The highlight of our trip, Pompeii went beyond our expectation. It has more than just the eerie feel of a lost city.
A small town in the South of Italy, it has a very rich Roman influence. It can be reached easily from Naples or Rome. We choose to get there by train from Rome. You have to change train in Naples because Pompeii is not part of the Italo or Trenitalia train system ( the two big train systems in Italy ). It is serviced by a local train which has older, noisy trains that are very colorful.
Pompeii has two train stations, both are within walking distance from the center of town. We arrived at the Scavi Station from Naples but left from Circumvesuviana Station to Naples enroute to Bologna.
We booked our accommodation in advance through our affiliate which was cheap and nice. Our first day was spent trying to see Mt. Vesuvius which was the cause of Pompei's mystery. There are several small tourist shops and we booked this bus trip with one of them as we also needed directions to our accommodation.
It was supposed to be just a few hours trip, but once up there, we feared we might end up as sacrificial lambs to the volcano. The park gate to Vesuvius closed at 6:00pm so we needed to be out before that time. We managed to get to the end of the road circling the volcano, bought a souvenir, then hurried out of the park to catch our group.
We gathered to catch our transport back to town, but it had left without us. Our guide said we had to wait for another transport. All the other tourists are gone except for our group. The Italian guides did their best to entertain us (they even took a few group selfies) but one couple and another family were not amused and kept asking "What? Where?? Italian time???
Eventually another transport come to pick us up. The road to Vesuvius is narrow and winding but the driver and guides keep on talking, watching, gesturing, and laughing about the football game while our driver drove as fast as he could. I like this attitude as I can relate to it - though some passengers were restless, I hoped TwoMonkeyme didn't feel dizzy. ( She did, I found out later ).
Now we know the meaning of "Keep calm, you're in Italy", which really captures the slower, relaxed feel of Southern Italy. Vesuvius seemed quiet even though we could see steam and smoke coming out of it. Scientists say it could erupt again in future.
We planned to go to Sorrento early the next day to pick up the car we rented to go to Potenza, Basilicata but due to the delayed of our Vesuvius trip, our plans changed. We decided to just stay positive and enjoy our trip.
The Pompeii ruins were unbelievable, and riveting. It really gives you a glimpse of the way of life during the Medieval times. The structures of the houses and art work tell you who was poor or rich, just as in modern times. It has its own Colosseo, Piazza, Theater, even a Brothel.
The ruins also were not as crowded as most of the sights that we visited previously, perhaps due to its size, perhaps because it is off the main northern tourist track. The ruins are big and is a whole town by itself.
How to Plan your trip to Pompeii, Italy