Naples, Pompeii, a set on Flickr.
After the bad tour guide experience in Rome (I'll tell you about that when I finish the Rome set) I was sick of tours. But since we booked this trip through a travel company, tours were part of our "we've never traveled anywhere overseas before" package and so off we went, this time taking our luggage.
It was a long bus ride and I was burnt out on traveling by this time. I missed my cats and I wanted to go home. But we were going to see the ruins of Pompeii! (They spell it with only one 'i', did you know?) and it was there that my enthusiasm for the adventure of this trip returned.
First though, Naples. The Bay of Naples was beautiful and we could see the mountains, THE volcano in the distance. Our tour guide was great this time (whew) but I was sort of disheartened as we began to walk away from the water. The first thing I noticed was a lot of stray dogs. And lots of graffiti. The dogs were being fed near a statue (that had graffiti on it) and it was likely a daily ritual for them because they seemed well prepared for it. It's good that they have people who feed them (construction workers? I'm not sure?) but why are there so many strays?
We walked on. More old buildings. Another square. As I said, at this time I was feeling a bit meh about the surroundings. I took photos anyway. A figure all in white appeared, statuesque, a performer, and creeped me out.
We toured a building that looked like it was built long ago but turns out it was made in the 1980s. Later, a castle we didn't go into but walked around, construction cranes in the distance, a subway system being built nearby. Then we were back on a bus and off to Pompeii!
Along the way I could see through the bus windows just how poor that Naples was - it looked impoverished on the outskirts, honestly, devastatingly so. I thought of this later when hearing of the protests, when watching the news from a hotel room when we were back in Rome again.
Pompeii is also a poor place. A poor place that happens to have the largest most wonderfully fascinating ruins of an archaeological site ever. Our tour guide explained she would only be able to show us a few places during the two hours we'd be wandering there. A very tiny bit in comparison to how massive the site is - which apparently took another tour guide I spoke with at least four visits to see much of it! - and although I was disappointed that we wouldn't be able to wander more, I could understand when seeing the map how logistically it wouldn't work.
There was an earthquake at some point that ruined the ruins a little bit more. I thought that was interesting to hear. Also, they're working on preserving what they have uncovered so far, which means there is still so much more to unearth but they just don't have the ability to do it. Think of all that is still to be discovered - incredible!
She showed us a house where paintings were preserved quite beautifully on the walls. These people really knew how to decorate! The decorating was gorgeous and puts our blah white painted walls to shame.
I wonder if we'll ever be able to uncover all of Pompeii? The volcano is still active, though dormant. It's more likely it will go off again before they ever get it done. And yes, there are people living "illegally" close to the mountain (because it was cheaper) but there is a warning system in place. One thing is for sure, the people of Pompeii don't live so lavishly as they did back in the time Pompeii was covered in ash. Not at all.
I felt excited again about the trip once we were walking the strips of the Pompeii ruins. This was what both my parter and I had wanted to see when we originally decided Italy was a place we'd like to visit.
You'd see much more of the excavations if you watch a documentary but after being there for yourself, I think we'll get more out of the documentaries now that we've visited it for ourselves.
The reason why we had our luggage with us was because after this part, we'd be off to Sorrento for the night with a day trip the next day to Capri. I haven't sorted through those photos yet but I will soon! After that, it's back to Rome --- and then finally, home.
related: post for Florence, Tuscany here!
& look at dreamy Venice, Italy here!
& I loved Como, Brunate, Lake Como here!