Sunday, July 10, 2011

Herculaneum and Mt Vesuvius

To leave Naples we had to pick up a hire car and drive through the insane traffic.  Andy has to do all the driving since my driver’s licence was stolen.  The plan was to drive out of Naples and onto Herculaneum.  But Naples doesn’t end, it just merges with the other towns until you finally come to Herculaneum.  Then you have to find the remains of the town buried by a mud slide in the eruption of 79 A.D.  We went round and round in circles until finally we found it.  Only about two thirds of the remains have been excavated, but it was fascinating.  And very, very hot.  It was mind blowing seeing houses, in some cases intact up to their second floor, that had been buried nearly two thousand years ago.  And in a couple of cases you can see the remains of wooden door frames that had burnt in the heat, but been preserved by the 20 metre layer of mud.
Next was a drive up to the top of Mt. Vesuvius.   Very hair raising and hundreds of hair-pin bends.  We got to the car park and from there had to walk the 860m to the summit.  It was extremely hot.  And steep.  I struggled.  I made it as far as the first place that you could look down into the crater and no further.  Andy and Tommy went around a bit more to the highest point on the path, but even this was not the end.  Then we had to go back down to the car, back down the hair-pin bends and onto our hotel in Pompeii. 
The hotel was very nice, and was located opposite an entrance to the Pompeian archaeological site.  The area of the hotel was much nice than Naples.  We had dinner at a nice restaurant and then went back to the hotel where we had a drink in their very nice garden, surrounded by fruit trees.

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