Thursday, June 11, 2015

The European Trip, Day 5 - Pompeii

We checked out of our hotel at 9:00 AM and by 10:00 AM we'd sat in a Rome Taxi which showed us how to lane-split in heavy city traffic, the Italian way!  I swear, there were times when it was just a two lane city road, narrow as you might know, and at least two streams of cars going in each direction!


Still, we got to the station in one piece with our nerves only slightly frazzled.  The process to get our rental car from Hertz at the Termini or main train station in Rome was only slightly confusing.  The biggest issue was a. to figure out how to put the rental car into reverse and b. negotiating the very tight hairpin turns to get off the 7th floor where the rental cars were parked!

Made it out with no issues, plugged in the GPS and only got lost once trying to find the Autostrada out of town.  The rest of the 2.5 hour ride to Pompei, which is like a suburb city of Naples/Napoli went without incident.  The first 30-40 minutes though, as I negotiated my way out of Rome with Martha monitoring the GPS was a bit on the white-knuckle side of things.

We got into Pompei shortly before 2:30PM and rest for a tiny bit before heading out to check out the excavations and ruins that were five minutes walk away.

A short blurb about Pompeii, and a link to more info on this disaster that preserved an ancient Roman town so well for us to look at.  LINK  Before you say it, Pompeii was the spelling of the ancient town and Pompei the spelling for the modern town.

Our room, for four, at the Hotel Diana, in Pompei

Pontificio Santuario della Beata Vergine del Santo Rosario di Pompei

The view of the altar as one enters the church

Looking upwards at the main dome

A rather impressive church organ

We then made our way to the secondary, and nearest to our hotel, entrance to the Pompeii excavation sites.  Its the one by the main amphitheater.  It wasn't too crowded as most of the crowds were day trip folks from nearby Napoli and they were gone by then.

The amphitheater has this pyramid shaped shelter in the arena, sheltering the body voids which had been cast with plaster/cement by archaeologists:

source: LINK

A bit morbid and yet fascinating.

Turns out, we should have gone in via the primary entrance as the stuff we encountered wasn't matching the issued guides and map numbers.  It appears, the area we went through first had been more recently excavated and they were still more of a work in progress than the older portions of the excavations.

The best preserved artwork I found

Posing among the columns at a thermal bathhouse site

At the Lupanare House, aka the Brothel.
Some rather "risque" paintings remain on the walls here.
Lupa: She Wolf or Prostitute

A Lupa's "work" room

One of the less "risque" paintings on the walls of the Lupanare House
Apparently, sex sells, this is one of the more popular exhibits here
at the excavations.

Miles and Martha attempt a "Charlie's Angels" pose, but
Patrick wasn't having any of it.

At the city forum

One of the main streets of Pompeii, Martha read somewhere
that the blocks of stones in the middle of the street served
to block chariots from rolling down said streets.

Nope, not a row of toilet seats as I first thought.  This site
was the "food court" of its time, with many such cavities to
apparently hold cooked food or to cook food.

At one of the arches remaining in the city's forum

Just a portion of a large open warehouse full of artifacts 

Back at the entrance, a final look at the amphitheater

The tall bell tower for the town's main church

The main church in the late evening, a lot of folks just walking
around enjoying the cooling weather.

We exited and wandered the local tourist shops for a bit.  Martha then got herself and Miles some gelato and we continued onwards.  Just short of the hotel, Martha spotted a place that sold snacks such as fries and fried items.  Patrick was quite happy to obtain their large version of Patate Fritte:

Patrick sure loves his fries....

Back at the hotel.


Steve Williams said...

I've been following along on your trip. Amazing stuff. I need to get to Italy.

The ornamentation in the churches is hard for us to imagine here in the states. As a kid my mother took me to countless churches in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy to appreciate them. Wish I could see them again as an adult.

If I'm completely honest right now -- the photo that struck me hardest was the one of Patrick with his fries... It's all I can do to not run out and buy some.

Have fun!

RichardM said...

I like the lack of crowds in this area. I've heard of the plaster castings, it does look kind of morbid…

The only food pic of the day was super-sized fries. Any scooter rentals planned?

Andy & Laura said...

Looks like teen boys can more readily relate to the sensual lifestyle of this ancient city than they could to the stuffiness of the papacy. Glad to see the boys enjoying themselves and engaging in the intriguing history of this unique city.

I'm most envious of the regular gelato breaks! My mouth is watering from afar.

SonjaM said...

Pompeii is serious bucket list stuff. You have outdone yourself once again with the pics. I very much like your family posing in it,
and I hope you make sure that you have some snapshots of Martha and yourself taken by the boys a.k.a. things in front of this decorative scenery.

Even if oblivious to some of the historical and cultural stuff, your kids will learn to appreciate the experience and thank you later. I remember having been bored at times when traveling with the parents, but as a grown-up I revisited most of the places that I didn't care for in my childhood. There's hope ;-)

Trobairitz said...

I enjoyed seeing all the candid pictures.

The plaster casting were a little morbid, but at the same time so interesting to see.

And I want Patrick's fries, just sayin'

Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

Your Italy posts has become a daily ritual for me. My favorite picture is of Martha and the things peeking from behind columns.

Canajun said...

Sounds like a great trip, and now I can add Pompeii to my bucket list.

ToadMama said...

The Charlie's Angels (66%) pose made me laugh out loud. I like all of the candid shots, too. Looks like you're all having fun. Again, great pics.

redlegsrides said...

Wow, it looks I never responded to anyone's comments for this posting. My apologies.

Steve goes the battle against the temptation of fries?

RichardM, the idea of scooter rentals was bandied about but never really given serious thought.

Laura and Andy, the gelato breaks were just to split the death marches into manageable chunks.

SonjaM, thanks for your comments. I am sure the boys will appreciate this trip more once they're older.

Trobairitz, yep the candid pictures were the best IMHO

Bridget, thanks for your comments, glad we can entertain.

Canajun, it's definitely something different, Pompeii.

Kathy K. Glad you liked the pose, it was Miles' idea.