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Naples. Climbing Mount Vesuvius

Sergey Dolya • 7 minutes read • April 11th, 2016


is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Mankind remembers its more than 80 eruptions, the most famous of which occurred in 79 AD and destroyed Pompeii. During my previous visit to


, I went to the excavations of Pompeii, and this time I climbed Vesuvius and looked into its crater...

Initially, before arriving in Naples, the plan was completely different. We had to go to the island of Capri, "along the Maxim Gorky's places." However, we missed the ferry boat and decided to go on the sightseeing tour around the homeland of Pizza and Camorra on a double-decker bus:

The number of antennas at some houses reminded of Ukraine:

We drove around the entire historical center for 40 minutes, and we were faced with a dilemma: "What is our next step?". We wandered to the main square of Naples, which hosted the rehearsal of the police parade scheduled for Sunday:

Nearby there was an exhibition of police vehicles. It looks very limited compared with what I saw in a couple of days in Rome. Tell me please, have you ever seen a police Lamborghini (I'll show you a picture in the next article)? What for do they need it?

We decided not to waste time in Naples and arranged with the taxi driver about the tour to

Mount Vesuvius

and Sorrento for 250 Euro. We got less elegant and sly driver than in Palermo, but he also chatted incessantly and constantly pat my leg.
Guides all over the world use the same technology to make extra money. If the guide offers you to go to any store, you should know - tomorrow he will come here again, and the owner of the store will give him 20% of the amount of your purchase (the percentage can vary). There are even specific factory shops. For example, your program will contain something like "visiting the carpet manufacturing factory", but in reality you will be shown some worthless weaver imitating a storm of activity, and then you'll be flogged his products.
Our taxi driver didn't became an exception, and on the way to Vesuvius he stopped at the factory-store producing the stones. Like everywhere else, first we were presented the only one stone carving's master in the world:

Then, instead of the tour, they put us on the floor and showed a five-minute film about how beautiful creations of our master's hand are created out of rough stone:

And then they took us to a spacious lounge with a large number of stones, where we quickly thanked the sellers and went  to the taxi driver waiting us on the street:

The height of Mount Vesuvius is 1281 meter, and you can get on car almost to the very top. But the last few meters must be overcome on foot. I was fortunate that my younger son fell asleep on a mountain lacet, because I wouldn't be able to get to the top with him. I left him with my wife in a taxi and together with my elder son and a backpack with photographic equipment behind went up the dusty road:

The way up should take 20 minutes, but I hardly met the half hour. One turn was replaced by another. The dust not only caked the shoes, but also hampered the breathing:

Souvenir shop waited for us at the top:

I saw several craters, but this one was the most interesting. There was no lake, like in Iceland or even a simple swamp like on Easter Island. It was just a plain cauldron strewn with volcanic rubble:

You can walk around it along the narrow path:

The view from the top also can't be named mind blowing, so I should not drag my telephoto:

Walking up and down took us exactly one hour. When we returned to the taxi, my little son already awake and was throwing stones down a cliff. By this time we already got pretty hungry and asked our cab to recommend a restaurant. Naturally, that the nearest decent restaurant turned out to be in an hour's drive from here in Sorrento - a small town, on the opposite side of the bay of Naples:

Our taxi driver was an expert in restaurants and took us to the inconspicuous place hidden in the shade of a small hotel. If the souvenir shops give the guides part of the proceeds, in restaurants they are fed for free, so they try to take you to the best restaurant. It was so in Palermo, and it happened so in Sorrento. Remembering our cruise and making a hit list of restaurants we visited, I would give the first place to this place.
We were the only visitors in the restaurant, and all the attention of the owner and the rest of the staff was focused on us:

We were invited into the kitchen and shown the oven, where pizza was baked:

On the way back our adventurous cab driver stopped in another ghost souvenir shop. There were no visitors, and only two dogs were lazily chilling under the sluggish air conditioner:

In the narrow streets of Sorrento we drove past a makeshift vegetable stall, arranged directly on the wall of a building:

I was amazed by the size of the local lemons. When I cut it in half, it turned out that that lemon had a normal size. It just was wrapped in a thick rind:
Author: Sergeydolya

Translated by: Gian Luka

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