Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013: Part 5 - Port Days (After)

We had a little bit of a break after Israel - a day at sea. It was a needed reprieve. After you've seen so much in such a short amount of time, you are emotionally, and physically exhausted in a very good way. 

Next stop: Heraklion, Greece. We found a little place called "Gregory's". Now we know how to spell the hubby's name in Greek!

 We walked to the Venetian Fort and then Greg and I wandered through the quaint little port town.

We were excited to find a local artist selling his wares. He was amazingly talented. I love buying art from local artists that showcase the area. It was a great find!

If we are near water - there will be rocks skipped. It's inevitable.

We found a few little souvenirs and enjoyed the stroll through the port town. There wasn't much to see in this little area but it was an easy port. We could just get off the boat and walk to where we wanted to be.

The final port stop was Naples, Italy. The minute my kids heard that we were going to Naples, they began lobbying to head up to Pompeii. Apparently, I'm the uneducated one - I had never heard of Pompeii. The kids told us the story and now we all wanted to go. Off to Pompeii!

We got off the ship and were bombarded by locals trying to give us rides to wherever we wanted to go. They were pretty forceful. We were also very aware of pick-pockets. So this crowd that practically mauled us as we stepped out of the port made us hold our belongings a little closer. Logan even saw a man get pick-pocketed a block ahead of us. The bad guy went up to the man, showing him prices on his iPad about how he would take us where we wanted to go (he showed us the same thing) while he simultaneously had his hand in the man's front coat pocket. He probably did the same to us - but we didn't keep things in open pockets, front or back. 

We had researched how to get a bus ticket and train ticket to get to Pompeii. This was the cheapest option - and we wanted to take the train. So with our non- Italian speaking selves, we managed to figure out not only what to do - but how to do it. It helped that the dads spoke spanish, and that spanish and Italian are similar. Ron also knew a little Italian.

We finally made it to Pompeii with a little sun peaking through the clouds.

 Just in case there are others out there who don't know what/where Pompeii is - or why we wanted to go there, here is a very brief rundown. 
The city just outside of Naples, was created in the 8th-6th century BC. This area would have been a popular vacation destination for many Romans. It is estimated that around 20,000 people would have been living here. The event that makes it a popular vacation destination today was a massive volcanic explosion that occurred in 79AD which buried the entire city in volcanic ash. This ash preserved most of the city - including the remains of many of the people who were left behind or unable to escape during the evacuation. 
Those who were unable to escape, were encased in ash. A shell was created as the body decomposed. When the area was uncovered, the casts were injected with plaster to create the figures seen below.
The stories tell us that the people would have been unconscious from the toxic gas inhalation before the ash fell - but when I look at the forms, they seem to be covering their faces, or reaching out for help. That doesn't seem to match up with the theory that they were unconscious in my book. Unconscious people are limp - not cowering in fear covering their faces. It was a very horrific event. 

Amid all of the tragedy that happened at Pompeii, the beauty of the area was well preserved. We were able to get an inkling of how colorful these ruins we've been seeing over the past week would have been. 

We were all surprised to find a "pizza" oven. This oven looks just like the traditional pizza ovens used today. The kids checked for ancient pizza - but came up empty handed. 

We had a great time at Pompeii - even though it was rainy and freezing cold. You'd think we would all have been tired of looking at old ruins - or at least the kids would have started to grumble - but not at all. We were all enjoying every single minute of it. 

Next stop: Rome

No comments:

Post a Comment