I traveled to Italy by way of an overnight ferry from Patras Greece. I had heard horror stories about miserable, overcrowded ferries between Greece and Italy, but, probably because it was December, the ferry was almost empty. It was a comfortable, boring trip. The ferry docked in the port of Treiste at 9:00 in the morning. Passport Control was a breeze; while I was reaching for my passport the official looked at me, inquired "American?", and when I said yes he waved me on. For people who look like typical American tourists, the only challenge with entry is getting a passport stamp as a souvenir. From the port I headed straight for the train station, caught the 1107 train to Naples, and arrived at 5:30 in the afternoon. I got a bed in Pension Mancini for 28,000 lira the first night and 32,000 lira the following nights. It was December fifth, and December sixth is considered the beginning of the Christmas season, which justified a rate increase. I couldn't afford to argue this point; I only got a bed in this place because they put a fifth bed in a four bed room. Anyway, at a little over 2000 lira to the dollar, 32,000 lira equated to approximately fifteen dollars. Also, Pension Mancini was within walking distance of the interesting parts of Naples and close to the train station, which was useful for reaching Pompeii and Herculaneum. The downside is the area around the train station has a lot of prostitutes at night. Like most streetwalkers, these were unattractive, unhealthy looking women (and some scary looking transvestites), but so long as I kept moving and avoided eye contact they left me alone.
My primary motive for visiting this part of Italy was to see Pompeii. Every since I first heard of it I've wanted the opportunity to see a town frozen in time almost two thousand years ago.
Of course since I was in the neighborhood I also had to see Herculaneum, a smaller town in a similar predicament.
A few days in Naples was enough to see the city, Pompeii, and Herculaneum. On a Friday morning I caught a fast train to my next stop, Rome.
Inside the boundaries of Rome is the Vatican, which, in addition to its obvious religious significance, has an incredible collection of Italian antiquities and Renaissance art.
I was in Rome for a week, Friday to Friday, snapping lots of pictures. When I headed out on 15 December I could feel I was coming down with something. Bad timing, I was heading to a beautiful city where I would feel awful.
I took some pictures in Italy that I decided to put in a password protected section. Not because they are erotic, or not very erotic. My copy of Webster's defines erotic as "Of or promoting sexual desire." I think the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine is more erotic than these pictures. I decided to password protect this section because a). they might cause children to ask parents some awkward questions, and b). I wanted to see if I could do it.
If you are ambitious and devious and want to see if you can break my password protection; forget it, you can't. That's because I have password protection; I couldn't figure out how to do it on my own. Instead I used Earthlink's password protection option. Now if you can break Earthlink's protection you may have a future as an e-criminal.
I only stayed a few days in Florence before taking a train to Paris. I wanted to get there in the middle of the week and try to get a place to stay through the Christmas holidays.