Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pompeii, Vesuvius and Herculaneum

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Mike and I were both very excited to visit Pompeii and see the ruins in person. I remember being fascinated by the whole story when first learning about it in school long ago and have always wanted to come. We arranged a tour with Antonio of PompeiTour.com. He emailed me a week before we got there (so we were already on our trip) to let me know he had fallen and broken some ribs so he couldn't do the tour but had his driver and another guide ready for us. I was a little nervous but it all worked out just fine. We learned a lot from our guide as she walked us around the huge site at Pompeii. Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 and it is seriously crazy to see how advanced this city was...even if it was also a hedonistic one :-).
We were then taken to Vesuvius from Pompeii and climbed to the top to look inside the volcano. We had hot chocolate at the top that hit the spot :-) and collected a few rocks for the kiddos.
We still had quite a bit of time left in our day and our flight to Sardinia wasn't leaving until 10pm that evening so we asked our driver if it would be possible to also visit the ruins at Herculaneum. I had not realized it was so close and I am SO glad we went! Of course you need to go to Pompeii and see it (it is enormous and the most famous), but I think I actually enjoyed Herculaneum even more. The ruins are better preserved and because they are less visited you were more free to wander around. Based on the things we had learned from our guide at Pompeii we were able to pick out a lot of details on our own and enjoyed taking it all in.
(what would have been the docks of Pompeii, which was a port city!)
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detailed walkways
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Shop doors slid open and you could spot the grooves in many of the doorways that were left. I wish I had taken a picture later of one that didn't have a gate covering it.
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white stones to light the way on the road at night (reflected moon light)...so smart
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hole up on the curb where there would have been a pole to hitch horses
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It was so nice to be in this main square first before it was crowded with big tour groups...and so disappointing that it was filled with modern art from some local artist who died recently (I tried not to get them in pictures but sometimes it was unavoidable).
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an anchor
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fountains were spread out around the city
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grooves in the roads from where wagon wheels drove consistently
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large stones to walk across the road over sewage and drains at the end of the road
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counters of shops (we saw multiple around Pompeii and then also around Herculaneum)
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to grind grain
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so many details EVERYWHERE
"Beware of Dog"
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in the baths
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carved pictures on the corners to show what kind of shops were in that area (the white plaques are obviously not original and just used to keep track of the city by archaeologists, etc)
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a pipe...almost 2,000 years old!
Our guide told us that they think the lead pipes may be part of why the people were so small and only lived to about 40 years old.
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On to Vesuvius!
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And then Herculaneum
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Mike, the artist, haha :-)
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You could walk around and touch so many of the remains here...so crazy! That's wood!
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where wood beams would have been
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From there it was back to our hotel, where we had been able to leave our bags all day since our flight to the island of Sardinia wasn't until 10pm. We knew we wanted more Il Gelato for dessert but for dinner weren't sure what to do so we went in search of good pizza, which Naples is famous for. After walking around a bit we gave up and just asked the girls working at Il Gelato and we loved their suggestion, Ristorante Pizerria Matozzi. The food was good, pretty cheap and right on square/road with good people watching. We had one of our very last gelatos...seriously depressing.. and then hung out at the hotel for a couple hours before heading to the airport to hang out a couple MORE hours. If our flight could have been about 3 hours earlier it would have been perfect ;-). The Naples airport was actually really nice though and we were so excited to visit Sardinia and get to see Christina!!! Farewell to the mainland!
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