Pompeii   Leave a comment

The Appenines

The Appenines

Leaving Rome and the region of Lazio, we’re headed south on the Autostrada del sol (Highway of the Sun). The Apennines meander alongside and are dotted with the odd monastery or white crucifix atop the hills. At one point, there were even some wind turbines. It wasn’t pretty seeing them, they ruin the landscape, but I remember thinking it’s good they are so far away from people.

Napoli – in the region of Campania, Napoli sits at the top of the Bay of Naples. From here we see the only thing between us and the ruins of Pompeii…the volcano, Mount Vesuvius. According to volcanologists, she’s about ready to blow sometime soon. So after a quick tour and photo stop in the city, we high-tail it towards Pompei.

Donadio Coral & Cameo Factory – it’s fascinating to watch the artisans create cameos by chiseling away at sea shells. There’s plenty of jewellery to buy which I normally would have loved to look at but I fell in love with a sculpture of a young girl and wished I could take it home as my Italian souvenir.

Pompeii Ruins – I hang back from our group so I can get an unobstructed view of the empty shopping street and I find myself transported back to 79AD, just before Vesuvius blew her stack (the volcano is only about 8km away). I can actually see the carriage tracks and the huge high stones (also known as speed bumps) which allowed people to avoid the waste and water while crossing the street. I envision not Best Buy, Louis Vuitton or McDonalds but the blacksmith’s shop, the cobbler and the local watering hole.

I imagine life to be much harder back then but, in a way, also much simpler. Such an oxymoron. This is an incredible place. Even I find it fascinating, and I’m not really interested in history. To see figures of people at their most vulnerable moment as they were caught in the eruption is heartbreaking, so much so that when I aimed my camera at the form of a pregnant woman, I simply lowered it and walked away. I couldn’t bring myself to snap a photo, I didn’t need to see it again. It’s permanently engrained in my brain.

Note: the bodies were filled with plaster when they were excavated to preserve the position each one was in when the eruption occurred.

On a much lighter note, follow the phalic-shaped street arrow and it leads you to the brothel. Make your selection from the visual menu on the wall and the stone beds will send you straight to the hospital, which just happens to be right next door…how very apropos!

Note: You need good walking shoes, a water bottle (you can fill up at the many fountains on the way) and at least a couple of hours to get an appreciation of the Pompeii ruins. Go with a guide. If you get a good one, as we did, they practically make the ruins come alive.

I’m not sure how to follow the bit about the brothel so I’ll simply say next stop…Capri and the Amalfi Coast.

Posted October 1, 2014 by Jaclyn in Architecture, Holidays, Italy, Travel

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