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2011: The unforgettable summer

I don't think I will ever forget this summer. It started well, with a mad hatters tea party on Clapham Common, excellent friends coming to visit, a lovely supper with caddyman and ellefurtle and an escape to the cotswolds to be with the wonderfulvelvet_the_cat and very dear Dan sans LJ. Happy, happy boot! And then there came our first holiday in ages, and our last in Italy, for a while at least.

So away we went to the coast where Odysseus heard the seadaughters calling him. The waters around Amalfi were long haunted by those sirens who tempted so many; modern versions are now found on sailing boats with names like Butterfly, South Wind and Silver Star, and on huge megaships complete with helicopter pads and secret owners.

Here's a spellbinder: Hire a boat privately and take it out on the blue with a few friends. The little towns of Praiano and Positano are very charming as they cling to the steep cliffs, and Amalfi itself is pure magic. But there is no equal to taking the boat out into the ocean and then dropping anchor in some quiet place where the water is clear and beautifully warm. Then down off the boat and in, until it's time to move on, no pollution, no noise, no crowds, just the sun, the water and fish flitting between your feet.

At some point there's a wonderful restaurant, such as Boot was taken to on her birthday, a place called 'Il Pino' in tiny Praiano. This place does the most absolutely phenomenal food, backdropped by a view of tiny islands in the bay, one called Ulysse Island. It was owned by Rudolf Nureyev, and is still private now. It looks haunted. So let's take the boat out, explore, then keep moving. Come back? Why would you want to do that?

Eh *shrug* hard not to write Naples off as a bit of a dump. The city has great beauty under all the graffitti and litter, but ironically, many of the fascinating parts of town are specifically dangerous after dark, hunting grounds of the camorra. Still, here's the good stuff we found in a day: brilliantly cooked unpretentious pizza at Da Michelle, some luscious pastries at a random cake shop and most delish of all, a cone of dark chocolate/rosemary icecream at a chocolate shop called 'Gay-Odin'. Never tasted anything like that before. Luscious. Almost the star of the city, except for one more thing: the National Archeological Museum of Naples. Here, I pause for breath because things are about to get sticky...

The National Archeological Museum of Naples would be stunning without its collections of treasures, mosaics and paintings from nearby Pompeii; with these additions, it becomes a treasurey of sex, and never more so than in the Gabinetto Segreto, or Secret Room.

What the Secret Room teaches us is that Pompeii was dangerous long before Vesuvius blew; basically it was the kind of place you wouldn't bend down to pick up your change.

The Gabinetto Segreto is a collection of wondrous unsavouries from Pompeii, city of the phallically obsessed: penises were everywhere carved into walls and over doorways, kept for warding off bad luck, bringing fertility, showing directions to the brothel, sex, sex, sex and the vine, intoxication, an ancient world dripping with death and hunting and fucking. Flying cocks, erect cocks, cocks that turned into tigers, cocks with bells on. No lesbian trysts to be seen, but little else was missing. In the Secret Room were erotic paintings and sculptures taken from the ruins, favoured positions, fellatio, cunnilingus, sodomy, hermaphrodite surprises, comedy sex, pygmy sex, comedy pygmy sex, Pan copulating with a nanny goat, a carved torso sans head, limbs, identity, everything in fact except a massive bulge under its toga; proof that if a man tries hard enough, even death can't end his erection.

In nearby Pompeii we found ordinary houses too; Some beautiful, like the house of the tragic poet with a mosaic of a friendly dog, (the world's first 'Cave Canem' warning)some ordinary; a bakery, a fast food joint, an ancient tavern, the market itself, and of course body casts. A bust of Jove could be seen in his temple in the forum. He looked pleasantly forlorn, his face all smiles while Vesuvius loomed behind him in the sky.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Sounds fabulous!
Jul. 20th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
Hello there!

It was fabulous, less so for the driver than for everyone else. While we were all oohing at the extraordinary views, Russ had to concentrate on the roads. They hug the coast, are narrow and full of blind hairpin curves, people park along the sides cos there's nowhere else, and the scooter is king. One in every three cars had a major dent, two in every three had scratches along the sides!

Can't wait to catch up with you!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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