Amalfi Coast: Day three in Pompeii.

So….back to our lovely weekend in the Amalfi Coast.

On our last day, we headed to Pompeii to explore the ruined city and, the best part, climb Mount Vesuvius! wahoo! Mt. Vesuvius is the volcano that erupted all over pompeii, but you were probably aware of that.  I actually didn’t know this before we visited, but the volcano is really about an hour away from the city.  When it erupted, the wind carried the ash all the way over to Pompeii, and ash rained on the entire city until everything was destroyed and everybody died. How crazy is that?!  They didn’t die from the actual eruption, just the effects of it. That is like a volcano erupting in Canton, Ohio, and carrying tons and tons of ash via the wind all the way to Cleveland and destroying the entire city of Cleveland. Ridiculous.

When we arrived in Pompeii, our tour guide took us on a tour of the city for a couple hours, and it was SO awesome! I remember studying Pompeii way back in elementary school. Back in the stone age. I absolutely loved it. I remember always being completely fascinated by the fact that an entire civilization could be there one second and then gone so quickly. I don’t know why, but the idea of pompeii just amazed me. Maybe it’s because I was about eight years old and everything amazed me then.  Even now, I still remember so vividly how much I loved it and wanted to visit the ruins someday. I tried to research as much as I could, and I actually (this is kind of nerdy. fasten your seatbelts.) watched a million documentaries on the history channel about it. They were like 3 hours long and every time one was on, I would hide in my room and watch it. I was a silly little kid. When I found out we were exploring Pompeii during our trip to the Amalfi Coast, I obviously had to sign up.

It was so perfect because we got to see in real life all of the places I had learned about: The old town square and the old theatre…even the old brothel! (there was a whole documentary on the history channel about how obsessed with -um- reproduction the people of pompeii were. I remember it because I was so disturbed.) The symbol of their city (kind of like how Columbus’ symbol is the buckeye, and well…I’m not sure what Cantons is…maybe like, somebody who’s really depressed and bored because nothing happens there ever… haha just kidding….) is actually a male reproductive organ (do you like how I worded that so classy? *pats self on back*) with wings. This is because it symbolizes ‘strength’ and ‘good fortune’.  (the good fortune part didn’t seem to work out for them though…too soon?) That symbol is engraved in everything all over the city.  It’s really weird.  But I go to Kent State, so sexual organs drawn all over everything is really nothing new.  Pompeii, back in its prime, actually reminded me a lot of Kent State. I’m still deciding whether that’s a good thing.

Anyway, we also got to visit an old fast food restaurant and a really wealthy family’s mansion!  You could tell they were wealthy because they had a bathroom IN their house. Unheard of. They also had a library and a theater. Our guide told us that nobody really had shoes back in those days, so all of the extremely rich people were carried around everywhere by their servants on pillows so they didn’t have to walk on the ground in their bare feet. Um….where can I hire a pillow servant to carry me around Kent? Can you imagine being a servant and your whole job is just to carry someone around everywhere they want to go on a huge pillow? You’re like a human car. Meanwhile, you are just walking around in your bare feet, totally resentful. I would be like, “um, excuse me, if I can do it, so can you.” And then “accidentally” drop them/get lost/ram into things a lot. I was mostly just so amazed by the fact that Pompeii was founded in B.C. That’s crazy. That’s so long ago. You never get a chance to explore cities that are so old. Scientists were able to preserve some of the bodies of people who died during pompeii by covering their corpses with plaster, so even when their bodies decomposed, the plaster is still in the shape of their body. It was so sad seeing their bodies curled up in the fetal position, and they just looked so scared. I kept wondering what their lives were like when they were still alive! I hope they weren’t one of those poor servants. That would be obnoxious. But I also hope they weren’t one of those annoying rich people. That would be equally obnoxious. After exploring Pompeii, we got served this amazing lunch at a fancy hotel! I got a plate of spaghetti that was the size of Mount Vesuvius and a delicious caprese salad and vanilla gelato. We took a bus to the mountain, and it was so insane! The bus drove about 3/4 of the way up, and then we hiked the rest of the way, which still took about 45 minutes. There are ropes all down the side of the mountain for hard core people who climb the entire way, which I’m sure would take way longer than 45 minutes. I made a mental note to come back one day with my husband and do that. We are going to be one of those adventurous couples who climb mountains in Italy and things like that. And get carried around on pillows in our spare time. Just for future reference.

The bus ride up the side of the volcano was actually more insane than the climb! There was a narrow, windy little road that twisted around the volcano, and the higher we got, the tighter it got; no guard rail or anything, just our huge charter bus, a monstrous mountain, and a tiny, twisty road…and then miles and miles of cliffs, trees, boulders, and an ocean below. No worries. Oh, and it was a two lane road that was actually big enough for one small bike, maybe a tandem or something. But in reality, there were other people, with equally huge charter buses, going in the opposite direction as us. I wasn’t scared though. Other people were scared. They were freaking out, but I was totally down with the whole thing.

Actually, I was way too immersed in the amazing view to even pay attention to the fact that, at any fatal moment, I could be plummeting to my death. No matter how many awesome views I experience during this trip, I can never, ever get over it. They take my breath away every time. I just cannot believe scenery like that exists in real life. I always thought they photoshopped a lot of stuff in movies, and they probably do, but they really wouldn’t have to if they were filming on location in some of these places. Ridiculous.

The climb up Mount Everest -I mean-Mount Vesuvius should have been exhausting, but all I actually felt was exhilarated! I don’t know if it was the gorgeous scenery, or the mountains, or the fact that I was climbing an ancient volcano I’ve been obsessed with since I was eight, or the fact that I’m studying abroad in Italy, or a combination of all of it and more, but it was the biggest adrenaline rush! Especially after making it to the very top and getting to look over the edge, and see inside the active volcano! What?!  It was smoking and everything. so cool. As a joke when we were close to the top, some of the guys in our group decided to run back down screaming “It’s happening!! It’s happening!!” not. funny.

Just kidding, it was hilarious.

This post is already way too long, so I’ll just wrap it up by saying check out the pictures on facebook if you have some time! There are some good ones! I could spend days and days and days talking about how awesome it was, and my fingers would fall off from typing, probably.

After we climbed back down, we got on the bus and began the 8 hour ride home. It was sad to leave, but also exciting because we were heading back to Florence instead of Kent! woo! On the way back, we watched Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (we obviously have quality movie taste) and our friend Danny decided to read an excerpt from 50 Shades of Gray aloud to the whole bus as a bedtime story….which is actually really disturbing and should never be read as a bedtime story. Who in the world reads that book? I’m appalled at its existence.

I hope you are having a day full of adventure and excitement, wherever you are! Here are some quotes to inspire you:

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress: Adventure.” – J.K. Rowling (The Deathly Hallows)

“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. In this, a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong, is to think you control it.” -John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley)
^^^ This book is so good, everyone read it. ^^^

xoxo Lizzie xoxo

Writing Playlist:
The pieces don’t fit – James Morrison
Sarah – Ray LaMontagne
Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop – Landon Pigg
Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop – Landon Pigg (I listened to it twice because this song accurately describes my dream life 😛 Actually, just the title.)
The dreamer – The tallest man on earth
Never let me go – Florence and the Machine
Bloom – The paper kites
Skinny Love – Bon Iver
Don’t you worry child – Swedish House Mafia

 

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