Highlight of the Day: Beautiful sunset on the high speed train
I mixed it up a little bit for this trip, because instead of heading over to Pompeii, I chose to visit the lesser known site of Herculaneum. Unlike Pompeii which was a bustling city, Herculaneum was more of a seaside resort town with extravagant views and lavish accommodations. Also unlike Pompeii, Herculanum was well preserved under layers upon layers of ash and mud, meaning it wasn’t totally destroyed by Vesuvius like most buildings in Pompeii were. It’s also a smaller excavation site, better preserved and less crowded (yippee!). I navigated the way from Rome to Naples, then on the circumvesuviana to the Erconalo Scavi. Boy figuring out that ticket process was a trip, and those rail systems were much less inviting than the high speed or local trains, but we made it there finally and walked down the street to the entrance. I sort of wish I could have found a guide for the day seeing as all the english maps were gone as well as audio guides, and we kind of had to wing it on pamphlet information alone.
It was still a really neat site to see and so much easier to navigate than Pompeii.
One of the many ‘buildings’ preserved. They even had salvaged wood frames and stairs as well as mosaics and frescos.
At first we thought these were public bathrooms like in Pompeii, but turns out this is where street vendors would keep their food warm. Not quite as neat as public toilets, but still fun. John said “Try my latkes, best in town – you like!”
This was believed to be the College of the Augustales. It is thought that the building was a centre of the cult of the Emperor Augustus and the headquarters of the Collegium Augustalium.
From my point of view, just standing on some really old mosaics.
Look – a fresco!
Ok, now we’re just goofing around
Mom doing what she does best, taking pictures of flowers #inthezone
I think this was a public trough, or fountain? Or bathtub? Something with water…
This house was pretty neat, but again, I have no idea what the purpose was… we started coming up with stories based on the relief that was hung on the other wall.
Based on this relief, we believed this building to be a college of Circumcision. They studied and practiced it here. Ha ha no really, we have NO IDEA.
Mom mimicking the poses of young girls she saw around. Work it mom.
I was a little bummed because they closed the most interesting exhibits of the site: the boathouses, gymnasium and Villa Papyri. We were able to view the remains from a distance but not sure why the direct walkways were closed.
Initially it was thought that everyone managed to escape Herculaneum unscathed, until they stumbled upon the remains of 300 bodies huddled together along the shoreline boathouses. It seems many people tried to escape and got stuck there, eventually died of extreme heat caused by the eruption.
Blurry picture but you get the point
Alright, we’re done here, tunnel out
Afterwards we headed back to Naples to visit the museum that housed all the well preserved artifacts from both Pompeii and Ercolano. As much as I love Trip Advisor, this was probably the worst decision I’ve made based on reviews. Naples is TERRIBLE and the museum was boring. After an hour of wandering around we figured out it was a bust and waited at the train station McDonalds until our train was set to leave (3 hours later).
Here’s an artifact I thought was interesting. It was a tiny skull, but of what or why I’m not sure.
We were very confused about this fresco. Apologies for the angle, it was in a closed off section so I had to take it from a distance. Apparently these guys lived with aliens AND dinosaurs! No but seriously, how did they know about dinosaurs? There are more questions than answers on this one…
Sunset on the train into Rome was beautiful and much needed and we got back into town just in time to have one last delicious meal at the restaurant downstairs. This was probably one of the few times I managed to snap a picture of food before it was decimated by hungry travelers
A light snack of cannelloni beans – mmmmm
A simple but delicious steak to round out the night. Good night and Goodbye Rome! [drops mic]
On to Day 12