There are times when guides and guidebooks are a hindrance to mindfulness in travel. Each of these drives you in a direction of THEIR choice and at THEIR pace, something we have suffered from in the past few days in Mdina, Syracuse, Valletta …….
Our cruise ship had docked at Naples just after 8.00 am and we took a bus from the port to Pompeii after breakfast. It was only a 30 min journey, we bought our tickets for €13.60 each and entered the ancient city, desperately trying to orientate the maps and understand the numbered “insulae”. All part of the unhindered wandering process!
Pompeii is bigger than we thought, indeed it is positively massive and would take days to walk around completely. After a few minutes perusal of the site map there was a clear route possibility taking in the amphitheatre, the forum, the temple of Venus, the Basilica, and of course the plaster casts of a few victims of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. We estimated that this would take about 2 hours, and it did, so we can certainly recommend this combination if you have no guide and limited time.
The cobbled streets are not easy to walk on and Pompeii is definitely not a wheelchair-friendly site, but it is still the worlds second most visited archaeological site behind the Pyramids. Today the streets and central areas were quite crowded with many groups standing around listening to their guides describing the city at the time of the eruption, the purpose and layout of each building, and of course the details of the eruption itself. As most people will know it was volcanic ash descending on the city here that buried it and suffocated around 3000 inhabitants. But …. it was NOT ash that killed the people of Herculaneum! You’ll have to wait a couple of days to discover that.
We hope you enjoy the photos as a sample of our wandering.