Friday, November 4th
For our last full day in Italy we visited the ruins of Pompeii. We got on a bus (two babies, plus the stroller) in Praiano and rode it to the train station in Sorrento. There we got on the train to Pompeii. As soon as we got on, a couple guys boarded and started playing music on their saxophone and accordion, accompanied by recorded percussion.
I thought it was pretty cool and gave them a euro when the cup went by. A couple stops later, a woman got on playing the same music, but on a radio – the exact same song as the previous guys. She just walked up the aisle with this radio playing and sent her kid around with a cup for money. Some of the magic was lost.
Pompeii was destroyed by volcanoes multiple times. You can read the whole history of it online. The way that the last big eruption of Mount Vesuvius happened, a lot of the town (and people) were neatly preserved. Of course, everyone was killed, and everything not made of stone was burned away, but the city itself was pretty much frozen in time. It was nice to walk around with our tour, seeing the city and getting the details, but you never really see just ancient ruins.
It’s an active archaeology site, so there is signage and scaffolding and other modern implements everywhere. Also, there’s a ton of modern art installed throughout, so there’s that too.
It was still a good experience, and there’s a lot to see, but it really feels like a tourist destination.
Mount Vesuvius still sits in the distance. I remember when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, and that was a pretty big deal. Down in Portland, Oregon we were scooping up ash and cleaning up for days. A few people did lose their lives, but it was nothing compared to Pompeii. Here’s a website that compares volcanic eruptions throughout history. At first that chart confused me until I realized that MSH has erupted more than once. I wasn’t around for the 1900 BC event.
Back at the villa, we were treated to an amazing sunset over Praiano, and that’s how our last night in Italy ended. We still had one more Italian adventure ahead of us.
Next: November 5th (Paris)