Friday, August 06, 2004

Greeks, Romans, Italians!

Tuesday morning we were up, breakfasted, and on the road early, with Shana at the wheel for a couple of hours. We passed by Rome and then Naples before leaving the autostrada in the afternoon for a detour to the archaeological site of Paestum, just south of Salerno on the Amalfi Coast. It turned out to be a *fabulous* place with much more than we had expected to see. There was a very large site with three incredibly well-preserved Greek temples--all very different. We spent a couple of hours walking through the site, which also included the ruins of a Roman settlement on top of the Greeks (ampitheaters, baths, mosaics, houses, roads, pools, etc.). It was sunny and a bit hot, but we could feel a cool breeze off the sea. We took LOTS of photos. Afterwards, we spent at least another hour or so in the adjoining museum, which had incredible artifacts from the site. We had never seen such a collection of perfectly preserved and displayed Greek pottery. The designs, mostly pictures of people in various activities, were wonderful. But probably the MOST interesting and unusual display was the painted interior walls of tombs that had been discovered nearby, taken apart, and put on display. One particular painting I had just seen in a special issue about the ancient world in Newsweek just weeks ago. Take a look at this site for more information:

We had a cool drink before leaving and decided to drive down the highway and find a place when it began to get dark. With so many hotels around us, that seemed like an easy prospect. However, the landscape became more mountainous, rugged, and wild. We hardly saw any towns, but just forests and valleys miles below us. We seemed to be driving along the cliffs. Eventually is was near dark and we ventured off the highway at the exit for the town of Lauria. We began to go down, down, down a two-lane highway that supposedly led to the town we couldn't even see yet. It seemed like 15 miles, but it was only five in reality. When we got there, it was a one-road town with switchbacks. We had seen a sign for a "Hotel Rosa" but couldn't find it. Being females, we did not mind asking for directions, so we pulled into the only gas station we saw and they immediately directed us to it, just around the corner really. It was a more of a "Ma and Pa" establishment, and the woman did not speak any English. But, we managed to get a room (and then a quieter room) and directions for supper. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner for two at the cost of only 20 Euros total and turned in for the night. We felt that we had fallen into "The Land before Time" but fell quickly to sleep in the cool night.


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