Following Day 2 of school there was an excursion to the ruins of Pompeii, a city that was covered in pumice and ash in 79 AD when Vesuvius errupted. At that time, the population of Pompeii was 10,000 however the bodies of only 2,000 were discovered, indicating that there were warning signs for days before that she was going to blow. And blow she did. Excavation began in the late 1700s and at this point two-thirds of the city has been discovered. As for the remaining third, it rests covered in grass and trees. Why? Well, our trusty guide Stefano gave us two reasons: firstly, because they want to leave ‘a little something for the future generations to discover’; and secondly (and more truthfully by Stefano’s own admission), they have run out of money.
Walking around Pompeii is an experience like no other. Possibly because the Italians allow you to literally walk all over the city, with very few areas classified as off limits. I figure public liability also doesn’t exist as of the 3 million tourists who visited the site last summer, surely 1000’s must’ve broken their ankles trying to negotiate the streets made of huge volcanic rocks!
After almost 3 hours of discovering the main shopping areas, residential streets and the red light district of Pompeii, the tour was over, but Erika (my new friend and fellow student from New York) and I decided to check out the Ampiteatro or main sporting arena before we left. It was a bit of a walk, being away from il centro Pompeii but it was certainly worth it. We were able to walk right on in to the centre of the arena and spent five minutes calling and whistling to hear the beautiful acoustics. Apparently Pink Floyd did a concert there some years ago. One can only imagine what they paid for the priviledge!