Today we took an excursion to see Vesuvius. We knew that the weather was going to be cloudy, which meant at least that it wouldn't be sunny and hot (with no shade). After about an hour or so of driving, along with commentary from guide Fabrizzio, we arrived at the parking lot of the mountain. After a short walk to the ticket office (10 euros each), we started on the long trail up to the top of the mountain.
As we started, we could already see clouds coming into the area. As Vesuvius is 1,210 metres high, we spent most of the walk to the top walking through a cloud. At times, visibility was down to a few metres; my shirt was damp as was my beard and my right ear was hurting from the cold. Once we got to the top of the volcano, one could hardly see anything.
Just as we started to walk down from the top, it started raining quite heavily. We had come prepared with the umbrellas that we had bought a few evenings ago so we didn't get very wet. After about ten minutes (which seemed to last for ever), the rain stopped and the sun came out. There were good views of Naples and its bay. But once we were back into the bus, there was more rain.
From this washout, we traveled to the mineralogical museum in Vico Equense. The museum director showed us around for a few minutes. There were some interesting pictures of Vesuvius over the years, along with a collection of minerals extracted from the volcano and fossils (including one of Ciro, the smallest dinosaur known).
The bus took us back into Sorrento but refused to take us down to our hotel, so we walked. We had a late lunch in the harbour; at one time, there were very heavy clouds and a strong wind, suggesting that rain was on its way, but this time, the rain kindly waited until we got back into the hotel.
A few hours later, it's still raining heavily on and off, which has prevented us from doing anything more demanding than lying on the bed and watching television. All the programmes are either local or else dubbed, so everything is in Italian. Have you ever watched Starsky and Hutch in Italian? This adds a whole new level of meaning.
Tomorrow we are going on the 'Amalfi drive' - I hope that the weather improves.