Italy · My Thoughts · Travel

Volcanoes: Ports 3 & 4 in Italy

Volcanoes! Our Mediterranean cruise continued to two Italian ports: Naples (Napoli in Italian) and Messina where volcano eruptions changed history, and a recent eruption captured our attention!

October 5—Naples, Italy—Visited Pompeii

Yes, Dean Martin sang “In Napoli” and that song ran through my head as we docked at 11:00 AM in his beloved city. We slept in that morning. I took our passports to be held by the Norwegian Cruise Line for this part of Italy. They handled this exchange efficiently, and I was in and out in minutes. We ate a late breakfast and enjoyed our leisure time. Before leaving the ship for our next excursion, we went upstairs and snacked on banana bread and an apple.

Once again, our tour guide wowed us with his knowledge. This time he shared about Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii which is where we headed out of Naples.

In 79 AD Mt. Vesuvius erupted, destroying the populace site of Pompeii. Mt. Vesuvius is still active, being a young volcano. It erupted the last time around World War II. They now have sensors around the mountain that can predict a week before any eruption activity.

We drove around the Bay of Naples and the guide let us know Naples is the birthplace of pizza! He also identified the island of Capri to the right and the Sorrento peninsula to the left as we traveled.

When we got to the parking lot near the Pompeii site, our group walked to a streetlight. There we found out a man in our group got himself locked in a bathroom in the parking lot which detained us. Our guide was not too happy with him. The guide shared so much information, but I immediately forgot it.

Before our Pompeii tour, we stopped in a shop and saw how cameos are made. I bought one made by a student which cost $56. A master’s cameo of the same cameo was $400! I bought this because my sister had bought one years ago in Italy and encouraged me to buy one too! She died this last week before I could share my purchase with her.

I suffered from dizziness badly on the tour due to my neuralgia, but Lin helped me a lot.

There were phallic symbols in many places—I remembered that!

Here are the 10 Most Fascinating Pompeii Ruins

10.Temple of Apollo

9. House of the Vettii

8. Lupanar – the largest of the city’s many brothels

7. House of the Tragic Poet

6. Forum of Pompeii

5. House of the Faun

4. Pompeii Thermal Baths

3. Pompeii Spectacula – the oldest surviving Roman amphitheaters in the world.

2. Villa dei Misteri

1. Plaster Casts

Body mummified by the ash—volcanoes
Body mummified by the ash

At the end of the tour, we went through a museum that housed the bodies mummified by the ash from the volcano. They appeared frozen in time with gruesome expressions frozen on their faces.

After the tour and returning to Naples, we didn’t see the sights the guide suggested: the fort, the Royal Palace or the Theater. I just didn’t feel well. But we enjoyed shopping inside the terminal and our shopping experience.

Here’s my haiku about this day:

Mt. Vesuvius

Erupted and destroyed

Pompeii! Lives shattered!

October 6—Messina, Italy—Mt. Etna

The next day started early again with another fantastic excursion and guide. As we drove through Messina in the early morning, she shared fascinating information:

Another day of dealing with nature’s destruction quality. Messina was totally destroyed by an earthquake then a tsunami! When they rebuilt it, they followed an international idea. This area of Italy—Sicily—uses the famous dialect of “The Godfather.”

When we left Messina, the guide identified Carrara, “The city is famous for some of the world’s finest marble, called Carrara, taken from nearby quarries and used by sculptors from Michelangelo to Henry Moore.”

As we drove, she shared endless information: “Our region was Greek. Mt. Etna erupted twenty years ago. One thousand years ago, the Arabs found this area. Twenty thousand years, it was first founded by the Byzantine Empire.”

Savoca where The Godfather Filmed—volcanoes
Savoca where The Godfather Filmed

As we drove, she identified a medieval village on the top of a hill, Savoca, where they filmed part of “The Godfather.”

Mt. Etna Smoking—volcanoes
Mt. Etna Smoking!

Mt. Etna loomed in the distance as we drove, and the guide continued sharing information about this volcano, and we could see where it was smoking—eerie for sure!

Then we stopped at the Crateri Sylvestri Visitor’s Center for a bathroom break and a snack. Here she explained a lot about volcano eruptions and different types of ash and volcanic rocks. We walked around the top of the whole crater, and I struggled with dizziness, so I stayed away from the edge.

Lin on the edge of Crateri Silvestri—volcanoes
Lin on the edge of Crateri Silvestri

Afterwards, we went to the GIVAL jewelry store and saw a demonstration. Lin bought me beautiful turquoise earrings for our anniversary. They had a light buffet for us there, served on a tropical patio.

Looking towards the sea—volcanoes
Looking towards the sea

On the drive back, I took lots of sea pictures, but my camera’s battery died again!

When we returned to the ship, we napped, dressed up and ate dinner where they had live music. Finally, we danced! Several years ago, we had such a memorable time on the Norwegian Epic ship—this ship—because they had a fantastic duo who played a variety of dance music. We hooked up with the dancers and followed the duo all around the ship at the different venues. I had been aching to dance, and it finally happened.


What a memorable day we had near smoking Mt. Etna. Our amazing guide snow skied alongside Mt. Etna when it was erupting! Wow! And Pompeii in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius fascinated me with its massive ruins.

Do you like volcanoes? I grew up near Capulin volcano in northeastern New Mexico and have always loved them.

News, News, News!

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet?

~Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, deals with the COVID pandemic in fiction as opposed to my nonfiction book. Check it out! Interesting story!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”:

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