Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Naples, Vesuvius and Pompeii

Cruise ships are great for getting you from one interseing place to another and I much prefer it to the hassle of airports. The only trouble is the time you have to visit the places of interest can be a bit limited.
However, the ship docked early in the morning in the port for Naples and I had booked to take the day tour which included climbing Mount Vesuvious and visiting Pompeii.
Vesuvius is a volcano which has blown its top on several occasions - the most well known when in destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79AD.
It looks pretty dormant today when you gaze down into the crater at the top, but I gather it is still classed as active in geological terms. The climb up was pretty long and tiring (hard work on dusty volcanic ash and rubble) but envigorating.
From Vesuvius it was down to Pompeii. This is somewhere I had always wanted to visit and had seen several documentaries about it on the TV over the years. I wondered if this would spoil it for me but it didn't.
The town is amazing and it is so big. Streets criss-crossing which in the first century had lots of shops (you can see the grooves in the doorways where the sliding doors were) and houses and public areas. The sanitation and drainage the Roman had puts the poor mediaeval Brits to shame.
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to go into the main museum which houses most of the best artefact, including the encased bodies of those who seccumbed to the ash, but there were a few at the site. What a terrible way to die.
I would have loved to have seen Herculaneum as that town is still being uncovered, but time did not permit so it was back to the ship for the two day cruise down to the Greek Islands.
Photo: M Muir - Frozen almost two centuries ago in volcanic ash - a falorn figure awaits its final resting place

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