Monday, May 2, 2016

Sunday Recapitulation

We spent our Sunday in Arbatax and around, on the island of Sardinia.  I have never given Sardinia a moment's thought, although I may have read D.H. Lawrence "Sea and Sardinia" a long time ago.  As it has been up to now, we had a morning excursion.  In Sardinia it was an archeological area with a Nuraghe (I think I have that spelled correctly.  Nuraghes are stone towers, usually on the coast I believe.  Sardinia has 7000 of them.  What purpose they served in pure speculation.   The towers resemble bee hives, with built in niches, staircases leading up to second and third floors (which no longer exist).  What these people kept in the niches is also unknown--grain perhaps.  They seem kind of small to be sleeping quarters.   In the same area, we saw ancient tombs, and menhirs (a kind of standing stone) which date way before the arrival of the folks who built the nuraghes.    I tried to pass through the stones, like Claire in Outlander, but nothing happened.  I think the passage only works on Halloween.  

After our archeology morning, we went to a very pretty little town called Santa Maria Navarese (not sure of spelling).  The town is on the sea, and has amazing fine sandy beaches and beautiful views, but cold water.  The only guy I saw in the water had on a wet suit.    Once again, we are fortunately ahead of the main tourist season here, when it is likely to be crowded.  In this little town, we walked around some very ancient olive trees with gnarly multiple trunks.  These are wild olive trees, and the olives are not turned into oil.  The nice surprise was a stop at an seaside restaurant where we snacked on Sardinian cheese, charcuterie, crispy bread and Sardinian cookies.

Marsh McCall continues to give fine lectures.  The question of the day for us is:  Are we Epicurians or are we Stoics?  
Red rocks in Sardinia
Carol is taking a hike
A gnarly old olive tree

Back on the Ponant, the weather has turned rainy and the sea choppy.   Our guides and the captain of the Ponant gave up on Plan A, Trapani in Sicily, and gave up on Plan B, to dock somewhere ELSE in Sicily, and then decided on Plan C, which is to divert the Ponant to Naples, Italy.  The captain showed us his weather charts to justify the new plan.  I believe we were all convinced.  He said the ship could certainly handle the weather, but we passengers would not be very happy.  

A new excursion has been planned for us today:  Herculaneum near Naples, another ancient city destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.  It's a World Heritage site, and according to our guides, is less crowded and better preserved than Pompeii.   Our ship will dock in the Naples harbor in about an hour, and we'll begin our excursion.  

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