24 July 1983
Dear Mom & Dad,
Well, we did it! Walked down inside of the most famous volcano in the world. Saturday, yesterday, we left the kids with two teenaged babysitters and went on a tour of Pompei and Mt. Vesuvius.
We got to Pompei about 9:30 and left about 12:00. There were some very impressive ruins. You can tell a lot about the lifestyle in the 1st century A.D. by visiting there. There are several temples to their gods, a couple of outdoor theaters, their forum and justice building, shops and many houses that they have dug out -- and also a gymnasium and public baths. It was very interesting.
All the statues, mosaics and other art objects that were found there have been moved to the museum in Naples to get them out of the weather. We hope to be able to go there in August to see all that.
That's Mt. Vesuvius in the background of Pompei.
It was too hazy to see the mountain from Pompei the
day we were there. I think they are about 6 miles apart.
After we ate lunch in Pompei just outside of the ruins, the bus took us up Mt. Vesuvius. The road was narrow with many hairpin curves. The bus could only go up so far. From there we took a ski lift up to the top. No one wanted to hike up the rest of the way in all the heat. I expected to see fire and bubbles inside the crater like you see on TV movies. Instead, all you could see down in it was a "floor" of dirt and rocks. We walked down inside of the crater maybe 50 yards. We could see steam coming up in several places. It was pleasantly cool up on the mountain. We walked about a third of the way around the crater top. This was probably about 2/3 of a mile. It was a very impressive day.
At the bottom of the chair lift, before we left, I bargained with an Italian lady at a shop for a coral necklace. She was asking 30 mille. I finally talked her down to 15 mille (about $10.00). I thought I did a good job of bargaining. I was admiring my necklace on the bus before we left and our guide came up and said it wasn't real coral. The lady had told me it was real and showed me some that wasn't real to prove to me this one was real. Our guide was probably right. He said a real coral necklace like that would cost $200.00. I guess I didn't do too good after all. Oh, well. I still have a pretty necklace for $10.00.
Our next door neighbors, the Cummings, came home from France on Friday. They decided it was too hot to go on to Spain. They brought back some French cookies and strawberry jelly for the kids and Michael, and they brought me a perfumed soap bar. I thought that was nice. That night, the Cummings and we ate a steak supper at the Ziebart's house across the street. Our kids were glad to see the Cummings kids, Kris (9) & Eric (10).
Today after church we ate lunch at Faye & John Sigle's house. They live about 5 miles from us. Their son, Jason, will be 6 years old Tuesday. We'll go to his party at Carney Park.
I think we'll have Angelique's party here next Tuesday and have a few families over for hamburgers at suppertime and then party. She's excited. We're trying to find her a bike with training wheels. We should be able to find one if Michael ever gets the time to go look for one.
This next week will be our last week for swim class. I'm kind of glad. That's a long drive 3 times a week (about 10 miles). Next month we'll just be bored before school starts in September.
Michael got out a box of the kids books that we had not opened yet. Angelique read her Go, Dog, Go book to us with very little help. Steven is talking more and more. He may be just as talkative as Angelique. What will I do with all that chatter? Actually, they talk to each other quite a bit.
I think the fleas finally left our house. I was just about to declare all out war on them. I'm not sure why they finally left or died. I didn't think my vacuuming and spraying had been helping much before. Maybe the heat got to them. Anyway, I haven't been bitten in a couple of weeks. Good riddance. Now, if I could just get rid of the flies & mosquitoes.
Monday was eventful. We went to swim class Monday morning only to find out the pump was broken, so the pool was closed. No class. We came back and stopped at some friends' house who had swim class at 10:30 and told them not to bother to go to the pool. We visited with them for about an hour and then came home and ate lunch.
That afternoon right after I got the kids down for a nap, the delivery guys came with my dining room set from Sorrento. It is pretty & rather ornate. It's darker than I remembered. It took me about an hour and a half to clean up all the mess. They had packed it well and the guys had just ripped the packing off and thrown it in the floor. Anyway, I now have some good packing material for shipping things back to the States. That's hard to find here.
Michael got home about 6:00PM. Right after I heard him pull up, there was a big screeching sound and huge bang in front of our house out on the busy street. When I ran out, all I could see was a cloud of dust. Finally it settled and I could see a car had run into the back of a motorcycle. The man on the motorcycle flew back and hit the windshield of the car and kept going and landed about 20 feet behind the car. I'm not sure whose fault it was. The girls in the car were quite shaken up but seemed to be ok physically. Joan Ziebart, our neighbor across the street, is a nurse. Someone produced a first aid kit and she started wrapping the huge cut on the man's head. By this time, Michael had gotten down there and everything was being done that could be done.
Italians don't call ambulances. The next car coming along is required by law to transport wounded to the nearest hospital. Finally someone agreed to take the guy to the hospital. Several other Italians had driven on by and refused to help. Great system they have, huh?
We were out there about 30 minutes and still the police had not come even though the police station is only a couple of blocks away.
I finally came in after it settled down and started some spaghetti to officially break in our Italian table. Both the table and the spaghetti was good. They complicated each other very well. After supper, the Cummings came over and played cards with us until about 10:00 PM. Never a dull moment!
We'll go to the birthday party late this afternoon. I think we're suppose to eat supper there, too, but I'm not real sure. Angelique will be even more excited about her birthday after Jason's party.
This morning I've cleaned off our front patio. I found several small pieces of glass. I guess it was from the wreck. It really flew a long way. I hope there's not much in the grass in our front yard. I didn't see any, but it could be there.
Steven's trying to help me write this. I guess I better go fix his lunch. I got 2 letters from Diane yesterday. It sounded like she had a great time. I need to write her, too. Now both Angelique and Steven are trying to help. I think it's time to close.
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