Italy Day 3: Mt. Vesuvius

January 6, 2012

Day 3 in Napoli began with no real plans. There were 4 of us who were not going to the various small towns on the coast so we had to come up with something to do. First off though was waking up Jeremy. 

As soon as my alarm went off I heard the guy in the hall bringing up breakfast. It was quite the usual-croissants, coffee, toast, jelly, and juice. I have still not figured out what kind of fruit that juice came from. Some speculated apricots. Interesting enough Jeremy didn't hear the guy come in at all! How he sleeps through things I will never understand. 

After breakfast we met up with Luke and Katie and headed off for the train station to get a decent map. I think we spent all of Napoli searching for a good map. Yes, we looked like tourists, but we needed it badly wandering the streets...especially at night. While walking into the train station Katie mentioned something about a train strike for Friday {it is currently Thursday} and it would prevent us from going to Pompeii as a group as we had planned to do after the great Rome train catastrophe. This somehow sparked an idea that no one really discussed. Next thing we knew we were in customer care asking about the strike and what all it would entail. What if we couldn't get back to Rome Friday? We found out it the local train going from Naples to Pompeii lasting from 9pm Thursday to 9pm Friday. 24 hrs, no trains...except the national train. 

We quickly decided we should hall butt to get tickets and go to Pompeii while we had the chance. Turned out to be the cheapest tickets of our lives, 5 Euros round trip to Pompeii. NO discussion necessary, we got on that train.

Standing room only on the way there, we eventually got a seat when we were about 1 town from Pompeii. It was about a 45 minute ride. 

There were tons of graffiti everywhere. I am convinced anything running through Rome was spray 
painted. Cars were spray painted. Churches were painted. So it was no surprise the train was as well. 

Finally we arrived in Pompeii!

As soon as we got off the train we headed to the "information center". A lady approached us about taking a private car to Mt. Vesuvius for 15 Euros a piece, so we agreed. It was too good to be true, but considering J, Katie, and I had signed up to hike it to begin with before it got cancelled we were willing to give it a shot. Yet another unplanned, spur of the moment adventure we had that day. The whole day was a fly by the seat of your pants adventure.

After driving off with our private car, and 2 Australians we were off. Off up a very nerve racking road with very thin lanes, the type the driver honked before we went around a very fast speed. The view above is Napoli from the side of the mountain while we were driving.

Once we got to our destination we quickly found out that all of the rain and bad weather of the day had made it unsafe to hike the volcano. Something about rocks sliding. We asked if we could risk it, why not we had risked the whole day, but we were denied. 

Mt. Vesuvius

The broke down looking shop where you bought your tickets to hike.

See that very stereotypical man in the red jacket, he wouldn't let us go up. 

It was very foggy, and stayed that way the whole time we were there. We at least got to walk around since it was too dangerous to hike up to the summit.

Stray dogs must be the national symbol of Italy.

Our little adventurous group:)

Another view of Napoli. I haven't decided if it is Naples or Napoli. It is spelled Napoli everywhere, but when talking to a lady in Pompeii she called it Naples.

On our way down, to try to distract us from the fact we just paid 15 Euros and got nothing for it, or driver stopped at the Giovanni Apa factory that makes cameos and gave us a tour. They get all of their shells and coral local in Sorrento. 

A lady making a cameo. Very impressive to watch.

After convincing Jeremy to let me buy a cameo we left for Pompeii. Only to return to rain. We sat in the train station for a few minutes, being fed snacks by our new Australian friends, before we decided to get a sandwich and wait out the rain some more. 

Funny thing was that I wasn't very hungry so I wanted to split a sandwich with Jeremy. There were no knives to speak of, so after he ate his half I took over mine. This caught the attention of a Pompeii Ruins Tour Guide and he started picking on me about it. He asked if we were splitting the sandwich between all four of us, or if it was only our day to eat and the other two could eat tomorrow. Oh he had jokes! We talked to him a few more minutes to find our he had a wife from our Southern neck of the woods and managed to squeeze out some free advice. Which is very hard to come by ha! He showed us a map of the ruins/city and told us to tough it out. It apparently rains often and we shouldn't let it get in our way of seeing Pompeii, it could clear up at any minute, or stay nasty all day. So we bought ponchos and headed off the see the ruins come rain or shine. 

The next post will take you through Pompeii, I will want you ahead of time, it will be quite lengthy.