Our ship the MS Ryndam reached the Italian port of Naples on Friday, October 25. In the distance we saw the only active volcano on Continental Europe (all others in the region are island volcanos) — the deadly 3,900-foot tall (1,100 meter) Vesuvius that in 79 A.D. wiped out the Roman population centers of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and which today still threatens the millions living in its shadow.
Oddly enough, just the night before our ship had transited by the active Stromboli volcano. The island volcano of Stromboli has been almost continuously puffing out small clouds of smoke and showers of glowing lava for the last 20,000 years, and I presented some daytime shots of this wonder several years ago. But this time we were treated to nighttime visuals of bright red fountains of lava arcing high above two vents and cascading several hundred feet down the slopes of Stromboli. These brief but spectacular eruptions seemed to occur every five to ten minutes for the entire time we parked. Alas, I did not have with me a DSLR capable of capturing the action.
On this trip, however, we were not interested in visiting the ruins of Pompeii or Herculaneum. We also were not going to put up with that notorious Naples pastime — the infamous Vespa drive-by snatch-and-grab (watches, necklaces, and cameras are a particular favorite). Note to local authorities: You want more tourists spending dollars at your businesses? Get the thieves under control or we simply choose to take our spending elsewhere and your cafés will look like this:
But before I get started on what we did do, let me post the following for our good friend and cat-sitting neighbor Randi Brewer. Enjoy this shot of an original 500, Randi:
Instead of the Naples scene we went on a lovely tour of the Amalfi Coast, which took us to three wonderful communities. This tour was put together by one of the members of our Cruise Critic group this trip — Brenda Redmond. Great job, Brenda.
Our first foot-soirée beyond Naples was along the old streets of Sorrento.
The second hike was in the beautiful seaside resort of Positano.
And our third stroll took us through the crowded streets of Amalfi and the breathtakingly stunning Cathedral of Saint Andrew.
Towering above the narrow, winding, roadway along the Amalfi Coast are some spectacular mountain vistas, which on this day were partially shrouded in wispy clouds.
Now for today’s photo gallery of this enchanting coastline and its communities. Click on any image below to bring up today’s slideshow.