Another day, another ancient city! We are at the tender port of Sorrento today. A tender port is when there is no deep water dock and we have to take the life boats to shore. It’s quite fun actually, although, if it’s a ways to shore, it can get a little stomach turning. Sky gets motion sick very easily, so although she’s fine on the life boats (they only take 7-8 minutes at the most to get to shore) I have to plan accordingly when booking shore excursions. The bus ride to Pompeii was about 30 minutes and the road was much windier than I thought it would be. So she was a little uncomfortable and had to lay down on the seat. Once we arrived, all was well and we started our tour.
They give you a little walkman type thing you wear around your neck with ear buds so you can hear the tour guide from a distance. It’s a good thing too, because we tend to fall back a lot. In fact, there were a few times when we fell back so far that the little walkman cut out. We were pretty far back. Sparrow is NOT a walker. She has a very hard time if she has to endure something for too long that she isn’t interested in, or worse, if she’s hot. It was very hot in Pompeii today. There was a lot of walking. She was wearing a sweater. It took a lot of compassion and understanding from me for her to soldier through and I’m happy to say, we made it without any tears. She’s only 6, so it’s really asking a lot to have her tromping all over ancient ruins when she can’t possibly grasp the concept of thousands of years, or a disaster of such proportion. She did well and I’m proud of her.
Pompeii is unlike anything you will ever see in your life! It was just incredible! Unlike Herculaneum, Pompeii was not covered in pyroclastic flow but in the ash that fell. When excavations where first beginning, the archaeologists kept finding air pockets in the ash. One man, Guiseppe Fiorelli, had an idea and decided to fill one of the air pockets with plaster. When it dried, they dug it out and discovered it was the space left by a long ago decomposed body. This is what most people think of when they think of Pompeii and it may be why it’s the more familiar of the two.
Seeing the remains of someone who died more than 2000 years ago, in their final moments, right down to their toenails and bracelets, is such a personal experience. It actually felt a little disrespectful taking their pictures.
The architecture that is still standing is amazing. The roads are about a foot below the road and most roads are built so they face down hill. This ensures that rain or waste water flows away from the city. There are large stones every 50 yards or so that serve as crosswalks. They are at sidewalk level so that when crossing the street in the rain, you won’t have to get your feet wet! Those clever Romans.
Many people think Vesuvius is the higher of the two peaks in the photo below. I thought this too at first. However, the explosion was so intense, that it blew 2/3 of the mountain top off. The column in the photo below is actually where the crater is. The entire thing is the volcano!
After Pompeii, we headed back to Sorrento to get some pizza, of course, and do a little shopping. I promised the kids they could eat as much pizza as they wanted as long as we were in Italy and I have to tell you, I’m not sorry.
Sorrento is really beautiful. Am I overusing that word? I can’t help it, it’s so true. It’s a perfect Italian riviera town with the most perfect climate. The town square is all decorated for Christmas and the orange trees are in bloom, it’s just gorgeous.
Our ship, Maasdam, looked lovely out there with Vesuvius in the background. We took the last tender boat back and happily the only two other kids on the ship were also on the last boat. They are two sisters, one 9 and one 12 and they are great girls. Their parents are singers onboard so they have come along on the cruise for the experience. They are homeschoolers too, though much more structured than we are.