September 14 (a little late posting) Was the day of ruins. After spending the night at the hotel across the street from the Pompeii ruins we headed over to see Pompeii as soon as they opened. The gate we went in was on the end where the coliseum is, and few people use that gate, basically making our explorations seem like we practically had the place to ourselves. It was pretty amazing seeing things that are in the books and being right there basically on top of everything. Again – like the museum in London there were no ropes in most of Pompeii allowing us to roam where we pleased.
In August of 79AD Mt Vesuvius erupted for three days covering Pompeii in volcanic ash about 6 meters deep.

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Looking down one of the many streets in Pompeii. Looking through several structures. In the background of both is a quiet Mt. Vesuvius.

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Most of the homes have a peristilium, or an inner courtyard surrounded by columns on to which other rooms of the house opened.

 

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We found several frescoes in Pompeii – although not as many as I thought we would. When we found them it was a bit of an unexpected treat. There were many “kitchens” that we found with the urns and counters with built in urns for cooking and food storage.

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Above is the fresco in the thermopolium and next to it the serving counter. A sort of Pompeii restaurant.

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Some of the Pompeii sights. The closer we got to the center of Pompeii more and more people were filling the streets. I got the typical shots everyone gets with all the people in them. Well – can’t always have the place to ourselves!

After Pompeii we headed to Herculaneum. This is another town that was destroyed by Vesuvius’s eruption.  While Pompeii was covered with ash, Herculaneum was destroyed by boiling mud  at temperatures around 400 degrees from the volcano.  We found Herculaneum to have more to see. Frescos were more than just pleasant surprises, they were everywhere as well as mosaics on the walls and also the floors. Again – we had practically unlimited access and there were very few people there.
While Pompeii is a got to see it thing, Herculaneum is a definite not to be missed place to go.

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Part of Hurculaneum from above.

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Two of the many kitchens there. Those urns are pretty darned deep – bet they had really long ladles!

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One of the many frescos on the left. On the right intricate mosaics. Yup – I had to put one up with a dog in it!

After here it was on to Rome.

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