Underneath it all

We live on the side of a hill, literally. In fact, a lot of Italian towns sit on the sides of hills. In this case our building overhangs the neighborhood of Chiaia (key-eye-uh) as well as several other buildings perched on the hillside. I’m always impressed when I’m down by the water and I look up at the buildings; how on earth did they construct them? How have they not gone plummeting down into a heap of death and destruction? How do you even GET TO THEM? I’m told physics has a lot to do with it but I imagine the stone they’re built on plays a major part. Naples sits on the remains of probably hundreds (thousands?) of ancient volcanic flows that built up over time to create tuff, or tufo as the Italians call it. Many buildings are made from it because, from what I’ve heard, it’s rather easy to cut when it’s wet yet dries extremely hard. I’m sure I’m doing a great disservice to the fields of geology and volcanology right now and for that I apologize. Underneath the city is actually a large system of tunnels and cisterns the Romans carved out of tufo to store water. You can take a tour and learn about how they were carved, used for water, used for building materials, filled with garbage, re-excavated for use by Neapolitans during the bombing raids of WWII, and now open to the public for tours. You can also visit my umbrella that I managed to drop in the cistern. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened. I’m also not sure it’s still there but I’m hoping to go see when Brian’s in town. Back to the apartment: because we sit on a ledge cut into the side of this hill our apartment on the 5th floor is actually level with the street which is awesome when you’re bringing in groceries and heavy boxes. The only potential problem I see coming from this is that in the event of an earthquake if, for some reason, the little bridge from the street to the building collapsed we’d have no way of getting to the street. It’d be a pretty far jump. Since there are a bunch of buildings built really close together I’m sure we could find a way down but hopefully we’ll never have to figure that out.

If you haven’t noticed I’m trying to force myself to write something every day hence the randomness and somewhat boring nature of these posts. I enjoy writing but usually am lost for ideas. If anyone has any questions or ideas of what you’d like to read please feel free to let me know in the comments at any time. My plan in the next few days is to attempt to make some video with the GoPro but I have to work out how I’m going to do it. I may write some posts about that which may be useful to some of the REI people, assuming any of them read this stuff.




5 thoughts on “Underneath it all

  1. Hope you don’t mind me following your posts. I like reading different blogs about people’s travels and adventures. Probably because I find myself living in some alternative corporate universe, in a cubicle farm, in downtown DC, pondering my escape from the Matrix. So, even the mundane snippets of daily life in another city or country, relieves the ennui of my current reality. I used to live in Sardegna (in the 80’s), so your descriptions and photos of Naples bring back memories that I haven’t re-visited in awhile. I remember, pannini’s and donuts in the morning and the smell of fresh baked bread on every corner. The cobble stone alleyways and streets in some areas of the city and the completely laid-back attitudes of the Italians. No one ever kept an appointment on time. Anyway, good to hear you’re doing well. Keep up the good work and maybe you’ll write a book sometime. – Joe G.

    • Hi Joey G! I’m glad to know someone is reading, it means I’m not writing for nothing. I remember you talking about when you lived over here, maybe you’ll find your way back one day. You got a new job? I hope it’s something more interesting and enjoyable than your last one. When are you moving back to Oregon? 😉

      • Not sure when i’m moving back to Oregon. The new job has me in DC for awhile. I’m a proposal writer for Colliers International, about a block west of the WhiteHouse, but I get to work from home as our work load permits. It’s definitely more interesting than the last job, pays more, but the commute sucks and I have to dress up. I much prefer my baggy cargo shorts, t-shirt and flops. Besides at home, I can play my music without headphones and not shave for awhile.

        Know that your posts are not in vain. People live vicariously through other’s travel blogs and when you write, I imagine walking the crowded streets of Napoli, maybe stopping by at a local cafe’ for an espresso or renting a Vespa to head out to the countryside to explore the ancient ruins. I think you should write about the food there. Maybe start cooking like the locals and describe the experience. Talk about the interesting Italian or Euro characters you meet and take photos of what you believe is the non-touristy part of Naples, from a perspective of someone that lives there.

        Ciao Bella!

  2. You are doing volcanology no disservice! You’re right about tuffs – they’re, um, tough, especially this kind, because in that part of the world, they’ve been “welded” by the massive heat that came out when it erupted. So picture lots of ash and small rocks and stuff exploding out, and piling up on the ground, while a blast of crazy heat flows through, welding all that stuff together into some seriously solid rock.

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