Pompeii

Pompeii

 

The Pompeii Coliseum just got served

 

On our last day I visited Pompeii, famous for being the Roman city frozen in time after it was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. For 1,500 years Pompeii was covered by 20 feet of ash and pumice, preserving all its buildings and inhabitants almost perfectly in the moment when the volcano erupted.

When it was discovered by present-day archaeologists, it shed a light onto the way the Romans lived in the 6th-7th century B.C. and continues to be explored as only a third of the city has been excavated.

So to get there from Positano, I hopped on a late morning SITA bus to Sorrento.

 

 

From Sorrento I took a Circumvesuviana train from Sorrento to Naples, but getting off in the middle at Pompeii Sciavi, which took about half an hour.

 

 

I dropped off my bags in the train station for 3 euros and walked about 50 meters to the entrance of the ruins:

 

 

The entrance fee is about 11 euros. After paying, you then walk across the bridge before crossing into a land before time:

 

 

The main Forum:

 

 

Be sure to enter any doorway opening you find as they might lead you to little surprises such as this Roman bathhouse:

 

 

Or just keep wandering around and you’ll be bound to stumble upon something:

 

 

Pompeii has two amphitheatres. One holds about 2,000 people:

 

 

And the other is more like a coliseum, holding about 20,000 people:

 

 

And of course, one of the main attractions is to see the plaster casts of some of Pompeii’s inhabitants, who were also preserved by the falling ash of the volcano. The way you see them was the way they were the moment that they died:

 

 

After spending about 3-4 hours there, I hopped back on the Circumvesuviana train towards Naples. I arrived at Napoli Centrale station 30 minutes later, where I got on their main Metro train to head to my last hostel and call it a night.

 

 

 

- At time of posting in Pompeii, Italy, it was 24 °C - Humidity: 70% | Wind Speed: 2km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly sunny

 

From Naples To The Amalfi Coast

From Naples To The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast just got served

 

I had a late morning, waking up at around 11am and packing up by 12pm. I then hopped on the commuter rail towards Napoli Centrale, where you can easily walk 2 minutes to switch over to the Circumvesuviana, an independently run train service that goes around the famous volcano of Mount Vesuvius (of Pompei fame) from Naples to Sorrento for 4 euros.

 

Naples stop on the Circumvesuviana

 

The whole ride from Naples to Sorrento takes about an hour.

 

Mount Vesuvius

 

Once stopping at Sorrento, the SITA bus stop that takes you to the cities of the Amalfi Coast (Positano, Amalfi, etc.) for about 4-6 euros (depending on how many trips you want to take in a 24-72 hour period), is right in front of the exit, across the street.

 

 

If you have time before your bus leaves, you can have your luggage stored at a parking lot a few feet away for about 1 euro and then go explore the town of Sorrento:

(more…)

I Love the Smell of Naples in the Morning

I Love the Smell of Naples in the Morning

 

After a 3 hour train ride from Bari to Caserta, I made a connection there for a 1 hour local train to Naples:

 

 

Once arriving into the Napoli Centrale station, I discovered that Naples has been enduring some kind of public service strike the past few months. That meant nobody checked for train tickets since Caserta, and I was free to go in and out of the subways without paying a thing.

And because of the strike, train conductors decide on a whim whether to keep driving or stop the train entirely before going home. That means you can be on a train that suddenly decides to stop running and you have to run across the tracks to find another train heading to wherever you’re going.

Once heading into Downtown Naples, I hopped on a cable car heading up the hill to a nicer part of the city:

 

 

Naples is by the way, the birthplace of the classic Neopolitan Pizza:

 

 

Can’t complain.

 

- At time of posting in Naples, Italy, it was 28 °C - Humidity: 40% | Wind Speed: n/a | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy

 

From Croatia To Italy (Dubrovnik to Bari)

From Croatia To Italy (Dubrovnik to Bari)

The goal was to get from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari, Italy via an overnight ship. I found that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a Jadrolinija ship departs from Dubrovik to Bari at 10pm. So I got the cheapest deck tickets (by deck, I mean literally on the deck) ahead of time online via Jadrolinija’s website, which was a pretty straightforward and easy process.

Then in Dubrovnik at around 7pm, I stopped by the Jadrolinija office as it opened up for business. There I exchanged printed vouchers that I had bought online for the real tickets.

I then proceeded to the docking gate where I waited for passport control to open up at 8:30pm and then my passports stamped out of Croatia:

 

 

I then quickly boarded before the ship departed at 10pm:

 

 

As I mentioned before, since I bought the cheapest “Deck” class ticket I didn’t get a cabin to sleep in but we were free to sleep anywhere else (the floor, couches, etc.). So off I went searching:

 

 

…after awhile, I concluded the best place to settle in the entire ship was in the bar and the hard “couches” there.

 

 

The ship ride was pretty uneventful as I was able to knock out without the need for any Benadryl or Ambien. The next morning I docked in Bari at around 8am:

 

 

When then, got my passport stamped into Italy:

 

 

And I went around exploring Bari’s Old Town, which takes only an hour or two to do by foot:

 

 

Afterwards I headed to the train station to catch the Trenitalia train to Caserta:

 

Landing In King’s Landing: Dubrovnik

Landing In King’s Landing: Dubrovnik

If it’s not already playing, press play. And then start reading.

 


 

 

Dubrovnik, aka “Pearl of the Adriatic” and “King’s Landing” of Game of Thrones’ fame, lies near the borders of Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina and was once a city-state that rivaled Venice in the Middle Ages. It has been regarded as one of the most beautiful cities of the Mediterranean as it became a magnet for prominent celebrities, playwrights, philosophers, poets, and scholars as early as the 19th century and even to this day remains as Croatia’s top tourist destination and most well recognized locale from the hit TV series, “Game of Thrones.”

I arrived by bus from Split at 4:45pm. 

From there I took a 10min bus (1A, 1B or 1…all head to the same place) for 15kn into Old Town. 

 

To get to my hostel, Apartments Stella, I had to climb a lot of stairs:

 

 

In return I got a great view of Dubrovnik and its old town outside my room:

 

 

After settling in, I headed to Old Town itself from its Eastern “Pile” Gate:

 

 

It felt as if I were walking into something out of Harry Potter (or Game of Thrones, which would be more fitting):

 

 

When you enter, you’ll most likely be walking along its main road, Placa Stradun, where the city comes alive with locals and tourists alike:

 

 

Head to the Western End and climb up the stairs to the Jesuit Square:

 

St. Ignatius Church

 

Keep walking along the Southern Street of Buza, follow the signs “Cold Beer, Great View…” and you’ll find the famous Café Buza:

 

 

Plop down a chair, order a beer, and enjoy the sunset as you overlook the island of Lokrum. On some months, you can step out from your chair and go cliff diving:

 

 

Afterwards, Dubrovnik takes on a different atmosphere in the evening:

 

Roland's Column and Sponza Palace

 

Everything begins to close up by 10pm, shuttering by 11:30pm:

 

A concert outside the nearby university

 

The next morning I took a hike up Mountain Srd overlooking Dubrovnik, to reach the fortress museum and Cable Car at the top:

 

 

The hike was a pleasant zig zag up the hill and took me about 30-40min to climb at a leisurely pace.

 

 

At the top is a fortress housing a museum that depicts the 1991-1995 war that devastated Croatia and Dubrovnik, as well as giving you 360 degree views of Dubrovnik from its terrace:

 

 

Walk around to the Cable Car station where you can take it down to Old Town for 120 kn each way:

 

 

There in a total WTF moment, I ran into Christian and Candice, my fellow classmates graduating with me from medical school!

 

 

After catching up, I explored what was left of Old Town and its surroundings, including the abandoned Hotel Bellevue (where they shot a lot of Game of Thrones scenes…read on!) and Fort Lovrijenac.

 

 

Want examples of how Game of Thrones was filmed here? I have many.

Like this:

 

20121009a_image_4

 

or this:

 

kill-the-basterds

 

or this:

 

ItRZ6IN

 

Afterwards I paid the 30kn student entrance fee to check out empty Fort Lovrijenac, which served to defend Dubrovnik back in the day.

 

 

After that, I packed up and prepared my voyage across the Adriatic Sea to Bari, Italy.

 

- At time of posting in Dubrovnik, it was 14 °C - Humidity: 47% | Wind Speed: 18km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear

 

From Split, Via Bosnia-Herzegovina, To Dubrovnik

From Split, Via Bosnia-Herzegovina, To Dubrovnik

 

Just took a 5 hour bus from Split to Dubrovnik for 125 kn. If you’re doing this route, make sure you sit on the right side of the bus to get the best views:

 

 

At around the 3.5 hour mark, your bus will go through immigrations control to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here a lone immigrations officer, who probably pulled the short straw, comes onboard to inspect every passengers’ passports before leaving without a word. 

They don’t issue entry/exit stamps unfortunately.

 

Bosnia & Herzegovina

 

The bus then stops in the city of Neum of Bosnia and Herzegovina for about half an hour to pick up supplies. There you can have a late lunch or go shopping as clothing and goods are much cheaper in this country than in Croatia.

 

Neum, Bosnia & Herzegovina
The view of the Adriatic Sea from Neum

 

About an hour later you’ll be back in Croatia and heading towards lovely little Dubrovnik, aka “King’s Landing” or “The Pearl of the Adriatic”:

 

Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

- At time of posting in Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was 14 °C - Humidity: 47% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear