Smash book!! Gearing up for my my next adventure in Italy!

I am about two months from leading my fifth student tour abroad.  This time…10 days in Italy!  For each trip I like to make my own smash book to record all of the wonderful moments of our journey.

For those of you that don’t know about the smash book – read this.

 

 

Pompeii, Italy

DSC_0759Italy remains one of my favorite destinations.  After our journey to the top of Mt. Vesuvius, we took an expertly guided tour of the ruins of Pompeii.  Mt. Vesuvius destroyed this ancient Roman town in 79 AD, but the ash, evidently, preserved quite a bit of it.  There are lots of photos and I only saw, probably, a quarter of the town.  All of my information comes from our tour guide.  So, if there are any historians out there that think I have it wrong, please let me know. I am a tourist, not a historian.  Please enjoy my photos and the mini amateur tour through the ruins.

 

 

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Before we entered the walls of the city, we viewed the mass graves in what would have been right outside the city walls.  DSC_0762DSC_0763

We first entered the Gladiator training grounds – a big courtyard, basically.  The trees are magnificent.DSC_0773

Then we made our way to the amphitheater.  You can see the courtyard we just left in the background – and look at those mountains – wow!DSC_0790

So, then we started walking through the ancient streets.  We were told that the giant stones in the middle of the road were for pedestrians to be able to cross without stepping into the sewage that flowed in the street.  Each of those gates represent a different shop.  This was the market street, evidently.DSC_0793

This is a wood burning pizza oven – ha!  Seriously, it was said to be a bakery.  They thought this because the fireplace was so much larger than that in the home areas.DSC_0791

Random street of Pompeii.DSC_0827

Me and my best travel buddy, Kelly.  We make a great team. She makes laugh and laugh – we have so much fun together.  We are standing outside the infamous Pompeii brothel.  The middle school group that walked through with us could not quite handle the artwork on the walls.DSC_0826

So, this is the brothel.  Do you see the upside down cross?DSC_0841

As we made our way from the brothel to the city square the tour guide pointed out the map on the ground carved into the stone.  It points to the brothel so that those visiting the city for the first time know where to go.  The brothel does, in fact, have artwork that survived on its walls, as well.  Images of people, men and women, in various sexual positions cover the walls of the brothel.  Our guide explained that a customer would simply point to the desired position.  Bed pictured below.DSC_0830

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Another random street.  We are on our way to the city square.  We just left the brothel.DSC_0797

You can’t really make out the walls, exactly, but this street was “apartments”.DSC_0800

An example of the residential fireplace.  DSC_0802

The courtyard of the gladiator school.  This area was one of the best preserved.  The photo below was the ornate, arched ceiling.  The photo does not do it justice.  The colors and the artistry took my breath away.DSC_0808

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This was displayed within the walls of the gladiator school.  I am not sure why he was separated from the rest of the artifacts that I posted below.  This was just mesmerizing.  The thought of all of those people being buried so quickly in the ash that they were frozen and then preserved.  Amazing.DSC_0821

So, a regular ally leading to a beautiful courtyard.  These small private courtyards were blocked off and we could not see them up close.  They were off of private residences.DSC_0863

The next several photos are of the many artifacts recovered from the ash.DSC_0865DSC_0867DSC_0866

Lots of vases and urns.  The plastic crates in the background unfortunately detract from the collection.  Did you see the dog in the glass box?  I think that was a dog…I never did get a definitive answer.DSC_0847

If you saw my Mt. Vesuvius post, then this photo may look familiar.  That’s it in the background – the devastating volcano that covered this city in ash.DSC_0870

More images of the city square.DSC_0871DSC_0872DSC_0877DSC_0881DSC_0883DSC_0887

DSC_0889Some of those last pictures really show the beauty of the area.  So that’s it.  My trip through the ruins of Pompeii.  A very hot day that ended with overpriced frozen lemonade and a stroll through the vendors outside the gates.  Oh – and we saw a demonstration of cameos being made from shells – then we went for the lemonade.  They were beautiful, but not for me.

If you have not seen my Mt. Vesuvius post you can find it in this link to the top of the volcano.

Thanks for reading my post and traveling with me! Be sure to follow me on fields of poppies to see where we go next!!

To the top of Mt. Vesuvius, Gulf of Naples, Italy

Mt. Vesuvius is the one of the most dangerous and most closely monitored active volcanoes in the world – according to our awesomely amazing guide – ANNA.  It stands 1293 meters and was last active in 1944 during WWII – at which point the area was evacuated.  I mention the war, because I remember something about an airbase there at this time losing lots of planes to the heat and the ash.  Again – tour guide, ANNA.

Our group took a special journey to the top of the volcano.  We walked through gravel to the top until we peered over the edge into the crater.  The trail goes around the top of the opening, but did not go the distance due to our schedule.  The stairs in the featured photo led to the other side of the crater.

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As we traveled from Rome to the Naples Region and Mt. Vesuvius we saw the Italian country side from the bus window.

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From the window of the bus on the way to the drop off point.  I love the tree on the right, giving the photo depth.  Anyway – this is the port of Naples.

DSC_0630 (2)DSC_0629 (2)As we drove up part of Mt. Vesuvius, the roads were very winding and narrow.  Sometimes I did not quite know how the bus driver did it.  Pure luck, because the rode was not wide enough for one tour bus, let alone, a second bus coming down the hill.  The photos above, again, were from the bus window. The buildings and life surrounding this potential firestorm are amazing.

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We arrive to the point where we could get out and walk the rest of the way.  Lots of souvenirs made from the lava rocks from the volcano.  The girls above are in their this is my life pose.  And so…the climb begins….

They do offer tour guides at the site.  We were held up a bit, actually, because they would not let o20140622_112656ur tour guide lead the group – we had to hire theirs.  Honestly, we did not even want a guide, but we were required to have one.  She was kind of awful.  So boring. Too quiet, she seemed like maybe she, herself, had looked at this crater one too many times.  Eventually, we trailed off and kind of left her.  I am sure we missed out on history of the hill this way, but I could not help it.  There is nothing worse than a boring tour guide when in the presence of such amazing history and beauty.

And so, we make it to the top.

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Looking to the left….(above)

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And looking to the right….Naples, Italy…then zoomed in.  Literally felt like we were on top of the world.  Breathtaking views, beautiful wind, and the excitement of knowing the thing could erupt at any moment (not really, but I’m just sayin’)

Also at the top of Mt. Vesuvius…

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Remnants of a once functioning cable car ride to the top of the volcano.  The guide did not seem to know anything about the history of that or why they removed it.  I would imagine, perhaps, it is a gruesome, tragic tale better forgotten.  I rode on one of these in Chattanooga, TN once.  ONCE.

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Another little visitor on the top of the volcano…I caught him mid color change.

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Beautiful flowers in the harshest of conditions…in gravel and stone…with such a backdrop!

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DSC_0690DSC_0691Views of the inside of the crater wall.  The steam coming out of the holes in the ground tell us that this is, indeed, an active volcano.

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This is the view from our lunch spot,  half way back down the mountain.  The Island of Capri is in the distance…going there tomorrow.

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After our climb and a little lunch, a guided tour of Pompeii awaits us.  The mountain in the distance is Mt. Vesuvius.  If only all of those pesky people were not in the photo!

Both locations – worth every penny.  If you are in the area and have the strength, I totally recommend the climb to the top.  I will always remember that view with the wind in my hair and the sun in my face.  Also in fields of poppies – check out the post about Pompeii.

Thanks for reading my post and traveling with me! Be sure to follow me on fields of poppies to see where we go next!!