2 September 2010 – From Pompeii to Southampton

Pompeii

Pompeii

Yesterday, after a bit of a false start where we got on the wrong train due to our woeful lack of Italian and the graffiti covered station signs, we made it to Pompeii. It was touch and go though. We were actually sitting on the train waiting for it to set off when another lost English tourist got on.
“Is this the train for Pompeii?” the harassed looking woman asked anyone who was listening.
“I hope so because that’s where we’re going,” I said.
“You need the next train not this one,” a kindly Italian passenger told us and we all dashed back to the platform in the nick of time. Goodness only knows where we’d have ended up.

Even when we were on the right train I couldn’t really relax until we pulled into Pompeii station, especially as most of the station signs we passed were unreadable. By then we were very hot and dusty and I was glad I had a big bottle of water with me. The station was right next to the ruins of the ancient town of Pompeii and I couldn’t wait to get inside. This was a place I had wanted to see since I studied Greek Literature in college and read Pliny’s account of the eruption. Commando was spot on with his choice of surprise destinations.

Usually places you’ve read about turn out to be much smaller than you expect in real life but Pompeii was much bigger and it turned out to be totally impossible to see all of it in one day. Walking the streets and peering into the houses and other buildings was like a dream come true. I couldn’t help imagining what it must have been like for the people there when the mountain that had been overshadowing their town suddenly began spewing out ash and pumice on them. How impossible it would have been to escape down those narrow cobbled streets.

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We walked and walked, about 4 hours in all, and I could have carried on for longer but we were starving and in desperate need of more water. We stopped of for an authentic panini with local cheese, tomato and ham and a welcome can of diet coke before we caught the train back to Naples. I couldn’t believe how tired we were or how filthy our feet were from those dusty streets. I hardly remember getting into bed and, before I knew it, it was time to have a quick breakfast and set off for the airport and reality. This is a place I will surely return to.

Now we are back in the UK and glad to see the sun is out even if it isn’t as hot as Naples. I’ve had a nice healthy omelette for dinner and rushed around unpacking, doing washing and general clearing up to get back to some sort of normality. As far as I could tell I did ok with my calories while we were away. When the hotel wifi allowed I did my best to fill in my food diary and my exercise calories were awesome except for today which was mainly spent sitting on a big orange plane. I need to make the next few days count if I am to avoid a nasty surprise on weigh in day. Although I’ve been pretty good with the food while I was away I did succumb to a tiramisu last night, when in Italy and all that…Hopefully all the exercise will have put paid to that though. My fingers are firmly crossed. Watch this space!

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