Subterranean Naples

Anyone who knows me knows I have a wanderlust. There are even books written about my travel adventures.

My latest voyage took me to six countries in and around the Mediterranean, including two I’d never been to before. One of our destinations was Naples. Having been to Pompeii and Vesuvius on a previous visit to this part of Italy, we decided to stay inside the UNESCO World Heritage Zone of the city.

Or should I say, under it?

Heading down the 136 steps into subterranean Naples

Centuries before the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed the Roman town of Pompeii, the Greeks delved into the roots of the Earth beneath Neapolis (as Naples was called at the time) to quarry stone from which to build the city and its walls.

Reconstruction of Greek mining techniques in an actual Greek quarry, 130 feet beneath the surface

Miners and rock moved in and out through shafts, which later became wells

Probably the tallest cistern/quarry we saw on the tour

Shaft/well entrance in the roof of the quarry/cistern

Later, the Romans excavated over 250 miles of tunnels connecting the Greek quarries. This produced a vast underground system of cisterns and aqueducts, which stretched as far Pompeii and beyond.

A typical tunnel between two cisterns

A larger cistern, the red line shows where the normal water level would have been

For centuries, hundreds of wells tapping into these subterranean reservoirs provided Naples with water.

A well heading back to the surface, complete with steps so cistern-cleaners could get in and out

Some of the re-excavated cisterns have been re-filled with water

In 1884, a cholera epidemic resulted in the aqueduct being permanently closed. Over the following decades, the wells instead became a convenient place for Neapolitans to dispose of their garbage.

One of the lower-roofed cisterns, although the original floor is several feet below the current one, thanks to the refuse thrown down here

An idea of the amount of rubbish that accumulated

During the Second World War, the tunnels were given a new lease of life, as air-raid shelters.

Depiction of Second World War bombs in one of the former quarries

Mock-up of bombs falling through a former well

More recently, the Associazione Napoli Sotterranea has begun re-excavating some of the refuse-clogged tunnels, and providing tours of some of the newly-accessible spaces and passages.

Artistic representation of the excavations

Old toys found during the excavations

Our guide, Yuri, tell us about this experiment into growing plants in the tunnels

Exploring the ancient underground labyrinth well over 100 feet beneath the city, was certainly the highlight (or more literally, low lightless) of our day in Naples!

Collecting our candles for the most exciting part of our tour

It gets pretty narrow at times

Please don’t go out!

Is there anyone there?

One of the most impressive rooms we were shown

Subterranean Sue!

A cellar once used by nuns

Another shaft back to the everyday world of modern Naples

Heading back up there ourselves!

This post was inspired by this photo themes of Wanderlust and Roots from the Daily Post, Earth from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?, and Winter-Water from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

Expand your child’s mind (and your own) by travelling the World with the Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

 

Posted in Travel, Jaspa's Journey, Europe, History, Adventure, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sam’s Ses Challenge #15: Glow

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Glow.

Here’s my contribution:

I got up in the middle of the night last night, in the hope of seeing the glow of lava erupting from the volcanic island of Stromboli in the Mediterranean Sea. Sadly, although the weather was fairly clear, and we passed within about 10 miles of the island, I couldn’t see any evidence of volcanic activity in the dark.

But it got me thinking about the two times I have seen the fiery glow of lava at night. In both instances it came from the Halema’uma’u crater of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

As the Sun sets on Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the glow emanating from the crater’s lava lake Grows in intensity.

For Security reasons (health-related security, that is), you can’t  get any closer than the Jagger Museum site, a mile or so from the crater. But the glow of Fire-red lava reflected by the steam and gasses escaping into the black night sky is still breathtaking!

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by Summer – Fire from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Security from the Daily Post, and Grow from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?

Expand your child’s mind (and your own) by travelling the World with the Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

Posted in Adventure, Environment, Sam's Ses Challenge, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Sam’s Ses Challenge #14: Big

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Big.

Here’s my contribution:

The Big Tree is located in Redwood National & State Parks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in California. And this tree deserves its name. At 304 feet high and 68 feet in circumference, it’s one of the very biggest trees on the planet.

It’s also estimated to be around 1500 years old, which must put it among the oldest things alive.

Beside its sheer dense massiveness, I felt even smaller than usual. But somehow that didn’t matter. I was just in awe.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by Dense from the Daily Post, Spring – Wood from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Old from Dale’s Thursday Challenge.

The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

Posted in Adventure, Environment, Sam's Ses Challenge, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site, USA | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sam’s Ses Challenge #13: Water

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Water.

Here’s my contribution:

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The whole, expansive area is so green. Even the water, which indeed drives the entire ecosystem, is green. It tumbles from lake to lake in dozens of waterfalls.

And winding through the landscape is a network of paths and rustic boardwalks, which allow you to walk for hours across pools and right to the bottom of many of the waterfalls.

The water-wonderland of Plitvice is absolutely magical.

Below are a few more photos to tempt you to visit my original, full post on my visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by It IS Easy Being Green from the Daily Post, View From the Back, Bottom or Underneath from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Winding from Paula of Lost In Translation, not forgetting Cee’s Which Way Challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk, of course.

The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

Posted in Environment, Europe, Sam's Ses Challenge, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Sam’s Ses Challenge #12: Rise

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Rise.

Here’s my contribution:

1353 feet above Chicago, braving one of the Four glass-floored cubes that form The Ledge, part of the Skydeck experience Atop the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by Atop from the Daily Post, Four from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?, and my own post from earlier in the week Vertigo above Chicago – The Willis Tower Ledge.

The Four glass cubes of The Ledge (one of them retracted) Atop Chicago’s Willis Tower

The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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Vertigo Above Chicago: The Willis Tower Ledge

Completed in 1974, the 108-storey Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) remained the tallest building in the World until 2010, when it was succeeded by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

The normal views from the Skydeck observation platform on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower are simply magnificent. I mean, how often do you get to look down on skyscrapers without the aid of some kind of aircraft?!

Yet you can take the thrill of being so high a step further (pun intended), by walking out onto The Ledge. This knee-wobbling attraction consists of four retractable glass boxes, each of which can be rolled out to form a balcony jutting four feet from the side of the building.

Can you see The Ledge?

What about now?

From one of these boxes the view to the side is of your friends, suspended 1353 feet above the street, atop one of the highest skyscrapers in the World.

My natural instinct was not to step out onto the glass floor, of course. But you only live once, right?

With Rich and Sue on The Ledge

A unique View to the Side, featuring me and Sue

This post was inspired by this photo themes of Atop and Instinct from the Daily Post, and View From The Side from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

There’s a lot of nothing beneath our feet!

The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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Sam’s Ses Challenge #11: Uphill

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Uphill.

Here’s my contribution:

The Uphill Path in the photo leads to the  Castillo de San Felipe del Morro (aka. El Morro) in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. To learn more about my time there, visit my recent post The Forts and Tunnels of Old San Juan.

A more Abstract Uphill Path over the last few years has been finding a new publisher for the Jaspa’s Journey books. Thankfully, that Journey has been successful. The Great Migration and The Pride of London are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes later this year.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by the photo themes of Paths from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?, Traces of the Past from Paula of Lost In Translation, Cee’s Which Way Challenge and Abstract from the Daily Post.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

Posted in Caribbean, History, Jaspa's Journey, Publishing, Sam's Ses Challenge, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments