|We made a mistake! We should have visited the Pompeii excavations yesterday. It rained during the night & on & off for most of the day. We did spend the morning exploring the ruined city with the help of a map & an audio guide but the intermittent rain showers detracted somewhat from the experience. It was amazing to think that the ruins had been completely covered in ashliike material since AD79 & only really rediscovered in 1748. Since then excavation has continued & still continues to this day. Over 34 acres have been uncovered to date & at least another 10 acres is thought to be still left to uncover.
It really is one of the most remarkable historical sights in the world. The old temples, the amphitheatres, the colosseum & all the houses are just so well preserved. The plaster casts of the bodies of the men, women & children that were trapped & killed by the poisonous gases & the falling ash were particularly poignant in their display case. The people had died where they fell & were covered with ash which hardened in time around the body, which itself just decomposed leaving a perfect cast of the body. By pouring plaster of paris into the cavities & leaving it to set the casts of the bodies were made. Quite spooky really, but fascinating to see.
We spent about four hours wandering around the ruins of the city getting wetter & wetter until we gave up & headed for the exit & back to Elsie to dry out & get some dry clothes on. Viv had run out of dry walking shoes so decided to take the afternoon off & stay in. I decided to head back into Naples & look around some more.
I took the train again from the nearby station for the 30-40 minute ride. The local electric trains are pretty basic & most are covered in varying amounts of graffiti, both inside & outside. Even the stations in the poorer outskirts of Naples are literally covered in it. Graffiti seems to be a real problem in Italy. Another problem, for me, is the number of smokers outside everywhere. Sad to see so many young people taking up the habit. At least it's banned in the trains, but not on the stations.
The newest addiction is smart phones, mobile phones & tablets. On the train ride home in the evening I was surrounded by people obsessed with their toys. Of the 8 people in the two sections where I was seated 5 had phones in their hands & one man beside me was working on a spreadsheet on his laptop computer. A glance down the carriage showed that this pattern was repeated all through it. What on earth did people do before the coming of the mobile phone era?
Anyway back in Naples I hopped on a tram & headed down to the port area where I found an old castle that looked interesting & as it was raining again I wandered inside following a line of people. I soon found out once we entered the great hall inside the castle that it was some sort of memorial to a recently deceased famous guitarist. There was a large photo of him mounted on the back wall & in the middle of the open room was a large glass case containing a small wooden casket, with what I can only presume were his ashes inside. I followed the line of people around the display & quickly headed out again past others who were apparently signing books of remembrance. Ooops!
After that I headed to the funicular station for a ride up to the top of the hill overlooking the city. We were entertained on the way up by a strolling violinist busking for a few cents. I got a bit lost at the top & never did find the castle & ended up wandering all the way back down the maze of streets & alleys to the bottom. As it was now dark & getting late I bussed it back to the central station & headed back to Pompeii along with the phone & tablet wielding commuters.