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Published: October 20th 2013
Pam & Tom in front of one of the many streets in Pompeii with Mt Vesuvius in the background
Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius 17 Oct 2013
We arrived at the Zeus Camping Village at about 6.00pm. This is about 30km out of Naples. On the way we tried to visit the archeological site of Herculaneum which is where Erolano district now is, but we couldn’t find a park anywhere so we drove onto Pompeii. Herculaneum is closer to Mt Vesuvius so was totally buried in the AD 79 eruption and was even more preserved that Pompeii. It was rediscovered in 1709.
Never mind, we will see it next time (!!!).
The camping site was excellent and only 5 minutes walk from the entry of Pompeii Archeological site.
After a cool night - and we are noticing the days are getting shorter - we caught the 10.00am tour bus up to Mt Vesuvius. There were about 20 of us and the guide spoke in French and English. It only took 25 minutes to get to the top where we were to start the climb to the top.
There were stunning views of big, big Naples which got better and better the higher we went. Mt Vesuvius is 1281 m high and is the only active volcano
on the European mainland. Since it exploded in AD 79, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum and pushing the coastline out several kilometers, it has erupted more than 30 times. The most devastating of these was in 1631, the most recent being 1944. The current lull is the longest in the past 500 years and there are millions of people who now live around the mountain (600,000 live within 7 km of the crater!!
It was an easy zigzagging path to walk up to the top to peer into the crater. I think the pictures will tell the story. The weather was beautiful, with clear blue skies and breezes one side of the mountain. The seas were brilliant blue as well. We were very lucky.
After walking around the top for about ½ hour, we walked down and was met by our guide who took us to have brochette and local wine. It was 1.00pm by this time.
By the time we got back to our motor home it was 2.30pm and we still hadn’t been to the Pompeii Archeological site which some people take 8 hours to look around.
We now had less than 4 weeks
before we hop on the plane back to Australia so the schedule is a bit tight!!!
After phone calls to Kerrie & Adam we set off to visit the Roman port of Pompeii. What an amazing site. And is the sight big – YES!! There were 20,000 people living in Pompeii at the time of the massive earthquake in AD 63. Fortunately, mass evacuation occurred at this time and many hadn’t returned to their homes when Vesuvius blew in AD 79. So ‘only’ 2,000 people perished under a layer of lapilli (burning pumice stone) and ash. With additional explosions of Vesuvius, eventually Pompeii was buried under 5-6m of lava.
Pompeii was forgotten until 1594 when an architect stumbled across the ruins while digging a canal, but he took no action other than recording the find. Exploration didn’t begin until 1748 under Bourbon King Charles V11 and continued into the 19th
century. Now, over 2.5 million people visit the site each year.
We walked for 3 ½ hours around the site, following the map we had and occasionally picking up a guide on the way. The stories were astounding and the site of how so much was preserved;
lying under all the ash and lapilli is an archeological gem to say the least. Restoration work continues today, more than new diggings. It is of course a UNESCO World Heritage Site, probably the best in the world.
I hope you enjoy the photos.
We got home at 6.30pm after watching the sunset over the ruins – absolutely beautiful.
We found all the restaurants closed so we scrambled a few things together that we had in our motor home kitchen, sitting and chatting about the great experiences and sites of the day and viewing the photos. How lucky are we!!!!
It was off the Amalfi Coast the next day.
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