’t think I have commented on the weather yet. It’s been phenomenal so far. I think it has been like 70’s to 80’s every day and 50’s to 60’s every night. Perfectly clear skies so no rain yet, but it will probably come soon enough. Basically has been not too cold and not too hot.

As soon as we found our hotel in Florence we were on the move. The first place we saw was the Galileo Museum. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. I want to go back for my free day. So this museum is a science museum, lots of displays that you can play with to help your understanding of how things work. Those were so helpful and interesting that it finally explained how a mechanical clock’s gear work. Something I never knew but always wondered about. It’s just a pendulum that lets a gear turn only after a specific amount of time. More amazing yet, were the Medici family’s science trinkets/furniture. They were the money that fueled the Renaissance; they saw the patronage of scientists and artists as a way to gain more popularity and power, so they dumped enormous amounts of money into the creation of beautiful contraptions that illustrated newly discovered scientific principles. Huge assortments of intricately inscribed surveying equipment, Galileo’s instruments, water thermometers, incline planes with balls that rolled down them that rang bells at gradually increasing intervals that showed that acceleration due to gravity increases as a square, spark tubes, electrodes, chemical lab equipment, and so many more just crazy contraptions. The most amazing thing they had was a gigantic Ptolemaic solar system that spun all of the planets, sun, and moon at the right rate around the earth using gears. Just amazing that you could think up the processes that would make that work correctly and then to actually go ahead and build it is mind numbing. Why is no one that innovative anymore? They did so much with only gears and pulleys that we can hardly comprehend. Just amazing.

Then we climbed to the top of the dome of Santa Maria Del Fiore. Its a long, twisty, windy corridors and spiral staircase sorta climb. Makes you think of all of the other secret ways through the walls they could have done. It was a fun climb and an amazing view from the top of the Duomo. The Santa Maria Del Fiore just dwarfs all other buildings in the area, nothing is even close to the size and height. After reading Brunelleschi’s Dome which is a book about the building of the dome, it was even more impressive. Took the panoramas for my cover photo up there.

I know this is a long post, but I need to mention something else. Our hotel has the craziest view of the Santa Maria Del Fiore. The top floor of the hotel is just a terrace where you can just sit and stare at the dome at about the height of the church. Great hotel.

 

Florence 5/17/12

On our first real day in Florence (or Firenze for Italians) we started by climbing up to the Piazza de Michelangelo. It’s just a big plaza on one of the hills surrounding Florence and also has a fantastic view of the city and especially Santa Maria (also called the Duomo; every major city has a Duomo which is the biggest dome in the city). We ended up climbing the slant, slanted stairs, and stairs 3 times at morning sunset, and at night to get pictures of the view.

After a lot of pictures we headed down to Santa Croce which is a big church where the tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo are located. It is also an interesting church because it lacks a vaulted ceiling and has decorated wooden trusses. Then we walked to Santa Maria Novela which is a Dominican style church and then over to San  Lorenzo which was originally designed by Brunelleschi for the Medici family.

Each church had some really unique elements that made it stand out. Unique style, ornamentation, layout, presentation. It was interesting to see that here there are admittance fees for everything. There are no free churches to visit. Florence as a whole is a lot different than Rome. The streets are wider, there is less traffic. Much more tourist friendly.

Side note: saw an orange lambo that was being followed by a big bentley at like 1 in the morning by the Old Bridge. Terrible roads for cars like that

 

Firenze 5/18/12

Saw three museums in Florence today. The first one was relatively close to the hotel. Highlights of each:
In Bargello we got to see Donatello’s David. Really detailed and interesting bronze statue. Also there were some really small and intricately carved ivory combs, figures, horns, etc.. And then lots of old jewelry which was a first so far.

In Academia most interesting museum of the day. There was a musical instrument section that was really cool. They had a bunch of old harpsicords, a model of the first piano, some old horns, and a Stradivarius that you know has to be worth about a million. Then there was the gigantic marble Michelangelo’s David. I didn’t realize it was so big, but it really is a beautiful statue and a masterpiece. After seeings thousands and thousands of statues (I’m not lying), it still stands out. That’s saying something. The veins in the elbow of his arm were even visible.

The last museum was Uffizi. It held a lot more paintings and sculptures. To be honest by this time I was too exhausted to pay too much attention at this point.

We ended up going to Santa Maria Del Fiore to check out the inside and not just the dome. It is a pretty impressive church, bigger than you expect. It is a very large, simple church. It showed the wooden truss ceiling and was not vaulted.

 

Firenze 5/19/12

The last day in Florence was a free day. A lot of people decided to go hike at Cinque Terra, but I stayed back with a couple people to shop a bit and journal. First we woke up and went for a shirtless run along the river. Got some pretty nice looks, I guess people don’t really do that here, oh well. We ended up sunbathing by the river for a while before heading back. After that we went to this church that was also a leather school and shop and bought some souvenirs for people. If we were there during the week they would have monogrammed them for us for free, but we were leaving the next day so that didn’t happen.

That night the European Championship was playing, so we asked the waiter at dinner where we should go watch it. He directed us to a little Irish pub called Dublin. He was also the first waiter to act like an American waiter where you ask about how everything is and offer extra stuff. He gave us ice to go with our drink which was a big deal for us. Nothing here is iced down at all, this was our first ice in forever. But anyway, later we went to Dublin to watch Chelsea play Bayrum. Pretty damn good game. We sat in the back of the pub with a couple of guys from Amsterdam. So we were in Florence, Italy in an Irish pub with a couple Dutch guys watching Germany play England. Cultural experience.

I gotta say I loved Firenze. It was so much fun. There were so many great views, and great churches, and lots great history. The Reinassance was centered here, and you could tell. It was also much less hectic than Rome but just as twisty and mysteriously alluring as Rome. In addition, the city center was so small and everything was so close together, it made the nightlife a blast. It’ll be hard for a city to top Florence.

 

Florence => Milan 15/20/12

We took a fast train to Milan. Pretty uneventful. The random mountains just amaze me still. Especially because every once in a while you see a quarry in one and it is just straight white marble and limestone.

We found the hostel in Milan, and it’s actually a really nice place. It has great wifi, lockers for our stuff, rooms of 6, and kitchen that we took full advantage of.

After we got settled we walked to the Duomo of Milan in the rain which kinda sucked, but was easy enough to deal with. The Duomo is a French Gothic cathedral, and it was gorgeous. Since it was French Gothic and not Italian we got to see our first flying buttresses. Every part of the marble exterior was carved in intricate floral patterns and thousands of marble statues. But that was all a set up for the interior. Inside, the aisle was so tall that it appeared that a cloud had formed at the top from all the moisture outside. The ceiling was held up by huge simply carved stone columns that made you feel like you were walking amoung gigantic trees. The walls were just as plain, just simple pattern carvings except for huge panels of stained glass. The Duomo holds the largest organ in the world and when you looked in the back you could see at least 6 different sets of organ pipes; I would have loved to hear that organ played to see if it could possibly fill that cathedral. The advantage this cathedral has over all the other cathedrals is that built over several hundred years and is technically still being finished (there are few marble statues on the exterior that still needed carved). Definitely one of my favorite cathedrals so far.
After the Duomo we went a Leonardo Da Vinci museum. Got to see the sketch for the most famous of Rapheal’s frescoes in the Vatican museum. At the end of the museum they had displays of Da Vinci’s sketches on the flight of birds and his work on human flying machines. The details of his sketches and his understanding of tension, gears, and just overall physics is amazing.

That night we went looking for some bars that had an all you can eat buffet. We couldn’t find them so we stopped at another Irish pub for some burgers because it had been a while. Turns out there was the Italian Football Championship that night, so we ended up watching another game in an Irish pub. It was Napole vs. Juvares. Naples won 2-0.
It rained all day.

 

Milan => Venice => Milan 5/21/12

We woke up early and made a group breakfast with like 8 guys of eggs and toast. Only like 3 euro each and it was so good. Eggs just are not a breakfast food here. Plan on doing it tomorrow.

So the majority of the people decided to go to Venice for their free day as was recommended. Took a 9:35 fast train to Venice. Get there, and its raining and continues raining all day. First thing we do is try to find Saint Mark’s basilica by just winging it. That’s just impossible. Venice is just a crazy, insane, yet beautiful maze. And I thought Rome was confusing. Venice is filled with people; the rain did not change that. Just made walking through the tiny alleyways with umbrellas more of a problem. Eventually we found the place using the signs on the buildings. St. Marks is unlike all churches we have seen. It is covered from top to bottom with gold mosaics. Very interesting to look at and walk around. The other thing we really noticed was the floor was sinking in places and some columns and arces have moved. Kinda scary when you think about this church being held up over the water by wooden piles. As soon as we left the church it really started to pour so we decided to take the public trransport barges to get back than try to navigate our way back through the city. Great idea actually. It allowed us to really look at Venice and the way of life there. The waterways are really the only way to get around because the city is such a maze which is part of it’s allure. Anyway we were totally soaked by the end and happy to be heading back. I spent a lot of money, but it was worth it and I got some good pictures.

 

Milan 5/22/12

Free day again so we slept in and made eggs as a group for a second time. Bought 30 eggs this time for 9 people. 2 euros each. I got some blogging and laundry done. Pretty slow morning then we went to the Milano museum. Very cool museum, but we got kicked out after an hour and a half because it was closing early on a Monday. Really a disappointment, I would have loved to stay because I was basically only starting after all that time. It was really interesting. Since we got out early we found a happy hour buffet as a group. Kinda got lost on the way back, but we made it.

Milan was my least favorite city so far. It was so sprawled out compared to Florence and Rome that we had to take subways to get anywhere. It was just annoying. In addition, it just wasn’t the place for college students it seemed. It was just a quieter, more laid back city as a whole. It was by far the most modern looking city of the three with the widest streets and the newest looking buildings, but it almost didn’t feel like Italy. Just more of a place to live than to visit. The Duomo was one of the most impressive buildings we have seen though.

 

Milan => Ravenna 5/23/12

We took a private coach from Milan to Ravenna. Tiny little coach that fits us 21 with only a few extra seats. Slept the whole way. Got to Ravenna feeling pretty good. Found our hotel, 3 stars, probably the nicest yet, but has terrible wifi. Went touring. First we saw the real tomb of Dante. Really small and simple, but I liked it. Gave my presentation on Dante and thought I did terribly, left out a lot of information I had written down but people said they liked it so whatever. Then we went to Saint Apollinare. Really old church with interesting features. Odd mix of styles. Really liked it. Then we went to San Vitale and I loved it. Octagonal church which is a first for the trip. Its really old. Has great mosaics and marble work. Symmetrical marble facades: they cut 4 thin slices of marble next to each other and then arranged them so they matched symmetrically. Pretty cool. The dome was beautifully painted, just a great interior overall. Outside there were enormous brick flying butresses that I was told do absolutely nothing. That night we ate a kabob place that gave us student discounts on some wraps. Sorry to say that that middle eastern food was probably my favorite food I have eaten on the trip. After that, we wandered around. Found some ruined castle walls that surrounded a park. Nice idea to allow those to still be used.

 

Ravenna => Pisa => San Gimignano 5/24/12

The road from Ravenna to Pisa is great. Remember the ragged mountain/hills? Yeah, they build a 4 lane straight through them. They blasted the crap out of those hills to build countless tunnels and then built bridges to span between the tunnels. That’s an engineering feat. The views were just as spectacular. I think what really makes this different from other mountanous regions I have seen are the houses. The hills are randomly populated. Just pockets of 10 to 20 houses are everywhere.

To get to the Pisa area you need to park away and take a shuttle. The parking place was crawling with street vendors. 3 crowded the doors before we got off. So we get to Pisa and there are tons of people, but because it is a gigantic campus it really is not that bad. It is sad to see the number of people posing for the “leaning against the tower” picture. The tower is leaning much more than you expect. It’s a little scary yet quite impressive that it’s still together. We got to climb it and the tilt was quite disorienting. It had a great view though. Then we look at Pisa Duomo. Impressive size as always, but had a mix of different styles that made it interesting. Then there was the baptistry. It is a circular structure capped with a cone shaped dome, so the acoustics reverberate like crazy. Guy came out to sing in order to show us. The campus as a whole was gorgeous. Huge green lawns with giant white buildings and can handle large amounts of tourists. Makes sense why it’s a must see for tourists in Italy.

So we left Pisa eventually and headed for san Gimignano. Small medieval town on top of a hill in Tuscany. The town helps you understand what medieval Italy looked like. Wandering the streets was so much fun, was almost like going through time. We eventually found some old ruined walls that had a corver lookout so we hung out there till late. Great view of Tuscany.

 

San Gimignano => Paestum 5/25/12

Started the day by going shopping amoung the numerous wine shops. Then we climbed the only tower open to the public. All the others are owned privately. More gorgeous views. Then we took an 8 hour bus ride to Paestum and to a little bed and breakfast like thing in the country. The majority of all the food they serve was grown on this farm, and it was great food actually. We got to try water buffalo mozzerela from the original mozzerela recipe. Then we went swimming. The landscaping at this house was great. I love the mediterranian style plants. Short post, but not much happened.

 

Paestum => Pompeii => Paestum 5/26/12

Before we left in the morning, we got some breakfast. Great food again from the same place. The butter and cheese they had out was so good. Then we traveled for a couple hours to get to Pompeii. Pretty interesting place. The ash really helped preserve a lot of things that you would have expected to wear away with time. The whole city is pretty clear and you walk into the walled areas of old shops, restaurants, and houses. Pretty crowded, but worth seeing.

After Pompeii we headed back to Paestum and got to look at the oldest structures on the trip for our last excursion of the trip. The 3 temples of Paestum. They are old Greek temples dating from about 550 to 450 BC. The ceilings on all 3 are gone, but the walls are still there. I have never seen anything quite like it, and they were quite impressive.

Then we went back to relax by the pool. Turned into a pretty intense arena water polo session. Ate some more great italian food. Told some group stories by the pool and turned it in for the night.

 

Paestum => Rome 5/27/12

Ate some more awesome breakfast at the farm place. Then left for Rome. The hotel we are staying at is the same one we stayed in for our first 6 nights or so in Rome. Really brings back some great memories of the trip. We made sure we went out as a group to the first restaurant we ate at in Rome when we didn’t know each other just to bring everything full circle. It was a great trip.

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