Of heat, trains and the tragedy of Pompeii
07.09.2011 - 07.09.2011 32 °C
Woke ready for a long day. We'd planned for a visit to Pompeii (in fact Alison had been planning from the age of 13) and with some insight from Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com) we decided to take the train down from Rome to Naples then a local train (not covered by our Eurorail pass) to Pompeii.
It started well, got on the train at the Termini in Rome. Excellent ride, fast, comfortable and smooth. NZ really should take a lesson in creating a good train service. The trip was just over an hour, then we arrived in Napoli (Naples). Now for the fun, we had 20 minutes to find the ticket place, get tickets, then find and board the local train to Pompeii Scavi (there's two stops in Pompeii, Scavi is right by the ruins).
Well we arrived nice and refreshed in Napoli, the ticket place was right in front us so all would be well <I think the inserting of a Tui add would be appropriate here>....Yeah Right.
So, as you do in Italy, we stood in the queue. Waited nicely and got to the counter, "Parla inglese?"..yes they spoke english. Could we get two tickets to Pompeii Scavi please?.....No. Typical, we were in the wrong ticket area. We needed to go downstairs for the local tickets. Down we went joining another queue, with no air con here and it seemed a lot less organization. However, the end result was successful. Two tickets purchased to Pompeii Scavi.
Then through the gates (similar to many metros I assume) and down to the trains.....ick So these local trains weren't quit as nice as the intercity ones we'd been using. While waiting, we established, with a number of other lost looking tourists that Pompeii is called Sorrento in Italy. That there are two stops, the first - Scavi - was right next to the ruins, the second was across town.
Then our train turned up, shit this will be fun, to many people, not enough doors and it would appear space would be at a premium. Correct, we shot down do another set of doors, then another, before we got on. Cramped and hot would be an understatement for this ride. Worse we were at the front of our carriage, so didn't get the value of the wind through the window. Off we went, after about 14 stops we arrived. Quickly past the street hawkers and int Pompeii Ruins...to join a queue. This one didn't last to long though, thankfully. We had expected a map with our tickets, but no, that we had to get from the information booth. It was simple to find, though the lady serving us did not look happy being disturbed. I mean it wasn't as if it was at the end of the day, it had just opened. Worse, at the start of the day, they were out of English maps; so we got a small map that was very indicative only and seemed really only to focus on where the exits were. Later we found out (yup, I know, should have thought of it) that we could have got a map for a few euros in the bookshop.
Well enter we did.
It was great. Very hot on the day, if you go there, take good walking shoes, water and sun screen. It's worth it (though, we had been told there is no Toilet inside, there is now and a small coffee/tourist shop) as looking at a few smart people wearing high heals, were we glad to look like tourists.
It's amazing how this place was caught, just frozen in time from an eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum (which we didn't see, but can be got to on the same train).
I'll get more pictures up later, but that is a dog, caught in the eruption.
We spent about 5 hours in Pompeii and still didn't see everything (though a map may have solved that). Missing the brothel was really frustrating !! (actually, apparently it's really good).
Alison did manage to grab some additional hand luggage though.
Seems it never set off the alarms either ;-)
The day then was about getting home. We weren't looking forward to a similar train as the one that took us there, but... lucky we got a far better unit. It wasn't that crowded and we got back to Napoli to get our Intercity train in time for our return to Rome.