Although the past two days have been beautifully clear, this is what Mt. Vesuvius looked like today (and yes, we got rain on our way back to the hotel.)
We started the day by taking our Syrenbus (Mermaid Bus) to Ercolano or Herculaneum.
We walked through out the excavated section of Herculaneum. Some of the town is still buried and cannot be excavated due to the road that is now above it.
We saw many houses and shops and well as an ancient Roman fast food place! Towards the end of the visit , we saw some skeletons of people who tried to escape by sea, but unfortunately they were not able to.
On August 24 in the year 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted burying both Herculaneum and Oplontis, the villa of Poppaea, second wife of Emperor Nero. (Oplontis below)
At Oplontis is we saw some frescos on the wall as well as mosaics on the floor. We saw the primitive kitchen which shared a wall with the hottest room of the Roman bath. The villa included a full Roman bath with the three different temperatures: hot, tepid and cold.
Today we had an early rise at 7:30, but we enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel filled with croissants, sugar-covered donuts, and even pizza! Right after breakfast, we bordered the bus and drove down the Amalfi coast on our way to Paestum in Campania. Even from our seats on our bus, the views were phenomenal and luckily we had the chance to stop and truly take it in. Once we arrived in Paestum, we met our tour guide who showed us around the ruins of the Greek and Roman temples. As we learned on the tour, Paestum was originally built by the Greeks, but when the Romans took over, they destroyed and rebuilt everything in Paestum except for the temples. We were awestruck by the age and beauty of these miraculous edifices. One of the most fascinating temples we saw was dedicated to Athena! Fun fact: even in this patriarchal society, the God of wisdom and military strategy was a woman 🙂 Amidst all the prodigious Ancient Greek architecture, we also ran into a dog which we were sure dated back to 550 BC as well! After touring the ruins, we had the chance to have some of Paestum’s famous mozerella at a local restaurant that was absolutely amazing. We then had the chance to stop by the museum in Paestum where some of the original paintings from inside the tombs in Paestum have been stored. We even saw some ancient Greek honey that survived (although not exactly edible) into modern day!
We then came back to the hotel, explored Sorrento, and returned for a delicious dinner with gelato for dessert. All in all, our first full day in Italy was incredible and we can’t wait for the remainder of the trip 🙂
Thanks to Davis Yetman(Hailey’s dad,) here is a photo of our plane taking off from Boston.
And here we are at the airport all ready to head off on our Italian adventure!
Our flight to Paris was without incident, and it seemed that most everyone got at least a little sleep. We arrived in Paris at 6 a.m. local time which was midnight for us. Our 4 hour lay over in Paris allowed us to regroup and sample the deicious macarons!
We met our tour guide Eileen at the airport and took a bus about an hour south of Naples to our hotel in Sorrento where we had a free afternoon to explore Sorrento which included seeing that beautiful rainbow and having some gelato!
A good night’s sleep for everyone last night has prepared us for our visit today to some of the most amazing and best preserved Doric temples in the world. We are on the bus on our way to Paestum right now. The wonders of modern technology allow us to post this right now!
After two uneventful flights, we arrived to a sunny, cool afternoon in Sorrento. Showers, rest, and gelato were on the day’s agenda. After a wonderful dinner at our hotel, the group is off to sleep. But, we did want to share a favorable omen from the gods–a brilliant rainbow over the Bay of Naples this afternoon. We are off to Paestum early tomorrow. Check back for updates from that amazing sight. Buona Sera!