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Published: October 12th 2012
the entrance to Pomei
Francesca and I started the day really early. We said our goodbye's to Ricco & Gia hoping to meet again in Paris, France! Oui, Oui! A cab was waiting for us and Francesca opted to get in the front seat ... what a mistake!! She was introduced to a near death experience as the taxi driver drove fast, ran red lights, had several near misses with other cars, was texting & driving, & seemed to be sniffling with a cold. Phew we made it to Piazza del Popolo in one piece and a little early. We found a coffee place and had cappuccino & crescents.
The tour guides were at the center part of the Piazza and we got checked it. Our group was smaller than the Tuscany Wine tour so we stickered up and headed to the location of the busses. During the walk, Francesca and I were looking forward to having more room in the bus than the Tucscany tour ... were we ever wrong. We got to the mini-bus and the only seats left were in the very back of the 20 seater. We had to wait a few minutes for the last passenger. A young woman
traveling alone sat in the back with us.
Well, it wouldn't have been so bad in cramped conditions if everyone had showered that morning. There was a strange awful odor that I thought was coming from the filtration system. I complained to the tour guide when she came around to introduce herself and get everyone settled in. The bus driver turned on the A/C and the smell dissipated a little. During our rest stop after an hour traveling in a stinky bus, I spoke to the tour guide. One of the other tourists was speaking with her, too, and the odor from the bus followed us. Hmmm, it must be coming from "stinky guy"! Oh no, I was not going to tell this old man and his wife that "stinky guy" is ruining the tour and the drive 3 hours there and 3 hours back. Ugh!
We finally made it to Pompei in the open air of the ruins of the city. Francesca and I separated from "stinky guy" to our best ability, but he seemed to be following us everywhere we went. Oh right, he was on the tour with us.
The ruins were interesting the
second time around. This time I was able to understand the areas that I was seeing. There are two theaters that have been uncovered. One was large for plays with actors only and the smaller one was used for music and some small plays. Then there was the "fast food" joints found along the streets. The view of the city life back in ancient times was very interesting. Unfortunately slavery was still very active and women were not even considered people.
After a few hours in Pompei, we all got back on the bus with "smelly guy" and went for lunch. Now that was a total disappointment. We got pizza and 1 glass of wine. Other people in the large restaurant were being served pork loin, french fries, salads and pasta with dessert. That is when I calculated the tour haul (total income) and realized we got the short end of the stick / or pizza!
Before I made it back in the bus, I changed my shoes from sandals to sneakers. We were going to hike to the top of Vesuvious and I wasn't sure how far the bus was going to carry us up the hill.
The sites at the top of the volcano were amazing. The hike took about 45 minutes for a couple of out of shape 50 year olds, and another 30 minutes to make it back to the bus.
Oh boy, 3 more hours with "smelly guy" on a long bus ride back to Rome. There was only 1 stop back at the same rest stop, a Casino with large restrooms and a larger souvenir shop. Than back in the bus, the bus driver turned off the A/C and the smell was awful. I am totally disappointed in this tour and will not recommend this trip to anyone.
Back in Rome we made our way to the wine shop / liquor store we found on one of our other trips into Piazza de Popolo. We got there before they closed and ordered some wine to be shipped home. That is the silver lining to such a stinky trip.
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