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01 October 2005

finally [] for myself


today i'd be traveling to pompeii, the ancient roman city buried by ash when vesuvius erupted in 79 ad, about half an hour away from naples. the hostel brochure recommended taking the sita company bus to pompeii. after a few wrong turns, i made it to the bus station around 1035 and bought a ticket for the 1100 bus (confirmed with the ticketing agent). 1100 comes... three buses are waiting to depart... none are going to pompeii. an australian family was waiting with me... the man approaches one of the bus drivers... 'no buses to pompeii. train.' hmm... that information seemed to conflict with the large bus schedules hung inside the station as well as the tickets that each of us held. finally we get an answer from another driver: '1130'. wait for half hour... 1130... again, no buses are going to pompeii. i let the australian deal with the drivers at 1100... my turn. i got on one of the buses sitting in the parking lot and started questioning the driver... when the language barried proved to be a problem, a sympathtic passenger who was listening to the (mostly one-sided) conversation approached the driver. the driver got out and consulted two other drivers... much discussion... finally the passenger tells me that the bus to pompeii leaves at 1200. i thanked him generously for his assistance. 1200... _finally_ the bus to pompeii.

pompeii is _much_ larger than i expected. truly city size. much of the city has yet to be excavated... this surprised me as well. still, so much work. rocks raised to provide crosswalks when the streets flooded as planned. public baths. two theatres. temples. an amphitheater. graffiti... the oldest yet. private gardens. frescos. mosaics. a bakery. presumbably wild dogs wandered the grounds aimlessly. plaster casts of bodies that had been buried by ash and then decayed, leaving hollow cavities.

i explored the city for five full hours, every minute captivating. all the while vesuvius loomed nearby. such an archaeological marvel. i first learned about pompeii when i was 11, sixth grade latin class. finally i'd seen it for myself.

posted by paul on Sat 01 Oct 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)


Hey Paul! I am teaching about volcanoes in my Earth Science class! We are going to talk about Pompeii tomorrow!

posted by Jennifer on Tue 25 Oct 2005 at 23:00:33 est (-05:00)

jenn: nice! let me know if you have any questions about pompeii... the one thing that shocked me the most was the sheer size of the city.

posted by paul recon on Sat 29 Oct 2005 at 00:41:16 est (-05:00)

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