Things didn’t get off to the best start with our Pompeii adventure. I decided we should take the tourist bus there. But could I find the bus stop in the relentless rain – after paying 35 euros for our tickets? No, I could not.
Various helpful Napolitanos pointed us in various unhelpful directions before we finally landed at the correct stop, waited 30 minutes and then we’re told the traffic was so bad we needed to meet the bus down at the port.
Cue repeat experience of various helpful Napolitanos pointing us in various unhelpful directions.
But finally we were on our way.
I’m not sure I’d recommend the tourist bus, it’s too obtuse and prisoner to the hell that is Naples traffic. If I had my time over I’d catch the train, which also drops you off right out the front of the ruins.
Pompeii itself was almost overwhelming in its size and magnificence. There are endless ancient streets filled with endless shops and mansions and amphitheatres and markets.
It’s totally incredible.
I was completely fascinated, but also hot, bothered and foot sore after four hours of wandering … And I reckon we only saw a third of the place if we were lucky.
Our progress wasn’t helped by the eldest doing her back in about halfway along the journey. She suffered a nasty netball injury last year and something “clicked” when she stumbled on the uneven street paving in Pompeii. She limped pale-faced through the rest of the afternoon.
(Any suggestions on how I can help her? The Italian version of Voltaren gel?)
I was mad keen to see the actual people ruins in Pompeii – they look eerily awesome, poor them – but, dammit, the maps provided (in Italian only) were very elusive on the subject and the eldest’s back just wasn’t up for the search. Oh, how I’m yearning to go back today for another explore!
Fortunately I got to see lots of other amazing stuff. It messes with my mind to imagine how beautiful the city must have been before Vesuvius blew.
So many parts of the city are incredibly well preserved, almost 2000 years after the tragedy. I was transfixed by the frescoes and mosaic floors and courtyard gardens. There are even bits of original marble pathway and terracotta plumbing that doesn’t look much different to the stuff we use today.
Oh, and the food shops blitzed me too, with their marble-topped snack bars: pottery urns beneath holes in the countertop that were filled with Italian delicacies.
We were so tired last night that we simply tottered to the nearest pizzeria for dinner (with a soothing Prosecco for mum). I was worried about eating in a “tourist trap” but it turned out to be my favourite meal so far on the trip. Then we collapsed in bed with our electronic devices.
Today is supposed to be a Centro Historico and museum day but I’ll have to see if the eldest can walk. She might be confined to bed so she has a chance to recover for the Colloseum with her dad on Sunday.
Here are a few snaps from yesterday: