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6.13.17, or Pompeii and Circumstance

Just kidding, I didn’t sleep until very late. Oops. I had a coffee overdose, unfortunately, which resulted in a pretty bad headache. 4 hours later, however, we had to wake up since we had a train to catch for Pompeii.

In case I didn’t sing enough praises for the hotel already, they had free breakfast too. It was in a restaurant next to the hotel itself, and had decent cappuccino and fruity baguettes. However, no one there spoke English well, and it took a lot of hand waving and enunciating to get what I wanted.

At that point, we were running late to the train. Mom was confused regarding the subway station in Italy, which didn’t help my anxiety one bit. I accidentally dropped my coffee in the rush, but at that point we were on the train. I took that time to eat breakfast and put on a sunscreen, lest I want a red mark on my shoulder when we got back.

Once we got to the Pompeii stop, we rushed to get off. However, we didn’t see the Ruins of Pompeii stop, so we needlessly spent money to get to Pompeii itself. It took another round of hassling and figuring out what the heck was going on to get to Pompeii and get an audio guide, as well as reserve a spot to Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii, at this point, was overrun by merchants, so we were slightly heckled the entire time to get an apron with a visage of David’s nether regions on it. No thank you.

Despite getting an audio guide and a map, we got hopelessly lost more times than I’d like to admit. It was fascinating to know that normal people had a room as a house, and mosaic tiles and carvings for walls if you were super rich. Also, the romans really, really liked their baths, as they had a bathhouse that started with a waterfall of cold water, a room to pause and adjust temperatures, one with hot water, one with a sauna, and then finally, a pool. It was like the spa for the elite back then, before manicures. Could you imagine how they built these? And these structures managed to last for over 2000 years!!! It’s just that amazement of how advanced (?) people were back then, in terms of architecture, at least. Maybe I’m just that easily impressed, but still !!! The only unfortunate part was that the Romans didn’t master flat roads, and I ended up almost fracturing my ankle (again) on the side of the road in which there should’ve been a river down the middle of the road.

Towards the end of our visit to Pompeii, we were desperately trying to find the “Villa de Mysteries”, which is mysterious because archaeologists can’t figure out who it was owned by. In the ruins, it’s the complete other side of the entrance, so we were wandering around, trying to figure out how to get it. After multiple arguments, my mom just started rushing off to a road in a random direction, and somehow it was the correct one. Hey, maybe the mystery is that how anger gets you solid results. The road to the villa itself was beautiful- white pebbles lined the road and the trees and plants were groomed to perfection. The Villa itself was barren, with exception to the walls, which seemed to have been repaired a bit. There was a room that had a mostly intact scene detailing a story, made out of mosaics. Overall, I was a bit disappointed in Pompeii, as I was expecting at least one scene in which it was portrayed exactly the way it was when the city was covered in ash. Unfortunate.

It was another 20 minutes until we all headed down to go on the road trip to Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano that many geologists say could explode at any day now. Yay! The road up was a humpity-bumity-uppity-cupity-lumpity-needed to get on one bus, switch to another halfway up-bumpity-bump-bump-hump-a-stump-you-got-a-bump-aaaand-finally-got-to-the-top!

When we got there, Mom wanted to take pictures at the bottom while everyone else went to the top. It took a solid 5 minutes to call her away from the bottom and get to the stairs to go to the crater. You’d think that the journey to the crater would be anticipation for what you’d find at the crater, right? Not for me, surprisingly. Along the way, I took multiple stops, not because I was rushing and needed to catch my breath, but instead to just… take in the moment. You know, in the hustle and bustle of life and traveling, and being stressed, I think I forgot to just… breathe for a minute and enjoy the present. Multiple times, I stopped just to stand there and enjoy the fresh, mountain air filling up my lungs with its purity. I was one of the last people in the group to get to the top, so the silence was oddly comforting. I could hear nothing but the wind whistling and my own heart beating, and it felt like I was, comfortingly, nothing but a speck in the universe. As I looked over Italy and felt the brisk breeze comfort me with its coolness while the sun rays dazzled and basked me with its warmth. You know, when you finally feel comfortable with yourself- that feeling of fulfillment? That was what I felt. That one experience was the best part of my vacation so far.

Once we got to the top, it was picture after picture after picture. I missed the feeling I had on the way up, but I had a bit of mischief along the way as well. I left my “mark” on the back of a sign on the top of Vesuvius, so if you do come anytime soon, take a peek. It's a stylized "R" with 2k17 next to it.

The crater itself wasn’t anything special, it was like a rock valley, with trees and plants growing near the bottom. It’s hard to imagine anything chaotic like a stream of lava coming down upon it. However, because we were late to the party, we were scrambling to get back to the truck and back down. I managed to snag some rocks from the mountaintop itself before dashing to the bottom. We got there 1 minute before the bus left.

Bump-bump-bump got any grapes? We got to the bottom, and got on the train back to Naples. After arriving back to the train station, we took a taxi to this castle place, Castel dell’Ovo. It’s apparently the oldest building in Naples, but still pretty sturdy. There was an art gallery going on there that had really pretty art scenes about the sea surrounding the castle. The most notable thing that we did at the castle was feed seagulls, since my sister didn’t enjoy eating her croissant in the morning. It was a pretty big one too, so we divided it, went up to the very top of the building, and started throwing food at the seagulls. A nearby kid caught on, and started asking for bread to throw as well. This kid couldn’t be like, what, 5? and he was already more gutsy than me, yelling at the seagulls after throwing the bread at them. At the end of the feeding session, there were a small crowd surrounding my sister, the kid and I and a huge flock of seagulls flying above the tower. It was almost like a satanic ritual, minus the blood.

It was pizza again for dinner. I don’t have the best taste buds, but it was delicious. To the point where I was stuffed with 5 pieces of pizza. I literally never have 5 pieces. It was insane. But delicious. Ended up having a food coma that night too. #noregrets

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