Pompei and Mt Vesuvius
Trip Start May 09, 2010
39Trip End Ongoing
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Naples has a lot of history and many old buildings and, of course, churches but it seemed to me that these are very uncared for and although Neapolitans have a strong sense of pride, this doesn't extend to looking after their city. As in Palermo, there was rubbish everywhere and many buildings were falling down.
One of the things that Napoli is famous for is their figurines. If you ever want a really great nativity scene for Christmas then this is the place to buy one. They also make all sorts of other figurines including bread and pizza makers and many of these are mechanical.
The main things we wanted to visit here were Pompei and Mount Vesuvius so we took the local train to Pompei. Although we had planned to get there early, by the time we arrived there were already lots tourists and coach tours. Because we were keen to get to Mount Vesuvius too in the same day, we decided not to pay for a tour as they take too much time. This may have been a mistake as I don't think we got as much information out of it as I expected but nevertheless we enjoyed it. This site is absolutely enormous and you can walk for miles and miles down different streets exploring ancient shop fronts and imagining the life in roman times
We had a late lunch and then booked a minibus to Mt Vesuvius. We wanted to see this dormant volcano which had been the cause of such sudden devastation to Pompei and Heraculeum. The vegetation was very lush on the way up to the crater. The lava flow from last eruption in 1945 was pointed out to us. We were dropped off in a car park and we had to walk up the last steep 1.5km to the crater through the cloud. The rock was very red in parts and reminded me of Australian. The air was much cooler up there and there were little cracks in the crater that emitted smoke, so I guess everything is still rumbling and bubbling under there somewhere. Unfortunately we didn't have very long as the driver had only allowed us 1 hour to get to the top and then get back down again. I left Sasha who was still fossicking around while I started the descent by myself. I didn't want to rush it and slip again and the ground was quite treacherous again with lots of loose gravel. My heart was in my mouth. I held on to the ropes on the side and must have looked like an idiot with my little tiny steps but I got down safely all in one piece this time.
On our last night, we had a lovely meal on the waterfront at the base of the Castel del Uovo. There are lots of little seafood cafes there right on the waterfront and we had a lovely evening.
There are buskers and beggars everywhere all trying to make an impression to get you to throw them some money. Check out my last picture - I just couldn't resist giving them some money. Not that the owner had to do anything - just set it up.