Saturday, May 11, 2013

Eurotrip: Pompeii

Pompeii = Mind Blown.
I don't even know what to say about this place!! I'm at a loss for words to demonstrate how incredible it was. And this is coming from a girl who really does not like looking at ruins. This post has turned into a giant photo-dump, but again I am somewhat word-less.

To say Pompeii is a big site is an understatement. One could explore all day long and still not see it all. Here is an example of an average street. (Before the tour buses came, of course!) The stones in the middle of the "road" are ancient crosswalks over the gutter-like streets.

So not *everything* is original in Pompeii... but pretty darn close!

The details uncovered on the walls were gorgeous.

This was part of a ceiling!

These lions represent the base of a table from the first person to try to overthrow Caesar! How do historians figure this stuff out?!

Beware of dog!

This is what McDonalds looked like in 79 AD.

Angie and I had debated getting a tour guide to help us understand the site better. The 100 euro price tag helped our decision. It turned out we didn't need one because one of the guards befriended us and took us on a private tour. Seriously!!?!!

First he showed us where the plaster bodies were located. They represented three families who died from asphyxiation. (Yes, it was creepy and very sad.)

Then he took us behind some fences to a Palace of Venus that was under renovation. The frescoes were out of this world!

Then he took us to another site that was in the process of being uncovered/renovated. We had trouble translating his Italian, but I think it was a bathhouse/gymnasium/something? We were able to determine there were pools, saunas, and lounges.

I loved this fresco!

And this was the swimming pool. Seriously, the early Romans had it good!

I would have loved Pompeii even without some VIP treatment, but I admit that it totally added to the experience. There is something so cool about bypassing the barriers and being taken to the special, off-limit places. I'm not sure if our guard was bored, good-natured, or just happy to watch two American girls giddily snap pictures. Whatever it was, I am thankful!
Another highlight was the giant amphitheater, which Angie and I had all to ourselves thanks to arriving so early in the day.
One other interesting place we visited was the Lupanare, or House of Prostitution. I will keep this post PG (hi Mom & Dad) but it was certainly interesting to see how, er, open the early Romans were! Most of Pompeii's "erotic art" has been removed and is kept in a recently opened secret collection in Naples. But there were still some interesting things to see in the Lupanare. It was definitely one of the most popular places to visit at Pompeii.
I fear I may be sounding like a broken record, but I just can't get over how incredible of a place Pompeii is. To think there is still so much more to uncover. (Is it too late to switch careers and become an archeologist?)
I will definitely be renting as many documentaries as possible about Pompeii when I get back. I want to know so much more! I can solidly say that this was one of the best interesting places I have been in my entire life, and a true highlight of my amazing adventure.


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