Sunday, 15 January 2012

Naples and Pom Pom Pompeii

Naples is reputed to be the home to some of the best food in Italy.  Unfortunately, we did not find anything truly outstanding.  In fairness to the region, we did not have much time to explore and see the food.  Naples was the landing point for us to go visit Pompeii, an hour or so away.

The area surrounding the main train station in Naples is definitely a bit dodgy, so we didnt go exploring much at night.  The next day, we set out to Pompeii.  Passing by Mount Vesuvius on the way was cool - just imagining the top of that volcano blowing off and the amount of destruction it wreaked is mind boggling.

Pompeii was not what we expected.  We figured to see some of the plaster casts of people who were caught in the ash dump and forever captured in their last dying poses.  Some were apparently shocked and others looked like they were caught in their sleep.  The surprising part is that the ruins of the city were huge and the excavations very extensive.  It must have taken years to clean and restore it to the point it is now.  We easily cleared 5 or 6 hours there.  The first 2.5 hours felt like 30 minutes.  We pleasantly strolled through the ruins (once again, very empty of visitors due to the low season...yay!), had some surprisingly decent pizza, and explored some more with our audio guide.

Several of the sites were closed for restoration but we met a sneaky guide who took us past a fenced area (by peeling it back) and showed us some half cleared ruins and plaster casts.  In some of them, we could still see the bones of the children, men, and women in their last poses.  VERY somber indeed but a highlight of the site and it only cost us a couple of Euros.  We left our sneaky guide with some other people and later saw him again, giving a tour of other areas to tourists.  Enterprising guy, indeed, as most of the guides hang outside and get their groups there only.  Once inside, it can be easy to find lost people and offer them more information.

After a long day of walking through the ruins, we went back to Naples, had dinner and called it a night.

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