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Sunday, August 10, 1997

[Patti] Today we went to Pompeii. We opted for the air-conditioned bus crammed full of English-speaking tourists. This required our getting our lazy derieres out of bed at about 8 in the morning. This, in and of itself, should be noted as an accomplishment.

Pompeii was struck by a natural disaster in the form of a volcanic eruption in the year 79 AD. Ash and pumice, along with a lot of toxic gases, froze the town of 20,000 in its tracks, burying it in a manner that allowed it to be preserved in tact for hundreds of years. It is a pretty amazing site - a real three-dimensional city with tons of clues about how people lived in that era.

Here are some pictures. Bear in mind that most of this stuff is original - that is, as the archaeologists found it when they started excavating Pompeii a couple hundred years ago.

(Yep, those are the original teal and purple seats)

Our guide, Dario, gave us a nice over view of the city. We saw typical houses, a bakery, a wool market, and even (much to Kaelen's fascination) a brothell. Afterwards, we had an hour for lunch. Brian is really showing the rest of us up! Dario said the amphitheatre was "very far away," but as soon as we were set loose, Brian hiked on over. The rest of us sat in the shade sipping lemon ice drinks.

Next we were off to Vescuvius. Here again, we had a test of our heartiness as tourists. The bus took us within 1000 feet of the crater. After hearing a story about 4 drunk Marines who fell in to their deaths in the 80s, Kaelen and I decided to let Brian and Cameron go check it out for us. We sat in the shade drinking ice water. (There may be a pattern here.)

Here's what they saw:

(Was it worth the hot sweaty climb? You be the judge.)

The climb tuckered Cameron out and he fell asleep on the way down the mountain. Kaelen entertained himself by taking pictures of the top of Cameron's head, and alternatively pretending to smack him, then kiss him. (If anyone has any ideas about the psychology going on there, please send us some email immediately!)

Tonight was some kind of romantic holiday that had to do with falling stars. Some guy named Lorenzo is the honoree. There was cloud cover though - so we didn't see any stars at all.