Wednesday, 3 February 2010


We went to Pompeii on our last day in Rome. Took 2 hours on a train to Napoli and then 1/2 hour on a local narrow guage railway that goes around the circumference of Mt Vesuvius (circumvesuviana - no signs of whereabouts until almost out of central station - but only a 5 minute walk). Really cheap little railway, running on time every 20 minutes (but beware on way back, it's the 2nd last station, not the last - we almost stayed on).

When you get to the Pompeii station - you have no idea that this massive area is 2 minutes walk from the station.
We passed on the tour guide (big mistake) - but we were still smarting over having to pay adult prices for the kids. We didn't get a map either, so it was a bit of a mystery for a while (until I realised everyone else seemed to know where they were going, and a lovely chinese guy told us they handed out maps where we bought the tickets - anyway -went back and got one and that got us in the right direction). My god I am a whinger aren't I?

This is inside the communal baths - the volcano erupted in 79 AD, 17 years after they had an earthquake that had done considerable damage.

The handset tour guides were pretty good - they had a seperate one for the kids and you literally could have spent 4 hours listening to all of the seperate talks they had (in fact C girl did listen to it from start to finish - more on that later).

That's a big bath at the end - amazing preservation.

Inside one of the houses. This is where C girl was taking a video. She was listening to the whole tour guide, not following the number that we were at. We didn't realise - so when we said "no 29" we thought she would have turned to it. We were all wearing our personal headphones (in the case of J and I - noise reducing earphones). The audio started outside, and said, turn left, take the first turn to the right, walk in the a path of where to go. C girl, busy making her video and not listening to what we were listening to, turned around after a few minutes and realised her whole family had disappeared - thousands of kilometers from anyone that knew her, in a country that does not speak english.
The first we heard about it was when the people inside the building looked up and turned in alarm - I noticed the other people's reaction, noticed there were only two kids and took off the earphones and heard a god almighty scream, followed by "MUMMY"........then another scream. The poor kid thought we had abandoned her.

We were not forgiven in a hurry.

This is a quaint little fountain at the back of someone's house.

It is quiet an eerie feeling walking around a massive town that is devoid of people. You can almost imagine people going about their business - and the preservation of some of the buildings is amazing (I don't think our house will be standing in 1950 years).
The kids found it very interesting - especially Bear, who only just finished studying archeology in IPC (international primary curriculum).
Our only wish is that there were more plaster molds of where people were found when they excavated. Not enough bodies for our liking (no it's not sick, it would help identify just how big a disaster it was).

Light rain - no problem

This is a temple that was damaged in the earthquake in 62 AD but the renovation was paid for by a 5 year old boy. His father was a former slave (who had become wealthy) but could not become part of the "high society". His son, never having been a slave, could. So with a sizeable donation to the community, his 5 year old became an upstanding member of the community and on the council. Good way to get around the system.

Can you believe J walked around with a backpack containing a video camera and our good nikon but then failed to take a single photo (these are from my point and shoot camera).
When we got back to Napoli, the train had been delayed by 2 hours (not initially, but eventually). J was feeling really sick. So I took the kids on small excursions of Napoli (well, a couple of blocks from central station). Not too exciting, but the best patisieri I have ever seen (think the spelling is wrong Manny), and a great little supermarket. Even found a ROAST chicken (yes, didn't see too many of them). Back in Rome at 8:30 - too late for hoo.
Was it worth the 5-6 hours of train trips and a 2 hours delay. It definitely was - the documentaries have showed lots, so it's really familiar, but there is something to walking the streets personally and watching the kids discover stuff that is pretty awesome. I think trains was the best way to go for our family (probably wouldn't be for a couple), as it was 20% the price of the tours (and didn't include a "shell factory" tour). Overall time was about the same. Definitely worth the trip though. Won't go back for another visit though - seen enough.

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