Post # 3 in my Mediterranean Adventure series…..Pompeii!
I’ve been so busy catching up and I had house guests, so I’ve been bad about getting the posts written for this series. This is the next post in my Mediterranean Adventure series and will focus on my day in Pompeii.
The first port on the cruise was Naples, Italy. We were told when in Italy, it is called Napoli, not Naples – they said that “Naples” is in Florida! hahaha Napoli is the capital of Campania and is the third largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan. Napoli comes from the Greek word Neapolis which means “new city” or “new town”. It was originally given this name by its early Greek inhabitants in the 8th century BC.
We arrived in port at 6:16 am and had to be back on ship no later than 4:30 pm. Possible sights to see while in this port were Napoli, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Isle of Capri, and Pompeii. I chose to do a 4 hour “Pompeii On Your Own” tour that started at 8:15 am. A bus took us from the ship to Pompeii with a guide who talked about what we were seeing along the way – so it was also a Napoli city tour – and what we could expect when we got there. She then walked us from where the bus had to park to the site and showed us where to get audio headsets and where to go, etc.
I have to start by saying I didn’t get full enjoyment out of this day and this port….it wasn’t the port or the tour’s fault – it was all amazing – I’ll get into that in a bit!!! But – the night before – just before I settled in for the night – I got an email from my brother saying he got a call from the kennel that my beautiful Megan was staying at saying that she was going down hill fast and they didn’t think she’d last till I got back. Megan was 16 and was definitely showing her age of late, so I told him to take her to my vet to get her opinion. I’d been expecting the need to say goodbye to my sweet girl, but not quite this soon – she was old, but still doing well for her age. So, I got up that day in the port of Napoli knowing that in a few hours when it was morning back home that I would be getting a call that was likely a confirmation that she was in her final hours or days. So, I went on the tour – I considered canceling it and staying on ship, but there was nothing I could do – everyone was sound asleep back home – and I came a long way to miss out on something so iconic!!! When I returned to the ship, I waited for the call…..and, yes, my vet confirmed she was in final stages of kidney failure and she could keep an eye on her for a few days, but it would only be to watch her decline. My brother did what he knew I wanted – to not allow her to suffer and hang on for no possibility of a happy ending – and they helped her cross the rainbow bridge. It was OK — I was expecting to say goodbye – she was 16 and had a long and happy life with me and she was loved so incredibly much. She was not alone – the folks at the kennel were awesome and my brother and vet were with her, holding her as she passed, so she was loved till the very last second of her life. It is hard whenever we lose our fur-babies, but being 5000+ miles away when it happens brings “difficult” to a whole new level! Anyway – I say all this to explain why this post may not be as robust as other posts about amazing adventures I’ve taken. It was a difficult day and my heart just wasn’t in it.
So – back to the adventure!
Seen from the bus as we left the port
I was so looking forward to Pompeii and it didn’t disappoint. I had a bit of trouble with the tour — first, it was a VERY long walk from the bus to the site and then another VERY long line and walk to get in. Not to mention it was brutally hot at 98 degrees!
I took my time and walked a little and sat a little — it was about 98 degrees!!!
The first day of the cruise was in port in Rome waiting to sail and an overnight journey to Napoli, so I had recovered from all the walking and climbing that did me in after the visit to the Vatican and the day before wandering all around Rome. But, it didn’t take long for my knee and back to start screaming at me. Then, the audio headset I got was in some other language – I think Italian, but I wasn’t sure. I found out later I could change it to English, but the guy who gave it to me didn’t tell me that and I didn’t discover it wasn’t in English until I was well beyond the line and entrance area. So — I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Couple that with all I could think about was the phone call I was going to have to deal with when I got back to the ship and it kinda put a damper on the day.
It was still the most amazing feeling and so cool to be standing in a place that was destroyed by a volcano in 79 AD…… 1,943 years ago……and it’s ruins are still there telling their story……mind blowing!!! I got as far as the entrance to the city and the view of Mt Vesuvius in the distance and was overwhelmed with emotion and sense of awe. I could see that going any further would not be good on my knee and back, so I sat there and just took in the idea of what happened there almost 2000 years ago. We think we have history here – 200+ years, but going anywhere in Europe and other countries show us just how inferior that timeframe is. WOW!!!
I would have tried to go a bit further, but I took my time so much that it was getting late and I didn’t want to miss my bus back to the ship — I was concerned if I really messed up my knee, I wouldn’t make it back! But, it’s OK……I was somewhere totally incredible and loved every minute of what I did see and the overwhelming emotions!!!
So – if you didn’t pay attention in history class… Pompeii was an ancient city located in what is now the commune of Pompeii, near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with many villas in the surrounding area, was buried under 4 to 6 meters (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Largely preserved under the ash, the excavated city offered a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the moment it was buried. The eruption lasted for two days. The first phase was of pumice rain lasting about 18 hours, allowing most inhabitants to escape. That only approximately 1,150 bodies have so far been found on site seems to confirm this theory and most escapees probably managed to salvage some of their most valuable belongings.
Beyond this ridge are the remains of an entire city – homes, churches, forums, etc.
Mount Vesuvius looming in the distance….still an active volcano with the last eruption occurring in 1944. It is considered one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world because of the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants in the area that could be impacted should it have another major eruption.
View of Napoli from the ship
I returned to the ship and went to the buffet for a light lunch to wait for my brother’s call. After, I found a nice spot in the sun on the deck to get a handle on the emotions of the day….it was quite the rollercoaster ride, for sure!
Dinner consisted of Singapore Pork Potstickers and Hawaiian Pork Belly with mashed yams – VERY GOOD!!! I skipped dessert – I was exhausted and went to take a quick nap before the evening show – which I ended up sleeping though.
It was an amazing experience — do I wish things had gone different so I could have seen more of the ruins? Absolutely! But, I was there and it was incredible!!!
Next port I’ll write about is Livorno – Pisa and Florence in the Tuscan region of Italy……spectacular!!!