31 August 2010 – walking in ancient footsteps

Vesuvius

Vesuvius

Yesterday was the perfect day and including all the walking I think I was still within calories. I slept like a baby and this morning breakfast was great as it was continental style so no bacon and eggs to tempt me just a croissant and yoghurt with some lovely fresh orange juice. Over breakfast we decided we’d climb Vesuvius today and tomorrow we’d visit Pompeii. It felt as if we had to see the mountain so we could really appreciate the ruins of the town even though I was itching to walk those ancient streets.

When I got dressed I discovered all the trousers I have with me are feeling really loose, in fact my favourite jeans are almost falling off so I will be looking for a good belt today on my travels. Don’t want to give the Italians any nasty surprises if my trousers fall down. Please note I’m not complaining, this is a wonderful problem to have. Even so, it is a little disconcerting to have to keep hoiking my trousers up every few minutes and I am a little worried about them falling down.

***

We did it! We climbed Vesuvius!!! We walked through the little alleys that were almost like souks to get to the train station and, after a few false starts, mostly because we don’t speak Italian and even the signs are covered with graffiti, found the right train to Ercolano. We got the funny little mini bus to the mountain which was an adventure in itself driving up narrow winding streets past little houses perched right on the side of Vesuvius. It made me wonder how it must feel to live so close to an active volcano.

At the bottom a man offered us wooden poles. Boy was I glad I took one! The climb wasn’t as bad as I expected, steep and quite difficult under foot because the trail is made from loose pumice and ash, but not too bad. The pole really helped to stop me slipping and I’m pretty sure Commando, who didn’t take one, wished he had. It took about and hour and a half and the higher we got the cooler it became which was good. Looking down into the crater was a little disappointing, no bubbling mud, no fire or larva and no steam, just a hole filled with loose pumice and dust. When we got to the top I put my iPod on and selected Truly Madly Deeply, our song. It made me cry.

I want to stand with you on a mountain
I want to swim with you in the sea
I want to lay like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me.

We spent the afternoon walking past the shops and browsing for belts. In the evening we went down to the harbour for a dinner of pasta. Pompeii next. I am so excited!!!!

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