Friday, 18 March 2011

42 Naples Pt 1 Pompeii

Wednesday 16th March.
Today was a pack up and admin day. We sorted the washing and flushed out the grey waste tank in Lizzy - horrible job but necessary.
Wallace was loaded onto the trailer and we just chilled out for the rest of the day.
Thursday 17th March.
Today, we have been retired fo a whole year. It seems like a few months. It is also St Patricks Day and the 150th Birthday of Italy as we know it today.
So, final "prep for voyage" and we were off at about 10am for Naples. We had decided to go the cheaper, slower scenic route avoiding the tolls on the motorway but it was raining so hard it was a bit pointless so we switched to the motorway and paid another 28 euros for the privilege. As we approached Naples we could clearly see Mount Versuvius in the background. (the rain had abated somewhat). We passed through Naples and arrived at our campsite called Zeus in Pompeii at about 3pm. This site is literally 100m from the workings of the Pompeii disaster.

Just visible at the end of the road is the campsite and on the right is the entrance to Pompeii.
Getting lizzy into place was a squeeze. No shortage of oranges thgough,

Pompeii was a prosperous self ruling Roman city till it decided to rebel against  Rome for a more political and social respect in 89-90 BC. Rome placed the city under seige and eventually Pompeii caved in in 80 BC and was downgraded to a colony and renamed " Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum". Following this it was given many public and private buildings by Emporers Octavian Augustus and Tiberius. A violent earthquake hit the region in 62 AD and the damage was extensive. Reconstruction of Pompeii began immediately. 17 years later, on the afternoon of the 24th August 79 AD the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted. That day the city was covered with about 1m of ash. The next day Versuvius exploded and sent a pyroplastic wave of ash and rocks the 12 miles to Popeii and its sister city Herculaneum. This wave was travelling at about 100kph and could not be ran from. The whole city was buried and fried instantly. Nothing survived. Those that were hiding were either buried alive in collapsing buildings or suffocated and burned with the air/ash mix being over 500 dec C.
Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried under 4 to 6 meters of ash and pumice, and it was lost for over 1,500 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1599 by an engineer who whist tunneling found some painted walls.Exploration did not begin till 1748 and has been going on virtually constantly since then. In about 1875, an archaeologist working at the site made a small hole with his hammer. On looking inside the void he saw bones. The director of the dig stopped work and called for plaster of paris and water. He filled the void left by the body, now long gone and what remains is a series of plaster casts of some of the bodies and it also shows the boxer style stance that most of the victimes ended up in due to the heat contracting arms and legs.  Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. It recieves approximately 2,500,000 visitors every year.

We chilled out for the rest of the evening and as it got dark the rain came back - in torrents. This lasted most of the night - luverly.

Friday 18th March
The quote Karen today, "Another hard day at the office".
We awoke to more torrents of rain and as such had a slow start and decided to watch a video. By the time the film had finished the weather had improved and we dicided to go an visit Pompeii. We walked out of the campsite and turned left into the entrance to the site.
It was a very interesting visit of about 3 hours. Fortunately closing time saved our legs from complete destruction.

Now the piccy of Pompeii.

Our first view

The temple of Venus

Mosaic of a dog. Dogs are welcome on the site and there are many strays that are officially cared for.

Teatro Grande - Big theatre.

Social space or Odeon (singing place) behind theater later believed used as a barracks due to weapons found.

Yes these are willys. Not hidden either, on display in the main street. Sex and debauchery was part of normal life.

These are the plaster castings formed from the voids left from bodies.

A spoert ground. Swiming pool in the middle.

Outside of the 20,000 seat Amphitheater

Karen inside listening to the dialogue for the building.

A view from the wall of the Amphitheater. Shows the height of the ash not yet removed and Versuvious in the background.

Some surviving paintings in a Villa. Venus on the right , Mars on the left. This villa was also bombed in 1943 - presumably by us Brits.

Pompeii equivalent of a zebra crossing. The streets being used for drainage, this allowed the crossing without getting poo on your shoes. The stones were set so that wheeled carriages could pass between. See the worn out wheel ruts.
Karen in one of the Thermopodiums. Open air hot food stalls. An early McDonalds ! Nice to see her in the kitchen again.  OK I'm running.......

A general street view.

The Basilica. For justice and administration.

Temple of Apollo. Statue of him on the right.

Sun dial in Apollos Temple. In Roman times there were 24 hours in a day. They were not 60 minutes like ours. They had 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark regardless of the time of year so in the winter and hour could be 45 minutes and in the summer, 75 minutes. There were also only 10 months in the year.

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