an early start to the day. breakfast at 6:30 and onto the metro and termini station for a trip to naples and pompei.
though we have first class tickets the train does not reflect this. our coach was launched in 1975 which was probably the last time the windows were clean. we literally could see nothing clearly and the compartment left everything to be desired in terms of cleanliness. the only service was a young kid who was flogging bottles of water, coke and home made sandwiches…we settled on water.
the country side is very much like kamloops only hotter and bigger cactus and palms. arriving in naples was going smoothly until we were singled out to take a different exit from the train (we should know better by now!) almost as soon as we stepped out of the coach this unassuming older gentleman approached and spoke to us in very good english. asking where we were going etc. he soon offered to show us the way to the connecting train, chatting all the way. i should have twigged in when he bypassed the ticket agents and went to a food stand and picked up return tickets to pompei (all legit and priced the same as the ticket office.) as soon as we passed the turnstile the guy turns into a slug and demands 20 euros (10 each for being so helpful… his words) after much consternation we decided to give him 10 just to be rid of him…we actually thought he was just being helpful until then…. duh… mmm.)
pompei is just a few steps from the station and is incredible at first sight. we toured for almost 5 hours and covered most of the highlights and then some. it is the most amazing sight i have ever seen and really brings home the history, the life and the advancement of such an ancient time. almost all of the site dates from 2 b.c. or older, the oldest being the amphitheatre which goes back to 70 b.c. and is the best preserved and the world’s oldest.
i was surprised at the condition of the buildings, including the mosaics, paintings and intensity of the colours from so many centuries ago. the well off truly lived well and had more privacy with high walls and gardens that separated them from the vast majority who mostly lived close to poverty. the streets, vendors and even ancient campaign posters brings the whole place to life with little imagination needed.
it was an amazing place to visit and worth the long day trip which took almost 6 hours in total. the return train was no better than the first and had even fewer services (no kid flogging overpriced water, even.) take a look at all my picture of pompei