March 16 - Salerno and Pompeii

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March 16th 2016
Published: March 16th 2016
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Off to Pompeii today 😊

Took the train from Rome to Salerno - their trains are nice, comfy and at least this route at this time isn't crowded at all. I had four seats to myself 😊 I loved watching the scenery. My camera was at the bottom of my overstuffed purse so I didn't really take photos, but I enjoyed watching the hills roll by, seeing the vineyards and mountains. Going along the coast was stunning as well - all the colourful buildings perched on the mountainside... that's the only thing I contemplated getting my camera out for.

I appreciate their curtness in their English messages haha. In Naples there was a long announcement in Italian followed by "We are leaving shortly. If you want to get off the train, get off now." Speaking of Naples, interesting going through the suburbs in the train... it looks so rundown once you're outside of the city center. I know that's the same in Rome, as in many tourist cities in Europe, but it seems really pronounced here.

I had a good laugh at the old ladies sitting behind me - three of them, each with a lapdog... yeah the ladies might be friends but those dogs sure aren't. Every 20min or so one of them would start snarling which would start a mini war for 2min.

(Sidenote: I love how many dogs there are in Italy..!! Usually I find I don't see all that many when I'm travelling other than in Scotland and Wales. They are everywhere here. Even the police have their gorgeous giant German Shepherds with them.)

I had made myself a sandwich with mystery spicy meat for the train.. holy they weren't kidding when they said piccante. To add insult to injury it was super smelly hahaha sorry train-mates... my bad. It was tasty though. And I suppose still better than if I'd opted to try the tuna and olive sandwich 😉

I didn't do much in Salerno... I had planned to walk down along the coast but between my luggage and the fact it was spitting rain, I opted to make the earlier connection back to Pompeii which was easier said than done. You see, I wasn't quite sure if there was a train in the off-season... or if I'd have to bus. Luckily there was a train. I had to wait an hour so I did venture down to the marina for at least a look-see of the area. It was nicer than I imagined. I watched some of the fisherman bring their things in, listened to all the gulls chirp away and started talking with this nice older man. He asked me something in Italian, then saw my Canadian suitcase and figured no italiano haha. We started chatting a bit though - he asked what brought me to Italy, what brought me to Salerno. We talked about Canada and about Italy for a bit - I had to head back to catch my train and turns out he too was going to Pompeii so even better I didn't have to try and find the track! He told me I picked a good time to come to Pompeii because they apparently just opened a few more houses/ruins for the public.

The train between Salerno and Pompeii is pretty beat up - reminded me of the train I took in Latvia. Seats are plastic, not that many seats either... but at least it wasn't super over-crowded. There were very few tourists, so it was fun to people watch the locals. It was a cool 14 degrees today, and I had to smile at the fact I saw about 50 toques. It is their winter I suppose... Anyway, the journey was a little under an hour and there were some nice views as we passed towns up in the mountains.

So, I had decided that I would fork over the 5 euro or so to take a taxi to my hotel rather than walk it... which if you know how cheap I am when I travel, that's a mighty big step for me. (I figured since I have my real job now, I can afford such luxury 😉 lol). I was all set to taxi and then there weren't any taxis because I got off at the smaller station. MY LIFE. Fine. It wasn't that far of a walk anyway so it wasn't a big deal. The only issue was navigating the dog poop... and unfortunately I was not entirely successful and have showered the wheels of my suitcase twice since arriving at my hotel. I somehow only managed to wheel one wheel through it. Stupid dog poop. *shakes fist*

I had thought about going to Sorrento... but that would mean a 35 min walk to the other train station, so instead I decided to just wander around Pompeii. I'm staying in the "outskirts" if you want to call it that, so I did wander a bit around the housing areas before making my way back towards the city centre. Everything was closed...? It was like 3pm on Wednesday...? Is it because it's off-season? Is it because it's siesta time? I don't know but no shops were open, very few cafes were open, hell even the McDonald's didn't look like it was open haha. Good thing I ate lunch back in Salerno!

I found myself at the "Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary" - aka a 'minor' basilica. They were putting up posters and signs about the Holy Door and other upcoming events tied to the Year of Mercy. I walked in expecting a regular enough church... wow was I wrong! It was stunning!! The artwork was on par with St. Peter's, it was just smaller. I really enjoyed looking around though and I loved that it had a bunch of lights and chandeliers. I do love me some light fixtures.

I kept walking along the main road, essentially parallel to Pompeii site (which I'll explore tomorrow). I could see into the ruins over the fence - I am so excited..!! I was then able to find a supermarket that was actually open! Ok, so in Europe, when you're in cities/towns you don't often have big grocery stores like we have back home - usually it's small ones and then the suburbs have the "box store" version we're used to. But smack dab in the middle of Pompeii is a Loblaws-sized store..? Very odd. But very welcome. I stocked up on goodies for the next two days and trekked back to the hotel - that was that.


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