Italy day 2, Pompeii (9/15)
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
cortneyandjon in Italy, family, travel

We allowed ourselves no time to dwell on time differences or sink into jet lag. Sunday morning, day 2, found us up at 6am and off to catch a train south to Naples. We were Pompeii bound.

First I should mention that taking our train loving son on the high speed train through the countryside of Italy was in itself a monumental event. Plus their rail service is all inclusive, and we were served small coffees with biscotti for our trip down, and Prosecco with cookies on our trip back. The local service from Naples to Pompeii, however, the Circumvensuviana, was a little different.

As cool the travel was, though, Pompeii was of course the highlight of the day. A very long, very warm day with lots and lots of walking.

Here are some things that surprised me about Pompeii:
1. The vastness. It was much bigger than I had expected.
2. The odd stray-like dogs wandering all over the site.
3. The eastern European guy wearing only a t-shirt and underwear.
4. The pomegranates growing on the trees.

We purchased an overlay book on our way in that showed images of the ruins as they are today with vinyl overlays depicting their original shapes and purposes. Without it, or the map we purchased from the ticket booth, we would never have recognized the fast food service or the bakery, although the beautiful bath house, the amphitheaters, and the brothel were obvious by themselves.

Jon loved the streets with their unique stepping stones and grooves cut into them by chariot usage. Calvin loved the lizards that were hiding in the sun and scuttling over the stone surfaces everywhere, a meeting of past and present, a glimpse at how the natural world will reclaim its space when we are gone. I think the bath house was my favorite. It was remarkably well preserved, and truly beautiful.

Mostly, the take away from the day was a true sense of the past that came from walking through the stone streets past the vestiges of a society thousands of years older than ours, but not really all that different. Plus it was really cool that when we first walked into the forum, our view of Vesuvius included cloud formations that gave the impression that the volcano was erupting again.

Pomegranates growing on trees

Vesuvius errupting

"Moldy old ruins" -Dad

"Look! Another lizard!" -Calvin

another lizard

Bath house

Horse butt floor mosaic in the House of the Fawn

Original piping

At the bar?

Flour mills at the bakery

Note the stepping stones in the street

Half amphitheater

Full amphitheater

Heading home

Article originally appeared on Cortney and Jon Ophoff's Family Site (
See website for complete article licensing information.