“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over”

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133. Bay of Naples

Sailing further south on the coast of Italy, we came to the bay of Naples, which is a great place to be. The volcanic landscape made it a spectacular site with mountains and villages build against those mountainsides. And also a lot of excavations of the ancient Roman Empire can be found here, next to the modern houses!

Porto Baia

This also means we left the region of Lazio and were now in Campania. We started at Porto Baia. Since it’s winter, in some harbors there are not a lot of boats in the water, so in this small harbor we were together with a few other boats. And when you looked to the little village of Baia, you could see the old roman remains, they were everywhere you looked!

It makes you realized that 2.000 year of history from the Roman Empire lives together with modern society! For example the Temple of Diana (below on the right), which is the largest best preserved dome chamber after the Pantheon in Rome.

It was a thermal complex making use of the hot waters in the ancient volcanic crater, that was build in 300 AC. Amazing that this dome was not discovered until the end of the nineteenth century when metropolitan lines were build and they discovered that beneath the modern city, was this huge thermal complex. At first, the connection with Diana, the goddess of the hunt, was not clear, until they discovered a marble relief depicting a series of animals, and more animals covered the walls and ceilings. And next to the Temple of Diana, was this entire city build on the wall of an ancient volcano crater.

We made a drone video to show what it looks like when you see it from a bird’s view.

The weather is still good in December, of course there is more wind and rain and at 17.00h is starts to get dark, but mainly it’s about 13-20 degrees. While we walk around in sweaters when it’s 20 degrees, the Italians wear winter jackets and caps 😉. We saw a lot of fishermen in this harbor, also individuals who sit on the pier and fish for a few hours. The brother of our harbormaster Antonio, was very friendly, always waved at us and one day he came to me and gave me a plastic bag with a present in it, he said. It turned out to be a fish he just caught. So I said ‘Thank you’ and went back to the boat. Gilles was delighted, he liked preparing and eating this fresh fish. First, we looked up what it was, it appeared to be a seabream a very common fish in this area.

We noticed that our dingy could use some protection in the winterperiod. It is located at the back of the boat, under the solar panels, but still during rain it gets also some dirt of the ship on it. We decided to buy a cover and went to a sailing supplies shop. The owner showed us different types of covers from a magazine and we ordered one. When it was delivered 3 days later, the harbormaster came to tell us and and later that day some of his crew. I think this it typically Italian: we never told the harbor we bought this cover, but they are very social and talkative, so probably the owner of the shop told the harbor master, who also told his crew. Italians look after each other and also help when they can. Very friendly.

Now we had the cover, we also needed to make holes in it, because the dinghy was in a hanging construction behind the boat. So to make sure the cover would not tear in the places where we cut holes, we needed a sewing machine and needles, thread and ribbons to strengthen the areas around the holes. We found a little shop that sold domestic appliances, we bought a Singer sewing machine, also fit for ‘heavy duty’. Across the street happened to be a cute sewing shop where we bought the needles, etc.

And we fixed the cover, make sure it would not tear, and now the dinghy is protected, very happy to have done that.

Torre Annunziata

We continued sailing in the Bay of Naples, and especially when you start sailing early, around 8.00h with sunrise it is a beautiful site with all the mountains around!

A lot of ports are closed, but the port of Torre Annunziata was happy to accommodate us, and we were happy that they did, because it was at the foot of Mount Vesuvius!

I even made a cartoon of what it looks like: Gilles and Laura sailing on their catamaran with Vesuvius in the background 😉.

I love walking around in little villages and just noticing things that I find special, for instance oranges and lemons hang in abundance on the trees. Or time on this Italian clock is a bit flexible ;).

The entire area around Naples with all the little villages is called ‘Città Metropolitana di Napoli’ and is densely populated. And we knew that soccer is very popular in Italy and that people in this area are proud of the soccorclub Napoli, but we didn’t know that their starplayer Maradona is still so much honored! You see pictures of Maradona everywhere.

Naples is famous for it’s pizza. So we asked a local in a shop where we could eat the best pizza here and he advised us a little restaurant, more like a snackbar, closeby. And for 6 euro per person we had a great pizza. We were very happy with his advice. I sometimes have to laugh: when you are raised, you are taught to not go with strangers. In our live, travelling in countries, all we meet are strangers! And we have to trust them and ask them for their advice, but most times, they are very helpful and so far the best advice we got came from strangers 😉.

Pompei and Heracaleum

Being close to Vesuvius in the Bay of Naples, means you are also close to Pompeii and the other city that was buried during the eruption of the volcano in 79 BC, Herculaneum. We visited both sites a day and it was very impressive, so I write a special separate blog about visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Sorrento

This beautiful city with colorful houses build up the mountain walls, is worth a visit! It is famous for limoncello, because lemon trees are found a lot here.

You see shops with lemon products everywhere and I read about the ‘limoncello sorbet’ so we tried that, it was very nice!

The preparation for Christmas did already start half November 😉. So also in the Bay of Naples the villages are decorated with lights and around the harbors it is so nice to see that boats also put on a lot of lights. Sometimes there is a special park where they show specials objects that they have decorated. Very nice!

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