No one else I know who went to Italy visited Pompeii, but it was one place I definitely wanted to go. This is for several reasons. One, I wanted to see the ruins. Two, I love the Doctor Who episode where the Doctor and Donna go to Pompeii the day Vesuvius explodes (I know…).
So my friends agreed to make a detour south before going to Rome for Catholic Easter Fest. (Although they did enjoy Pompeii as well.)
So on Wednesday afternoon we arrived in Pompeii and realized that we had come in at a different train station than the hostel recommended, and so the directions we had were useless. Deciding to keep walking anyway, we asked directions from several people who vaguely pointed ‘that way’ and followed their advice. Well, bad idea. We ended up on the corner of a street by an on ramp with no where to really go from there.
At this point, we decided to call the hostel. My friend rang them up, and tried to describe where we were. Once the guy from the hostel understood where we were, he said “You are so far. I come pick you up.” This was possibly the funniest thing that any of us had ever heard. So we waited on the corner and he arrived a few minutes later. It turns out that we weren’t all that far away, but there was no way to walk from where we were.
We stayed at Easy Bed Hostel which is relatively small, but clean and comfortable, and the staff are very nice (especially picking us up when we were lost!). They also have a great dinner you can buy for about 10€ and a very nice included breakfast.
After dropping our things off, we went to catch the bus for a tour to the top of Vesuvius. After a very bumpy, and slightly nauseating ride to the top, we were there. Except for the 20 minute hike to the real top, the crater. All of this through a bunch of fog. Or it might have been a cloud, since we were so high up. Nonetheless, it was actually cool, although disconcerting to know that we were walking over a thousand meters in the air without being able to see how high up we were.
We weren’t able to see much of the crater because of the fog. Apparently it’s rather epic when you can see the entire thing, although I did manage to snap a few partial pictures when the fog shifted.
Despite the fog, it was kind of amazing realizing that I was on top of Mt. Vesuvius.
The next day we woke early and walked to the ruins of ancient Pompeii, which were very close to our hostel.
Based on a recommendation we rented the audio guide. This was a good move because there are literally no signs in the entire place. It is vastly more interesting to learn about the ruins as you walk through the city. The audio guide was fairly well done too, and even had some humor in it.
..and of course we went to the brothel.
Walking through the ruins of this city evokes mixed feelings. It was a beautiful day, and some of the architecture was amazing despite the deterioration. You could imagine people living there, especially with the guide in your ear explaining what daily life would have been like. On the other hand, you know how it all ended. That the entire population of this city was wiped out in one day.
Pompeii shouldn’t be missed, especially if you are interested in history or archeology. It is worth the detour if you’re ever in Italy, and the ruins can be seen (in a pinch) in one day, like we did.
Only one more stop in Italy!
Ciao till Roma!