Atlantis Alumni

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Triple Threat Day

On Wednesday our exhausting but totally rewarding tour took us to three major sites near Naples, the port the ship Equinox docked at in the early morning. Our tour lasted 10 hours and 45 minutes (!) and first we went by hydrofoil boat from Naples to Capri, the famed island beloved by such ancient Roman Emperors as Tiberius. Today it’s still a jet set spot, but its natural beauties and lush vegetation make it a popular tourist attraction. We saw the Giardini Augusto, a garden with wonderful views of the rocky island and spectacular flowers. Jim bought a new shirt there and then we took another boat to Sorrento. There we had a pleasant lunch with several of our fellow Atlantis cruise passengers, before heading off to Pompeii. In that ancient Roman city, we broke away from the tour group to re-visit the fabled Villa of the Mysteries, which has the finest of all ancient Roman frescoes. We had last seen them 30 years ago. The hike to that villa, which lies outside the city’s walls, is long and arduous, over cobblestone streets and twisting stairs. But Jim is an excellent map reader, who navigated us to the villa in the light summer rain. The expressions on the faces in the villa, of people assembled for ancient rituals, still un-deciphered by modern archaeologists, are remarkable. They are the most realistic depictions of human emotions until the Italian Renaissance. The backgrounds behind the figures is a startling vermilion. One time many years ago I painted a portrait with a figure from the villa, as a background. So it was delightful to see these great masterpieces again, probably the highlight of the day. After we returned to Naples and the ship, we had a fun dinner with fellow passengers who hailed from Florida, Seattle, and Manchester England; they were delightful company. There’s a great sense of camaraderie aboard our cruise. -Dan

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