The world is full of wonder and mystery, as a little girl I once learned about what happened to the ancient Roman city Pompeii, all I learnt at that time was that the inhabitants of the city were hit by a massive volcanic explosion, the lava came gushing down on the city, freezing there helpless bodies through time. This always fascinated me and was one of my highlights for the Italy trip I made back in 2015.
You know how books only describe what a place is like, well my school books had pretty much altered facts, maybe just dumbing it down a bit for us Eight year olds, you experience history when you actually experience the place, not through vicarious means, and so did I, in this blog I’m going to talk about my visit to Pompeii, the ruins of the city, my hike to Mt. Vesuvius, which by the way is still an active volcano with a sprawling city of 3 million people just under the gargantuan.
We checked in into a decent hotel del Sole on our arrival in Pompeii, it was a short bus ride from Rome, took us around 3-4 hours to get there. These guys have free breakfast and they are located right outside the site of the ruins, so we pretty much walked there. We had booked the place for 2 days and the plan was to cover the ruins in those 2 days, but we made some minor adjustments to the plan later.
The Ruins of Pompeii
Covered in volcanic dust and preserved for many many years, people just happened to find old paintings and inscriptions on walls while digging an underground channel back in 1599, calling in an artist who hid them in an attempt to preserve them from the orthodox mindset of that time, they were properly excavated in the late 1700s by Karl Weber and over the years by others revealing a full functioning city of the Roman times.
This city was rich and was inhabited mainly by the aristocratic class of the Roman Empire. The tickets cost 15 Euros if you want to visit only Pompeii, more if you want to see other towns http://www.pompeiisites.org/Sezione.jsp?idSezione=6786 will help you with more ticket information. These can be bought at the entrance.
It’ll take you hours walking through the paved roads of this ancient city, the mansions of the high ranking officers and the smaller quarters of the low ranking proletariat. You’ll see kitchens, seating areas, public baths and many more.
What I liked about this place was how they let stray dogs roam around free through the ruins, these dogs are rather, well taken care of, they get their spoils from the many local restaurants in the area. Calmly walking through and probably peeing on the ruins which are more than 20 centuries old.
Tip: Take a guide to explore the ruins, although we hadn’t and we just relied on maps and Wikipedia, I happened to walk by one group, which had hired a guide, I feel it’s great to know the history from them rather that reading about it.
The Trek to Mt. Vesuvius
We had half a day at hand and how to best spend it than to go for a trek on one of history’s most formidable mountains. The treks simple and will take you about 2 hours to reach the top. The air does get thinner, well not too much. You should carry appropriate shoes as there’s a lot of rubble on the track and the moment we reached the top it got slightly cold. The place was filled with other people tourists and locals alike and we got some great shots up close to the active volcano. Vesuvius has erupted time and again, its last being in 1944, it’s still an active volcano.
What else can you do in and about Pompeii?
Pompeii is one of the popular sights, there are more towns from that time that were affected by the volcano. There are seven actually. You can take a train to them, there Herculaneum which is so close to Vesuvius, that the volcanic vapours were so hot that they could melt glass!, people probably just vanished into thin air leaving only ashes behind there.
This ancient Roman city is filled with history and relics that you’ll find awe-inspiring and will give that little history buff inside you something to talk about for ages, I know mine did.
Have you been to Pompeii, or want to visit? Tell me what you did and how fascinating you found the place.