Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Visit to Italy (Part 3)

Hey everyone! I told you I would try to stay updated on the blog again.

This post all about the final part of my trip to Italy: Naples and Pompeii.

I took the train to Naples from Rome on Thursday morning. When I got to Naples, the first thing I could tell was that I was in a totally different place. Naples is very crowded but it seems like it is all local people. I never felt like there were any other tourists around really. After a mishap getting on the tram going the wrong way, I made it to my hostel. Hostel of the Sun is really great. My room was nice, they had an awesome free breakfast every day, and the people who work there are really cool.

However, I just really did not like the city of Naples at all. Maybe I didn't see enough of the city, but it just reminded me of all the bad parts of Asia. Over-crowded, smelly, and actually insane traffic.

I can point out some positive things about Naples though, so people don't think I'm being unduly harsh. First, as stated previously, my hostel was amazing. Second, pizza was supposedly created in Naples and it shows because the pizza is ridiculously good. Finally, the Archaeological Museum is really cool. It has many artifacts from Pompeii, including "The Secret Room", which is full of erotic art that was previously locked away from the perverse public eye, after being found during the Victorian age, until a couple decades ago. Children under 14 still aren't allowed in the room though, and 14-17 must be accompanied by an adult. Until very recently, even adults needed a reservation (free) to enter, but no longer. I just walked right in.

It must be a sign that I'm still a child at heart, because I spent 10 minutes in the relatively small room ogling at various penis-related paintings, statues, and other artwork.

Yes, even a penis wind chime... who doesn't want THAT?!

There is also plenty of other non-sexual artwork taken from Pompeii, including elaborate mosaics, coins, jewelry, many household items such as silverware and jugs, and various types of statues (both bronze and marble). The statues are simultaneously my favorite and also the creepiest thing that has ever existed. Maybe it's just from watching too much Doctor Who, but these are the kind of statues where you really don't want to blink in front of them.

All it needs is a pair of wings, and the Doctor would probably show up
The next day, I got up and took the Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Pompeii. The number one thing I wanted to see in Italy was awaiting me!!

Here, I also had an audio guide tour from Rick Steves (the app is called Rick Steves Audio Europe if you want to download it, BTW). It was an overview but I learned many interesting things I didn't know before and it was a great idea to do an audio guided tour. I think you can also get audio guides from the ticket office, but of course you must pay for those.

It's wild to consider how well preserved Pompeii is considering a volcano within sight of the city erupted massively 2000 years ago. I was also impressed to find out that they were pretty advanced. They had pedestrian only streets and cross walks and fast food and indoor plumbing, same as we do today. They collected rainwater and had a massive amphitheatre and public swimming pools. I'm not sure why we have this idea that people in the past are not as smart or advanced as we are. They were far more advanced than some later points in history, like in the Middle Ages. Of course we have more advanced technology now with computers, but for basic things, I think Pompeii would rival any small city today. I don't think I would've minded living there really (as long as I escaped Volcano Day of course).

Mt Vesuvius looming large in the distance

A cross walk. Three stones meant a major road. The white things are reflectors so you can see at night

Pedestrians only barricade to keep carts and chariots out

The famous plaster-molded bodies from those who perished

A food stall counter

A bed in one of the many brothels

A brick oven... Italian food, never changes

A view onto the Forum area (central marketplace/downtown)

Inside the theater

The circumvesuviana train stop sign
These are just a few of my many (MANY) photos from Pompeii but I think this gives an accurate picture of the city. These pictures of some of my favorite of the bunch I took.

What do you think? Have you been to Pompeii (or Naples) before, and if so, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

This concludes my trip to Italy! Next, stay tuned for posts about my last few weeks in France, my upcoming trip to Italy, and other plans for the rest of the year.
See you soon!

1 comment:

  1. If you love learning about history and eating great food, it sounds like Italy is the place to be! Thanks for sharing the details of your trip with us. It sounds like it was a lot of fun!