Doug & Heather's Voyages

Join us as we travel the world...or at least that which can be reached by cruise ship.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pompeii and Pizza, Neapolitan Style

I think today was the hardest day so far, although the weather has cooperated and was much more pleasant and less humid for us. In the morning, we headed to Pompeii and it was absolutely amazing. More than any of the other ruins we've seen, this place has the feel of walking through a real ancient city.

The city was destroyed by ash and rocks from the Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D., basically freezing everything in time. Still in tact were the mosaic floors, frescoed walls and even some of the people. Amazingly, when the site was excavated, there were rocks with hollow sections inside containing human bones. These were used as a cast and made into statues of citizens in their final moments. The expressions of fear on their face and their body positions reveal just how terrifying the eruption was. At the time, Vesuvius had not erupted for 800 years, so they had no idea that it was a volcano.

Walking through the city we saw shops, houses, even the red light district complete with a "menu" of frescoes on the walls. The thing that amazed me most was the roads which were dotted with "cat's eyes" or reflective pieces of stone which would keep them illuminated at night. The streets even had cross walks where pedestrians could step across without having to step directly in the street where all kinds of much from the horses would be hidden. (In the picture of me, Vesuvius is the peak on the left.

After Pompeii, we took a bus ride through Napoli to the a pizza restaurant (here are more pictures, Kim…Margareta Pizza, Italian Beer and Tiramisu).

The last stop was the National Archeological Museum which has the original mosaics and frescoes from Pompeii and Herculaneum (another city destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 A.D., although it was covered with lava flow and mud rather than ash). There were also a lot of amazing statues of huge proportions. Our favorite thing on the trip was the floor mosaic outside one of the Pompeii houses which has a picture of a dog and the slogan "Cave Canem"…I guess Bessie's reputation precedes her.

Found out when we returned from our tour that the trains into Rome are going to be impacted by a strike, strong unions make strong industries, I always say. So we are booked on a Rome On Your Own trip which will take us by motor coach into Roma and we'll do the same tour…too bad it's more expensive than our original plan.

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