A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about ruins

Naples, Italy

Pompeii and Herculaneum

An early start had us off the ship and looking for the Stazaione. It took somewhat longer than we had planned. We were following the GPS but then switched over to signs when we saw a directional sign. Only they disappeared. We asked several people and found our way. We bought tickets at 4.50 Euros for a train to Pompeii and back. The train was packed with locals, many heading out to the beach. Lucia called to say her train was late, but we ended up in Pompeii at about the same time.
She bypassed the ticket line and we walked up the old Roman road into the city. Having studied Pompeii in school I was a little more aware of its history, but nothing can prepare you for the actual thing. The ruts in the rock from the chariots, the sanitation system, the complete devastation of an entire city, to see a man and women trapped by the ash and rock in their final moments is a truly amazing and humbling thing. Lucia's knowledge was extensive and she led us through some of the more traveled sites and then off to see some areas that were off the beaten path.
It was hot and dusty, but the time flew. Yes the three hours were gone and there was still so much to see, but one can only absorb so much. We wandered back out to the entrance and said a quick goodbye as the train was coming. This was a newer train and flew back to Ercolana Scavi where Herculaneum is located. We headed down the hill and stopped at a pizzeria that Lucia suggested for a pizza baked in a forno. We ordered a Margarita pizza made with Buffalo Mozzarella and local tomatoes, a Caprese salad to share and it was great! The pizza was four Euros and was a full twelve-inch pizza. Great deal ... we could have shared two.
We walked the rest of the way down and were able to view Herculaneum from above. We decided we would not appreciate the site enough to pay the entrance fee. Too much of a good thing. The ruins are different. They of course were destroyed by a wall of superheated mud from Vesuvius and their excavation has been much more difficult as the mud solidified after it cooled.
It is our day for making connections as the train arrives very shortly after we entered the station. We are back on the older train with many returning beach goers.
The other place that needs viewing is the museum in Naples where the artifacts from Pompeii are housed. That is the artifact that exists. The many bronze statues were taken away to be melted down for weapons. Some things never changed.
Joyce and Doris planned a bus tour and were only half pleased. The first part of the trip was in Naples itself and it is a dirty, dirty town. The streets are littered with garbage and there are huge piles of trash all over. This seems to be an ongoing issue. The second part of the trip was much better and gave them chance to see something other than garbage.
Only one moment made me nervous today. With all warnings of pickpockets we are pretty aware of who is around us. This morning as we walked to the train an older man, was hanging around, as we passed he changed demeanor and fit himself in between Tracy and me. As I moved closer to Tracy he looked at me sideways and scowled. It was not a good feeling. Then he just drifted off to the side. So maybe nothing, but...it didn't feel right.
So we are packed, we have said good-bye to Paolo and Adrian and the activity staff and a few random people we have connected with over the cruise. We will catch a bit of the show and dance some before we meet Charlotte for a game of scrabble at 10:30.

Posted by Mari Anne 21:48 Archived in Italy Tagged ruins train guide tour naples herculaneum pompei garbage erkolano Comments (0)


A new country, a new language. It's all Greek to me.

sunny 36 °C

The day isn't over yet, but I have to do my notes when I can. I write this sitting on my balcony in the moonlight off the coast of Greece. So today is Athens. We did see the protesters camp, but things are quite enough for us to go into port, apparently a few weeks ago the ship did not go in, then the next time then were given cards with emergency contact numbers in case of an emergency. Anyway we did a ship tour just because that's the way things worked out. Joyce and Doris did their own sites of Athens for those with limited mobility and we did a drive by sites with the main stop at the Acropolis. So much history to see and it is so hard to keep it all straight. The ruins were pretty amazing and are being restored. You can see what has been done already because of the colour of the stone; the white stone would be the recent repairs. One thing is amazing to think about how slippery the rock surfaces are due to the thousands of feet that have worn the rocks down. The other thing that I found interesting is all the big, well-fed and unleashed dogs. They are there to guard. At night they will leave police alone, and workers but will go after the illegal immigrants who pilfer from the ruins.
We hesitate to call them Gypsies, but we are warned time and time again by the locals to not buy their products and to safe guard our personal items from pickpockets.
The temp is 36, but it is manageable. I managed to get into the WC during a lull. Just as I was warned, squat toilets and no paper.
We dozed a bit during the return trip. They dropped us off in Piraeus to get some stamps and mail some post cards. I also tried to get Euros, but no luck. It appears they have canceled my cards. Good thing I had a second one on the ship and it worked just fine.
Lunch, line dance, nap, lots and lots of water and Tracy and I took first place in the Bocce tournament. Roger and I went for a tour backstage where we learned about the audition process, rehearsals and life of a dancer and singer in the shows. One month of rehearsals to learn the big production shows and three more weeks if you are one of the dancers who fly. You may not gain or lose more than five pounds, as one of them said, you are a commodity.
We picked up Tracy from the Cha Cha class and headed to dinner. Another fun night with our excellent servers! More tricks tonight. The balancing pop can, the precut banana, and the pop can stuck in the can and the upside down glass.
The seniors have gone off to see the comedian, while we hit the dance floor and play the night away.

Posted by Mari Anne 11:38 Archived in Greece Tagged ruins athens dance dogs hot acropolis euros Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]