Monthly Archives: September 2013

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trial and error

This parenting shtick is all trial and error. You know what? This LIFE shtick is all trial and error. I mean, sure, there’s good advice (there are whole books full of it) but it’s hard to be sure the advice is good until you’ve tried it out to see if it errs.

So we stuck Louis in school for full days and it’s been a bit rough (mostly on Louis, but sure we all suffer with him). Getting better slowly, but still, we decided to pedal back to half days. Just for a month or two. Maybe, miraculously, he’ll master a nutritious and adventurous diet at home before we throw him back to the canteen sharks with their fantastic school menus.

Maybe, come January, he’ll still eat only bread and compote at lunch, but he’ll be happy after his nap and not missing his mum. For now, I’ll pick him up in the middle of the day and he’ll have lunch with Elena and me, à la Maison. Then, after we drop Elena at halte garderie he can nap away the afternoon.

Elena, meanwhile, is rocking nursery school. She is welcome to stay till 5.30, already! Happiest kid on the block. Envy of the world (or at least parents whose children suffer separation anxiety)…

So we’re changing up the routine again. I was reluctant to give up so soon. I’m of the wait-and-give-it-a-chance school of thought on most things. It can be hard to know when to stick at something a bit longer and when to jump ship, try a different tack.

Am I messing with metaphors again? Am I mixing boating metaphors? Blame the stupid late nights watching the stupid America’s Cup.

On the weekend we visited Musée d’Orsay in Paris. I thought it was a modern art museum but in another vein from the Pompidou centre. No psychedelic lights, pantyhose and perspex here.

sculpture outside musee d'orsaySculpture outside, on arrival at Musée d’Orsay.

Much as I love that ‘it’s art cause I say it is’ stuff, Musée d’Orsay is something else and gorgeous. It’s in an old railway station and the building itself is stunning. It houses the french version of the statue of liberty, as well as many other incredible sculputre, and numerous works by Monet and Manet, Degas and Van Gogh, Renoir and Cézanne, Gauguin and Rodin… you get the picture. Needless to say, I bought lots of postcards at the shop on the way out.

view inside musee d'orsay

Musée d’Orsay. Just, wow.

inside clock face, musee d'orsay Cool old railway station, and clock faces.

art fatigue seats

Seats for dealing to art fatigue… or climbing on.

Looking at all that beautiful art made me want to paint, to sculpt, to study the human form and teach my fingers to render it, to teach my eyes to see more, notice more…

Thing is, there’s only so much time in the week. Becoming a better writer is taking an awful lot of time, and I’m working at that every day.

I’m resisting restlessness this week. Maybe one day I’ll dedicate time and study to painting, to sculpture, to mosaics. But this day, I’ve got a novel to edit, to sculpt and render and shine, and just like those masterpieces in the galleries, it’s going to take time and dedication and sacrifice.

women statues outside musee d'orsayI bet these ladies had discipline.

On which note, back to work.


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in it for the long haul

Category : Art

Writing a novel is like a long haul flight. But worse.

And better. I, for one, prefer novel-writing, but then I really don’t like long haul flights. We’ll be here for 22 months before we visit NZ. I miss home, I do, but 24 hours in-flight, plus layovers – ick!

on the wing

So there are obvious differences, between novelling and flying, but there are plenty of similarities. Bear with me.

1. You can get up from your seat but it’s safer if you don’t.

2. You start at point A and eventually get to point B, and most of the time it’s the destination on the ticket. Occasionally flights get diverted but most of the time you end up where you were going to begin with.

3. Only it’s not quite what you expected it to be. The food is better, the language is harder, and the roads are more insane. The weather is a bit different and you don’t have the right shoes. But you can buy shoes.

Or you could if your writing made any money. (Which it’s more likely to do if I stop mixing metaphors, and probably if I stop extending them any further. Too bad.)

4. Landing is the hardest part of a flight, usually. I’m not very good at landing. Yesterday someone asked me if I’d finished my novel. I said something like, “Yes, but no, none of them are actually finished. They’re all finished. But no. I’m editing. Still editing.”

I suppose people don’t take more than one long hall flight at the same time. Two in a row, sure (only way to get to NZ from here…) but you can only be in one plane at a time. With writing it’s not the worst thing to have more than one on the go. A drafted novel needs time to stew (could we go with a refueling metaphor here? Not worth the risk…) and while one almost-book is sitting in a drawer I work on another, and go back to the first one with something like perspective.

5. It seems to take a very long time. Now, with novel writing you can get up and walk out and give up. Ditching your A380 over the Atlantic is seriously foolish, but giving up on a novel part way through is just… a little bit soul-destroying.

view of the wing

Ooh, is that an island we could parachute onto?

One of the major differences, of course, is that you can be fairly certain when a plane lands. There’s plenty of warning. Serious sinus pain, in my case, and usually a little deafness, an altered seat-angle, the end of the beverage service, the whir and thump of the flaps and landing gear. The cars and houses get bigger and then, bumpety-bump, smooth but fierce breaking, and oh, look, there’s the airport.

And everyone’s cell phones start going off.

And then the flight attendant tells you that cell phones shouldn’t be transmitting until you’re in the terminal. Oops.

me, reading in-flightMe, reading on an airplane.

I’ve thought my novels were finished. Once, twice, three times even, I’ve thought, ‘Send it off! I’ve checked everything. No lippy on the teeth or runs in the tights. She’s good to go!’

She wasn’t. But I sent her off anyway, to be assessed and rejected. And then I rewrote and edited that baby and sent her off again, this time to school, just to be sure. Friends read my stuff and some of them give me feedback, and some of it is incredibly helpful.

And maybe, having taken on board all that feedback, this re-write will be actually ready. But it’s hard to be sure. The over-sized plane diagram on the pixelated map is moving awful slow, and I really don’t know how far away the tarmac is. But we’re on our way. Getting closer.

There better not be any bloody fog on the runway, is all I can say. I do not want to be diverted to Palmerston North*.

6. You’re never alone on a long haul flight. As much as you might wish for the people around you to just disappear (and stopped getting published before you!) you’re never really alone. And that’s good, because it’s important to have someone flying the plane, and someone serving the drinks, and someone snoring at just the right volume to lull the kids to sleep, and someone to look at across the aisle and think, hey, I’m not suffering alone here.

louis and elmo, flying long haulElmo will keep you company… or at least distract the toddler while I write.

Metaphor fail. And end.

* Why Palmerston North? Well, I used to have a job at NZ’s air traffic control company and I spent much of my time watching the approach to Wellington airport, which is prone to sudden attacks of sea-fog. Palmerston North was their favourite alternative destination. And I’m allowed to mock that charming wee town, just a little, ’cause I was born there.


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reentry

rentree

Apparently, that’s what re-entering the earth’s atmosphere looks like. In France they call the first few weeks of school the ‘rentrée’ and, yep, it’s a bit like that. Louis even had a fever at one point (he’s all better now) so there was burning – and the sausages I overcooked, I suppose. That’s the kind of thing I tend to do when there’s too much going on. I start forgetting things.

We got back from Italy on the Sunday night, thinking school might start the next day. It didn’t, fortunately, but Elena had her first session at the halte garderie.

first day at halte garderie

They start them off with ‘adaptation’…

Day 1: I go with her and we both stay and play for an hour.

Day 2: she does the second half hour by herself.

Day 3: a whole hour en seul.

Day 4: if all goes well (and it did) she does an hour and a half there on her own.

Day 5: two hours.

And then the next week she goes for her ordinary three half-days (3 hours), which will be the usual habit from now till next July… minus Christmas holidays and the like.

My lovely friend Erin watched Louis while Elena and I stayed at halte garderie for an hour, but the next day Louis sat in the salle de réunion (waiting room?) and played on my ipad for the first half hour. Then we went to the park, which he was happy about.

And Elena? She loves it. She has a thousand toys and two kind teachers, a few english-speaking (as much as any of them speak at 15 months) kids in her group, and cried only once – when Louis and I came to pick her up and waved through the window, then ‘disappeared’ to go in the door. She thought we’d gone. We were only on our way inside, but out of sight.

School for Louis started on Thursday. This information was on the noticeboard, on the fence, outside the school. I saw it on Monday afternoon, but we’d already figured out there wasn’t any school because the menu didn’t start till thursday. That’s right. We could find out on the internet what the kids were having for lunch, but we couldn’t find out when they started school.

A couple of days later we got the local magazine in the mail and on the back is the menu for the whole month:

menu at maternelle

Louis eats bread. I’d have thought he’d want the pasta, the deserts, the petit pois (peas) but no, apparently he only eats bread. This is what Louis tells me, so it’s possible he’s forgetting some delicious morsel of… no, probalby he’s just eating bread.

Je ne comprends pas.

He did just the morning the first day, coming home for lunch. On friday we thought he could try a full day. We want him to stay there for the lunches as we’ve heard it’s an environment which has helped many a stubborn un-adventurous eater to try new things, but he can’t stay for lunch unless he stays all afternoon. After lunch they have a two hour sleep and then the last ninety minutes of the day are free-time, easy play, or so it seems.

This week he’s done full days every day, with mixed success. He’s napping no problem, and has been dry about half the time (no nappies at nap time). He doesn’t eat much but that hardly makes for a dramatic change. He was upset on Tuesday morning. Luuk dropped him off before going on a work trip, so perhaps there was some added tension there.

first day of school, afternoon tea Afternoon tea at the park, after school. Comfort food and some big changes for the little man.

hot chocolate after school

On Tuesday it rained so I took Louis to Café de la Gare for a chocolat chaud. We have half an hour to kill between when he finishes school and when Elena finishes halte garderie, so if this wintry weather keeps up we will soon figure out where to get the best chocolat chaud in town.

Wednesday is a day off, every week, all year around, for French schools. Older kids have clubs and extra-curriculars. Little kids need the rest. It was grey and miserable, so we stayed home and baked muffins.

fig, banana and white chocolate muffins Banana, fresh fig and white chocolate muffins.
(Yes, Louis picks out the figs when he eats them.)

Louis and Elena watching fishWednesday’s outing: lots of errands and the fish pond!

School went a bit better on Thursday. I stayed for a while when we dropped him off in the morning. We did some painting and he was drawing happily until I told him I had to take Elena home for a sleep – and that he didn’t need one, because he’s a big boy, so he could stay at school and do all the fun things with the other kids.

He was not convinced. He cried. I felt a bit guilty all day. But at the end of it Louis’ teacher proudly informed me that he’d actually spoken to her! Progress! It’s all in French, of course, so he’s got a lot to adjust to.

This morning he was upset again, but more readily distracted with a truly impressive selection of those toys with beads on a wire.

wire bead toy

Comme ça.

So hopefully he’s doing okay. He should be asleep at school at the moment. Elena is too (here, at home) and I could nap, probably. I have succumbed to a cold. The kids had a bit of chesty cough last week but got better within a couple of days. Lucky things.

There’s a meeting for parents at Louis’ school tomorrow, but other than that the only thing on this weekend is Antony’s famous annual cheese and wine fair. It’s incredible. The whole neighbourhood is a-buzz with preparations today. The lights are strung up like christmas. There are roads closed, stalls set up all along the streets, the whole shebang.

Might have to find me some medicinal bordeaux after I’ve picked up Louis from school.


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Islanders at Heart

Category : Seeing the World

We took the Ferry across to Ischia, out of Naples, on Saturday morning and started on our beach-bum tans while waiting for the boat. Whew! It was a hot day.

Ischia from the marinaThe island greeted us with tiny busy beaches and empty restaurants, so we went for lunch…

antisocial writersElena was asleep at this point. While we waited for our pizza I kept on with the thing I’d been writing on the ferry. And Louis did some writing too. Poor Luuk, surrounded by all these antisocial artists.

After lunch we found our bus, and then our hotel, and set out for the pool, or did we nap first? I forget. Anyway, those were the events. We hadn’t pre-booked to have dinner at the hotel so went out late in the afternoon to explore the town and find some food.

We found a playground but many of the restaurants weren’t serving yet and the one we chose served our pasta a good half hour after everything else had been eaten. Bad form! Kids were losing it. We booked dinners at the hotel every night after that and even though they weren’t always early we could at least go straight to bed after (and a few times put Elena down before dessert).

We had a ground floor room, which was particularly handy for letting the kids nap. We could sit in the lobby or even go out to the pool and check on the kids easily (don’t worry, we did so often!)

Sunday was a bit of a mess. Luuk was running out of clean clothes and ventured to town to find a laundromat. And then came the rain. I took the kids to the indoor pool for a while then returned to the room for a nap. Luuk came back, a while later, drenched and unsuccessful. If there was a laundromat in Forio he hadn’t found it, or it had been closed (Sunday afternoon, after all). So we did hand washing. Lots and lots of hand washing.

Monday was better. The sun shone. We walked down to the shore for lunch and found a restaurant with this view:

restaurant on the water, ischia Not bad, eh?

And then there was the food.

best fisherman's basket EVERThis was my lunch. Best fisherman’s basket the world over. Go on. Prove me wrong.

I did learn how to cut and de-bone tiny fish while I ate it. Educational as well as delicimoso! (Not italian, just, um, blythian?)

on the boardwalkElena and I, on the boardwalk (boards aside).

We walked down to the town again, on the hunt for singlets for Luuk, but it was siesta-time. Bad luck.

The next day we went to Ischia – the town named for the island. The rest of the time we were in/near Forio, another town on the island, Ischia. Confused. My work here is done…

The roads on Ischia (the whole island) are narrow, have no footpaths, and are really best for scooters. But there are busses, which was how we got around, and they tended to be packed full. I suppose there’s a point where it gets safer because if there’s a crash you actually cannot fall over. Anyway… to Ischia we went, on the bus, and arrived safe and sweaty.

off to the castle aragonese

Our main goal here was the Aragonese Castle, which is on a big rock off the edge of the town.

Louis and Luuk walking to the castle

Walking is way more fun on a wall, didn’t you know?

The castle has a fascinating history, but I won’t go into that in great depth. There was a nunnery up there, suffice to say, and when the nuns died their bodies would go into this crypt:
where the nuns went after death

They would be propped on these chairs and as they decomposed all the bits would drain into vessels beneath. The bones would eventually be all that remained and these were buried in mass-graves – all part of a very strict and rather bleak religious perspective.

dome on aragonese castle, ischia

The castle was both fascinating and beautiful, occasionally at the same time. There’s a cafe, here in the gardens, beside one of the many churches and the old nunnery.

climbing the aragonese castle

 

Exploring the rock/castle, a bit slower with the kids, and hotter with that hottie on my chest.

church missing its dome, aragonese castle

On the far side, another church, of which only the shell remains.

ischia in blue

For all there was to see up on the rock, there was plenty to enjoy in the view alone.

the world is my jungle gym

To Louis, the world is his jungle gym (hey, at least he’s not climbing on some two thousand year old rocks… wait, that was just before we took the photo…)

elena and I, olive terrace

At the top, on the Olive terrace, Elena (and me, if I’m honest) getting very sleep after lunch.

ischiaWe were pretty worn out by the time we finished exploring the castle, and then there was the trip back on the mad, packed busses. And doesn’t it look like rain? Well, that’s because it’s going to let rip. We ended up walking a few kms of the way home because we missed a bus (too full).

The next day was properly lazy. We did nothing, venturing out only for lunch a short walk away. The restaurant we chose was right on the beach and a little paddle after lunch was not enough, so the following day we went to the beach for the whole morning.

Luuk and Elena, post-swim

Elena, my brave girl, and her beach babe of a dad.

pizza place, on the beach, forioLunch! The same place, ah sure, why not? When you find a good pizza…

I had a lazy day next, but Luuk and Louis climbed the volcano, Epomeo of hollow-earth fame. They found lots of lizards and blackberries and gated-off tunnels (presumably where someone has gone a digging for the centre of the earth). They returned to find Elena and I well tanned and rested and I think I’d read a whole nother book at that point. I read about eight that week, and wrote a bit too. I even did postcards, though they didn’t go in a mailbox till we were back home. Bien sûr.

On our last day we went to Giardini La Mortella, incredible gardens which came highly recommended.

water lillies, with the kids

Luuk and the Kids looking for frogs.

Louis exploring giardini la mortella

Louis exploring the gardens.

lilly pads and fountains at giardini la mortella

Giant lily pads, and crazy fountains.

aviary at giardini la mortella

The aviary.

teapot bird houses at giardini la mortella

Teapots for bird houses, why the heck not?

gardens are for lovers

Art on the walls of the Temple of the Sun. It’s the eyes that get me.

drinking fountain, giardini la mortella

The drinking fountain, which Louis insisted on turning on/off and drinking from without aid. I didn’t realise how complicated it was to drink from one’s own hands, but ’tis.

frangiapanis at giardini la mortella

Frangiapanis!

louis on the turtle at the temple of the sunLouis on the turtle, in the temple of the sun.

We had fancy tea in fancy pots, with a light lunch at the tea house, then the kids crashed and we returned to the hotel for swims and naps and dinner and bed…

The next day we did the bus, ferry, bus, plane, train and walk back to our little apartment in Antony, just in time for the madness of France’s la rentrée… which I’ll tell you all about in my next post.

 

 

 

 

 


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Pompeii Day

Category : Art , Seeing the World

Thanks to Microsoft’s ‘Ancient Lands‘, a CD-Rom that came with our very first computer in 1995, I’ve been curious about Pompeii for a while now. When we started planning our Italy trip I put it on the must-see list. Really, it’s the primary reason with ended up in Naples at all.

Turns out there’s other stuff in and around Naples, but nonetheless, we reserved one whole day for the ancient buried city of Pompeii. In 79 AD Vesuvius erupted and buried much of the vicinity in ash and pumice, killing off the 20 thousand or so people living in Pompeii. The place was forgotten and nothing rediscovered until 159

pompeiiPompeii!

Interestingly, it was re-buried, basically, and this happened more than once! The frescoes discovered, each time someone stumbled upon this treasure, were too risqué, apparently. Even though it’s been a tourist destination for over 250 years now, those dodgy bits were predominantly closed to the public until the 1960s! And now, of course, they’re the most popular bit of all and feature prominently in the souvenir shops.

But somehow we managed to remain ignorant of this whole story and took a route through the city accidentally avoiding the brothel remains. (I am disappointed, yes.) Still, we saw plenty! And it was all fantastically awesome and brilliantly olde. That’s right, olde with an ‘e’. It was that olde.

theatre at pompeii

Luuk and Elena in an amphitheatre (Louis and I at the top, not pictured.)

wall relief at pompeii

Incredibly detailed artwork EVERYWHERE, but these are just a few examples.

frescoes and ceilings at pompeii

This is one of the few buildings with it’s roof intact.

ruins at pompeii

Obviously, the roof here would have caved in and rotted away, though some of this may have been an open courtyard.

forum pompeii, and vesuvius

The central forum (like a town centre), surrounded by temples and churches as well as administrative/civil offices. And that’s Vesuvius in the background.

mounting the steps of the pompeii cathedral

Luuk and the kids, heading for the remains of the cathedral.

Louis at Pompeii cathedral

Louis, playing with the rocks, in the cathedral.

sorting the stuff, bodies included, at pompeii

There are several of these store-houses containing most of the bits from within the buildings.

And, yes, that is a body. These are fascinating and macabre. When the ash/pumice fell many people were trapped and completely encased. Archaeologists discovered cavities with human bones in them. Once they figured out what they were, they filled the cavities with concrete. And, now, we have loads of these forms – human-shaped slabs of concrete with the bones STILL INSIDE! Creepy, I know, but so interesting.

frescoes, at pompeii

Incredible frescoes. Just hundreds of them. The colours on some are so vibrant, and yet they’re easily more than 2000 years old.

ceilings and crowds, at pompeii

These were ancient baths, so detailed and ornate. And quite crowded.

Lots of tour groups went in around the time we arrived but they seemed to take a shorter route and soon we were walking different paths. You can go whichever way you like but the maps suggest the order to do things in depending on which entrance you start at and how much time you want to spend. We chose the 1/2 day itinerary and then diverged from that later in the day when we realised that, even with two kids and the pushchair to wrangle, we had plenty of time.

hydrating at pompeii

The roman water supply reaches this far! Hurrah!

We needed it too. Hot weather and lots of kid-carrying and push-chair-wrestling. Look a those roads. The roads might not have been so bumpy, back in the day, but the stuff that would have filled gaps between the rocks has worn away. The roads doubled as waterways/drains and the pedestrian crossings were generally three big rocks, tall enough that pedestrians didn’t have to stand in the rivers of sticky-ick. The carriage wheels would go between these crossing-rocks.

frescoed rooms at pompeii

Many of the houses are ornate like this, but lots are blocked off for refurbishment or protection.

I suppose it’s already lasted a long time but there did seem to be some neglect around the place and I only hope little is lost. It must be a huge undertaking, excavating and preserving a whole city. Still, they bring in 11 euros per person and over 2.5 million visitors a year. looking into the cool, at pompeii

A blocked off house. You can see the concreted edges of the frescoes. This is how they protect pretty much everything – by covering it with concrete. Basically.

on our way out, with the pushchair still intact

The push chair survived! Miracle. This was toward the end of our visit, passing through the necropolis on ‘Via del Tombe’, on our way to the Villa dei Misteri and out through the Porta Vesuvio. Here’s a map, if you’re curious.

 


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Napoli Next!

Tags :

Category : Seeing the World

We arrived in Naples in the evening and, first things first, went for Pizza that night. I was pretty nervous, knowing very little about the city except its terrible reputation for pickpockets and purse snatchers… but here’s how we do it (not just in Naples, but wherever it might be dodgy):

We put all the kids’ gear, and anything else (my sketch book is about it) in the bottom of the push chair, in a re-usable type of shopping bag (our favourite is canvas, but what’s key is that it looks like it contains nothing of value – ours is grubby for good measure). Then Luuk and I keep our phones and wallets on our person. Luuk had the passports in a discreet wee money belt, but we both kept our phones in our pockets. I put my money in my bra. Safe as houses.

So the only concern was my phone, and I made sure to wear tight clothes with deep pockets, and kept my hand nearby. I often had my phone in my hand to take pics anyway.

There's graffiti and graffitiLots of graffiti, but then some of it is most definitely art.

We did manage to spend most of four days in Naples without incident. Not even a threat of incident. Perhaps it helped that we didn’t go out most evenings (tired kids, tired ourselves, and hotel restaurant was delish) and during the day we tended to be out of the hustle and bustle (and litter).

The first full day we went to Reggia di Caserta, the palace of Caserta, which is where they filmed Amidala’s palace in the star wars movies. And some part or other of ‘Angels and Demons’.

Louis and the lion on the stairs Louis and the lion, on the grand stairway.

filmed at caserta

There’s that lion! (And, ahem, Ewan McGregor.)

Queen Amidala on the stairs

Hehe! Same stairway! I’ve trod where aliens trod. (And Ewan McGregor was in this film too… hm.)

ground floor walkways at casertaThe ground floor is made up of courtyards framed by closed-off rooms (naval offices, apparently) and these spectacular walk-ways.

Hologram on the go in the palace

No holograms wandering about on the day we visited, I’m sorry to say…

There is a select part of the castle set up for visitors, with contemporary art and photography exhibited, as well as the reliefs and paintings that come with the castle, or at least look like they do. We visited that first, and then on to the main event – the gardens!

the gardens and palace at caserta The view back toward the palace.

cascades, fountains, falls

The view up, away from the palace, to the cascades.

walking and watching the fish

Elena and I at one of the many waterfalls on the way up the garden.

a long walk up the garden

Louis slept on the way up but walked back, post ice cream, happily climbing on the walls and stairs, watching the fish and fountains.

elena and the fish

Elena watching the fish, and the ones in the water too.

me and elena at some falls

Elena and I at a waterfall.

waterfalls and fountains

Another fountain/waterfall. They did make me thirsty.

louis and the fish

Louis trying to catch the fish.

It was a big walk, and slow with the kids, and scorching hot, but so lovely with all the waterfalls and fountains all the way up. I tried to talk Luuk into going back on one of the horse-carts that kept passing us, but we took the shady side of the pools on the way back, and no hurry.

elena sleeping on the train

Elena, thankfully, slept on the hour’s return train trip – it was gorgeously calm.

Louis and I, drawing on the trainLouis and I, drawing on the train trip back to Napoli.

The second day we stayed in the city and visited a couple of sights. First, the Cappella Sansevero, a chapel-cum-museum (two rooms in total) which houses several breathtaking sculptures including The Veiled Christ:

The Veiled Christ

We stood in awe awhile here – the way they made stone appear so soft and delicate and HUMAN! Incroyable. Another of the statues included a fishing net, and we could scarcely believe it was in fact stone.

There are several castles in and around Naples but one in the centre, on a hilltop, seemed a good spot to visit next. Castel Sant’Elmo is at the top of a funicular ride… but we didn’t realise we’d actually walked to the top of the funicular and when we got on it, thinking it would take us up the hill further, it only  whisked us down to the base.

riding the funicular

Oops. So we got to ride the funicular three times in total! Most of the castle is closed off but there’s an art gallery on the roof, oddly enough, and then you can walk around the ramparts and admire the view.

interesting crucifix

Apologies for badly lit photo, but this is one of the most interesting Jesus statues I’ve seen on my travels. It put me in mind of discussions in Mike Grimshaw’s Religious Studies at classes at Canterbury University – about imagery of Jesus of Nazareth. Note the woman with the fantastic shoes.

vesuvio, from castel sant'elmo, napoli View across Naples to Vesuvius.

view from ramparts of st elmo's castle Looking out at Napoli from the ramparts of St. Elmo’s castle.

view toward ischia, from st elmo's castle, napoliAnd somewhere out there is an island called Ischia, which is where we are going next!

But first, a day in Pompeii… okay, I’ll do that post tomorrow. Maybe.