Off to Pompeii today. Vesuvius, the eruption and all that. A previous neighbour of mine was always burning garden rubbish and that got on my pip, so I would have been a bit pissed off, if, as a resident of Pompeii back in 79AD, that a mountain blew up just after I’d hung out my washing. Nightmare.
We had breakfast at the McDonalds on the way to the train station. Breakfast is the only thing I eat at McDonalds. It’s quick, cheap, has reasonable coffee, and better choices than the usual continental style breakfasts. You can get an egg. So don’t judge. We were serenaded by two street musicians playing 12 string guitars. Ever listened to one of those? Crap. They only sound half decent playing a genre of ‘music’ which could only be described as Wizard Rock. A busker in my town has one, and I will change my route to avoid him. And there were two of these guys here in the covered shopping arcade. So that’s 24 strings. Double torture.
We walked 40 minutes to the train station at Porta Nolano. It’s worth the extra walk to board the Circumvesuviana train here at the terminus. You really want a seat because at the next and more obvious stop (Garibaldi), the train fills with a fifty-fifty mix of tourists and pickpockets. The train was a disgrace. Basically a skip with wheels. And the seats, well I say seats, resembled a pub style infant’s high chair, without the frame, stuck onto metal poles.
We got to Pompeii, paid our entrance fee and went in. The first thing you notice is the size of the site. It’s huge, the worlds largest archeological site. An estimated 20,000 people lived in and around Pompeii at the time of the eruption, so, it was a sizeable town. The second thing you notice is that without a guide you don’t know what you’re looking at most of the time. There are very few information boards about. Also some of the buildings are only open in the morning, others afternoons. If you don’t get a human guide have at least a paper one. The most impressive remains are :
- The Forum.
- The Ampitheatre.
- The Lupanar (the brothel).
- The House of the Faun.
- The Stabian Baths.
Later on the way out, (exit through the gift shop of course) We found a little room with a model of the city, as it would have looked, back in the day. And an explanatory movie. Do this first when you go in. That’s my tip. Anyway there is lots of information online about the site so research and go. That’s another tip. Full of them today, aren’t I?
I don’t think there is much of a choice for food inside, I only saw one crowded cafe which we skipped, so we settled down for pizza and wine in a place amongst a strip of restaurants just outside and near the station. I don’t think you will get bad pizza anywhere around Naples and, as we all know, bad wine doesn’t exist. Its an urban myth. Like happy Frenchmen, or estate agents with integrity.
We squeezed onto the crowded, smelly, scruffy train for an authentic refugee experience, giving the resident pick-pockets a good 40 minutes to pick us clean. We did ok though. The Little Nurse had only a camera padlocked around her neck to worry about. I had most of my stuff in a bag, triple zippered. Oh, except my passport. That was only single zippered. Big mistake. A schoolboy error by yours truly. Someone who’s supposed to know what’s what. It would prove costly…