A day in Pompeii

Firstly a warning: the train station in Napoli has three planform three’s. Yes that is correct; different platforms serving different lines, but with the same number. We figured this out the hard way.

Having said that, the trip from Napels to Pompeii is about 45 minutes, and only costs about 5 Euros return.

Ok, now to Pompeii. It is a wonderful place to visit. The street are almost 2000 years old, and the preservation in some of the buildings is staggering condidering the age, the volcanic eruption they faced, as well as the prior earthquake. It is sobering to walk the streets that Roman citizens walked just after Julius Caesar was emperor of Rome.

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While the ruins are very well maintained, you need to consider the age of the roads and pavements, so you are going to both walk and get very tired legs. In some aspects it is more like walking up a mountain than walking through a town.the pavements are very uneven, but the walking is well worth it.

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The preservation is staggering. The Romans made buildings to last 2000 years, whereas in some places in South Africa we can barely manage to make houses last for more than a few months (but I digress).

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Water arch

This arch is interesting in that it held water in the top of the arch. This was used to increase the water pressure in the city; much like the tall water towers we use today in cities.

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Take out

This was a take out restaurant; the marble slabs would have been the food preparation and serving counters.

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A typical road in Pompeii

A day is more than enough to plan for a trip from Naples to Pompeii (even from Rome if you plan for a long day). We spent about 5 hours there. While we could have been there for longer, we felt that we had seen plenty. Don’t be deceived by the walking distances in the city; remember that it was a city for 2000 citizens, and probably even more if you included the slaves. It is a big place!

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The Great Theatre, Pompeii

This theatre is the mid-sized theatre in Pompeii, holding about 5000 people. The small theatre can only hold a few hundred, while the amphitheatre could hold the entire city of 20000 people.

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A (reasonably) modern church poking out behind the ruins of Pompeii

I have crossed Pompeii off my list, but yes I would love to go back in a year or so.

Noordhoek Country Fair

Today is the annual Noordhoek Country fair. I had a meeting with a client of mine, and what better place to have a meeting than at the fair. The fair is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours with the family. They had plenty of great food and drinks (I bought some balsamic and habamaro vinegar which I am going to have on my fresh Tuna tonight.)

There are also horserides, live bands, presentations and crafts. The fair is held on Noordhoek common and all money from the door goes to various conservation and community causes.

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A giant puppet, made by the Masiphumelele community. She was controlled by about 5 people, providing independent movement of both arms, legs the the head.

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This impressed me; a trumpeter from Masiphumelele, playing two trumpets at the same time.

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Yes, it did not take me long to find the coffee bar at the Noordhoek Fair.

Finally, even puppets need some time out, or maybe she just had too much to drink in the sun :-)

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Royal Pavilion, Brighton

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The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is the strangest place. By appearances, it looks like an exotic middle-eastern palace. The architecture is stunningly intricate, consisting of vertical columns, and ornate spires, making you feel like you are standing in the middle of Indoa. However you are in fact standing in the middle of Brighton, UK.

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The pavilion was built for King George IV (regent at the time) between 1784 and 1811. Being far from London (at least before the train service), it was used by him for his dirty weekends with his “long-time companion”, Mrs Fitzherbert.

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If you are in Brighton, visit the Pavilion, or at least sit for a few minutes in the wonderful gardens around the back and enjoy the architecture.

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Restaurants in the lanes, Brighton

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The lanes in Brighton are a wonderful set of pedestrian roads and alleys filled with little restaurants and shops. It is a complete maze, and very easy to get completely disorientated and lost in them.

Cds MG 1352However getting lost is part of the experience, you will simply another interesting little shop.

The shops used to be the fishermen’s cottages, and they still retain a lot of their character.

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There is also daily ghost walk, where you learn about the murders, lovers, ghosts and haunting in and around the lanes. It is a little cheesy, but for 5 pounds it is a fun 90 minutes.

Beach houses in Brighton

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These beach houses remind me very much of the Muizenberg beach houses. Well that should not really be a surprise since the Muizenberg beach houses are based on the ones in Brighton.

However while Muizenberg has about 5 houses, in Brighton there are rows are rows of them, literally hundreds of them in a long ling all the way from the Pier through Hove into the next village.

If you plan on buying a hut you had best start saving; they start at 11,000 pounds!.

By the way, the rules dictate the colours that the houses are painted, but you are free to paint the door whatever colour suits you.

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One of the many daily commuters in Brighton cycling past the famous beach huts.

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