A Day at Pompeii

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Picture of a building on the way to Pompeii with laundry hanging everywhere. Very typical of Naples and probably most of Europe.
Picture of a building on the way to Pompeii with laundry hanging everywhere. Very typical of Naples and probably most of Europe.

There are places you visit that are interesting and then there are places that you visit that make you scratch your head and say “How did they do that?” Well, Pompeii was one of those scratch your head places, similar to Petra in Jordan that we visited earlier this year. It is an amazing city that was covered by ash from the explosion of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD. We spent 3 hours walking around looking at what has been excavated over the past 300 years. That’s a lot of archeologists looking at a lot of stuff!

A storefront on the main road in Pompeii.
A storefront on the main road in Pompeii.

When the volcano exploded the city of Pompeii was covered with ash, not lava, because it was 10 km away. Many of the cities that were closer to the volcano were covered with lava, which made those much harder to excavate. When I asked our tour guide about how hard it was to excavate ash vs lava, she told me that was the key to how everything was so well preserved. The other interesting thing was all the bodies that they created by using plaster to fill the holes in the ash left by the decayed bodies. The more I see old cities from around the globe the more I realize how amazing some ancient societies were.

My day started out with a walk around 7:30 to go figure out how best to get to Pompeii, train or bus. I also needed to get cash and wanted to get some exercise. I walked about two blocks to the big bus parking lot and they told me that the first bus leaves at 10 AM and takes about 30 minutes to get to Pompeii for 2.60 euros per person, so no need to search any further. The train costs the same and is a 3 km walk. I returned to the apartment to get everyone up and ready to head to the bus, which we did with ease. It seems like we are getting much better with exiting on time than we did at the beginning of this trip.

Our Pompeii tour guide
Our Pompeii tour guide

We had scheduled an 11 AM tour, so the 10:30 arrival was perfect. We were able to walk around the area for a few minutes before settling in the office of the tour company until our tour was ready to leave. The tour guide, who I believe her name was Malinda, told everyone to follow her. We were told that the tour would be 10-25 people and there were closer to 50 people in our group. In the end, the tour guide was very helpful and we were able to stay close to her most of the time and heard everything she told us. Ilise had been to Pompeii about 25 years ago and she said that many of the artifacts that were in the city had been moved to museums around the world, especially the section of the city that demonstrated for new brides all about sexual relations. We did get to see one of the 25 brothels that they found in Pompeii, which was quite interesting.

Totally in tact vases by the hundreds lined up in store rooms around the main square in Pompeii
Totally in tact vases by the hundreds lined up in store rooms around the main square in Pompeii

We met a few other people on the tour and exited to site to find some lunch, we were all pretty hungry. We ended up buying a couple of hats for the kids and asked the vendor where they eat lunch. He told me so we headed to their suggestion. We ate a really good lunch where Drew and Noah again shared some pasta and pizza, but this time Drew ate most of the pasta and Noah the pizza. We have enjoyed the food in Naples so far and look forward to more fresh food in Rome, Florence and Venice over the next two weeks.

Drew and Noah with matching Italia hats. Haven't bought many souvenirs, but these are cute!
Drew and Noah with matching Italia hats. Haven’t bought many souvenirs, but these are cute!

We decided to take the train back to Naples so we could stop in the center of town where the best gelato shops are. We have found two of them, both of which were excellent but one gave much larger portions. We headed to the second shop and found it to be closed. Not sure if they are just closed on Monday’s or they just close for an hour or two between meals? I guess we will never know because we didn’t wait to find out. We headed to the shop we went to on our first day and everyone was able to get what they wanted. We were told that the gelato here was great, and I have to agree. I’m not a big sweets person, but I’m going to enjoy tasting the gelato in numerous places over the next couple of weeks!

Family photo at Pompeii
Family photo at Pompeii

We got back to the apartment around 5 PM and we will have a relaxing night before we head to Rome tomorrow. Thursday is Drew’s 15th birthday so we will need to plan a special day for her. Can’t imagine spending my 15th birthday in Rome, I think it’s pretty cool. In addition, with Karley back in the US the kids are getting along a lot better. I believe they have both realized that they only have each other and they better make the most of it. At lunch today we talked about how siblings can support each other and that they will never have anyone else that understands them the way they understand each other. I’m hoping that they get back to San Diego and stay really good friends for a long, long time.

To a life well lived!

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