Pompeii

13naples

Location: Amalfi Coast, Italy

We made port in Salerno, Italy early this morning. Salerno is at the southern end of the famous Amalfi Coast. And it’s only a 45 min drive north to get to the much larger city of Naples. But we weren’t here to look at scenic cliffs and seaside towns; we had loftier ambitions. We boarded our tour bus in the morning and made our way to Mount Vesuvius.

We eventually arrived near the top of the infamous Volcano. Our guide let us off the bus and told us to hike up the trail (300m up) where we will meet another guide who will give us a tour around the peak. He said it was a 20 min hike.

You can kinda see the path up the volcano in this picture.
You can kinda see the path up the volcano in this picture.
The view of Naples.
The view of Naples.

 

 

 

Forty-five minutes later we reached the top. Due to the limited time, we and several other people on the tour declined the additional guide, and explored the volcanic rim on our own.  

The crater.
The crater.
View with a fish-eye lens.
View with a fish-eye lens.

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It took us another 30 min to make it down the mountain and board the bus again. Our next stop was Pompeii. It was not a long drive. Naturally the lost city would be near to the volcano that destroyed it.  

Walking down the mountain.
Walking down the mountain.

 

Our guide told us that it normally takes two days to explore Pompeii. We had two hours. He did a good job taking us through the city, hitting the highlights and carefully explaining their significance. We began at the theater where he explained and demonstrated the design and acoustics. Next, we walked along the elevated sidewalks beside the streets. The tough lava rock prevented the Romans from building a sewer system in the city. Instead the sidewalks and structures were built above the base of the roads. The roads doubled as means of removing water from the city during storms. Only carts, chariots and animals walked the streets.  They even built ‘crosswalks’ so people did not have to walk in the water to cross a street.  

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The 'crosswalks'
The ‘crosswalks’
A theater
A theater

Next we visited a Pompeii home. We saw the bath and courtyard, as well as the other normal rooms of a residence. We also saw human bones and broken volcanic-ash husks. This house was looted post-excavation disturbing and breaking the husks before they could be properly preserved. When the pyroclastic flow destroyed the city, it immediately enveloped the bodies of people. This created tight stone outlines of the people as they died. These statue like objects still exist today. Over time, the bodies would decay away inside the husks leaving only bones. The husks are fragile unless filled with cement.

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Bones in the display cases.
Bones in the display cases.

We would see examples of intact husks later in the public baths.

The Baths
The Baths
An intact 'husk'
An intact ‘husk’

Our next stop took us to the brothel. Detailed illustrations of the services offered still appear on the walls today. Rachel did get some pictures, but they are not PG rated. You’ll have to google it to see them. And FYI, the gift shops outside the city sold magnets and calendars with these illustrations. And no, we did not buy any.

Last we went to Forum. There was a very nice view of Vesuvius.

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Later in the afternoon we made it back to the ship. We boarded and relaxed in the hot tub for the last time. Afterwards we packed our bags because we go home tomorrow. We had our last dinner with our cruise companions as well tonight. We’re sure to see them again on another vacation.

In other news, our cruise companions when on a scenic boat tour of the Amalfi Coast. They enjoyed it and shared war stories of their tour with us at dinner.

Tomorrow we disembark the ship early in the morning and fly back home.

Total steps: 16,001

Total time Rachel got out of a hot tub without injury: 12/12

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