Pompeii Day

We awaken at 8 AM. Rather I leap out of bed and into the shower while OL tries to force his body out of bed. We have a huge breakfast at the hotel and take a few croissants and rolls for our afternoon in Pompeii. We assume there is no food there.

OL is hysterical at covertly placing things into his bag. And so our adventure begins.

We walk to the Museo subway entrance and buy tickets at the ticket machine. Then we enter the subway and use the connection from Linea 1 to Linea 2. On our way, we are stopped by metro police to verify we have a ticket. I had them both in my purse. But handed them yesterday’s tickets. After sorting that out, we proceed.

We go one stop to piazza Garibaldi. There we navigate our way through the train station to Circumvesuviana railway. This take roughly half an hour. We then go buy tickets and find out we get the weekend rate of 3€ roundtrip. Nice.

Frommer’s warned us to go to Pompeii scavi not Pompeii the town. So we are careful about which train we board. There is only on track for all Sorento bound trains.

OL has the schedule and times printed out so we wait for the 10:41 train. We board and find out there are 21 stops before Pompeii scavi. 45 minutes later we arrive. The ride is pleasant enough. You can see Vesuvius and the ocean. And a shit load of graffiti which appears to be Italy’s favorite pastime.

When you get off the train it’s a quick walk to the entrance. It’s 11€ to get in. You get a free map and mini guidebook at the info center. The giftshop is mostly books. And it closes early so if you want to buy things do it early on. Also if you’re in a group, you can buy a tour guide to show you around. Something to consider.

We missed #1 in the guidebook. It’s the new bath house with the x rated frescoes. It’s before the main entry gate. Though it may not have been open since many things were locked up when we tried to see them in Pompeii.

Porta Marina is where we entered. We went to the Temple of Venus next. You can see the ocean from there. We wandered through the basilica, which was Pompeii’s version of a stock exchange.

We crossed a section of the Forum and stopped at the Lupanare to see the frescoes on the wall of the brothel. According to the guidebook, people ordered what they wanted according to pictures. One group’s guide mentioned that the pictures were useful for sailors who could point without knowing the language.

Then we saw several ruins on our way to the Great Theater. Next on our to do list was the Isis Temple, which was one of the more intact temples. The temple of Asclepius was next. The Pompeii people had snack bars attached to their homes called, Thermopolium, we saw the Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus.

We saw vineyards and the House of the ship ‘Europa’. One of the darkest sights was was the Garden of Fugitives. These were plaster casts made of what the dead Pompeii people looked like trapped in the volcanic ash and lava.

Then we climbed up a hill and looked down on Pompeii. We found a bench and had our picnic of croissants and rolls in the shade. We descended the hill into Porta Nocera: Necropolis and walked amongst the tombs and burial points. We passed Porta Nocera which is the gate in the southeastern section of the city wall.

We were in the area so we also hit the amphitheater. It was pretty impressive though nature is slowly stealing it’s space back. We stumbled onto the House of the Venus in the Shell which was an amazing and well intact fresco of Venus. Wow.

Next-door was the House of Octavius Quartio. We headed for the Stabian Baths next but they were closed. This happened with several of the most famous spots and put a bit of a damper on our Pompeii visit.

Then we headed to the bakery. This was open.

There was a great deal of restoration and construction going on at Pompeii. Numerous roads were closed and this doubled our time getting to sights. So after circling the building, we finally found our way into the House of the Faun. But guess what? The path to the faun is blocked off. All I can get is a pic of his ass.

So we exit and circle the building but there are 4 barriers to the faun. You cannot get a picture of him from the front. Then an Italian tour guide tells us the entrance is on the side and we say we know but we want a picture of the faun. He insists we can get it inside. OL tries to explain it is blocked off and finally just says ok and we walk away from the guy.

The we tried to get to the House of the Vetii, but every road leading there is closed off. After half an hour, we give up. Then we went to the House of the Amorini Dorati and it was closed too.

In annoyance, we head to the Villa of Mysteries. We passed Porto Vesuvio Necropolis on the way to the villa. We walked outside the city walls and came back in through Porto Ercolano: Necropolis.

Finally, after a long walk, we arrived at The Villa of Mysteries. It’s pretty cool to wander around but it’s hard to tell what each room is without a guide or audio guide. But I took a ton of pics and figured I’d understand what they were later.

Then we headed back into the main part of Pompeii and saw House of the Tragic Poet. It was open, but the coolest part, the beware dog mosaic was blocked off. So we had to exit to house and slide our cameras through the bars for a pic.

Then we passed the Memorial Arches on our way to the House of the Small Fountain, which was locked up tight. We couldn’t really get a pic because the sun was behind it and the mosaic fountain was so far back. Grrr. There was another house with a fountain next door but it too was under lock and key and couldn’t be seen from the road well.

Then we passed another Memorial Arch on our way to exit the site because it was closing. We caught another glimpse of the forum and stumbled on the Apollo Temple. That was pretty cool. The we walked out with a Mr. Know-It-All who had to explain to everyone in a mile radius that Vesuvius could erupt at any time.

The bookshop closed 10 mins early so no souvenirs for me. Now the truly fun part. Getting back to Naples. The next train leaves in 20 minutes and it’s jam packed. We finally secure two seats. And then the Italian stallions sit with us. These are 4 guys trying to hit on Spanish girls. They try to get OL to translate but he claims to only speak English. They think he looks Spanish. I keep my head down and try to look ill.

Then we get back to Naples. Now our adventure truly begins. There are no subway ticket machines in the station. We looked high and low. Up and down escalators. Finally ask someone and find out you have to buy they at the tabachi store. We buy them then have to stamp them before going down to the train. Turns out we have lots of time because the train doesn’t arrive for 30 minutes during which we stand on aching feet.

The train is crammed full of people and getting off at the next stop is difficult. We manage to exit the train and walk through the subway station underground connection to Linea 1.

The trip out to Pompeii took about 1.5 hours. The trip back took over 2 hours. In between we walked our butts off.

For dinner we went back to our restaurant and I drank .75 liters of wine until my legs stopped aching. We had a nice meal and watched Jay Leno with Lady Gaga.

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