Take an early morning train from Roma to Napoli. It is about 3 hours from the central train station in Rome to Piazza Garibaldi in Naples. Purchase tickets for the Circumvesuviana while in the train station in Naples and then head downstairs to catch the next train. They leave very frequently. Get off the train at Pompeii Scavi, which puts you less than a quarter mile from the entrance. Obviously, wear good walking shoes. I am always amazed when we do a day trip and see a scowling woman wearing heels or visibly ruined intricate sandals while walking around an archeological site. Don’t be that lady. Reverse the order of things for your return paying attention to the last times train depart your locations.
BBC has a detailed article about the disaster of Pompeii. In AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted burying the town of Pompeii under 13 to 30 feet of volcanic ash raining down for over six hours. Historical accounts of the eruption show the town was completely unprepared. People and animals were killed either by the heat or suffocation, and the city was essentially stopped in time. Pompeii is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site receiving over 2,500,000 visitors each year.
You can see the structure of columns as they existed under the beautiful facades. It was very cold and rainy when we visited, which added to the mystical atmosphere. (My attire was not warm enough, forcing me to purchase a cheesy Italia soccer zip up outside the entrance and experience the price gouging-blah!)
The original copper statue of the dancing Faun is held in the National Museum in Naples. I am thankful for the replica in its place helping us to see what it was really like at the House of the Faun, which was built in the 2nd Century BC.
The volcanic ash preserved Pompeii to an unbelievable extent. Original paint colors are seen in this courtyard.
Modern day architecture and interiors would never stand up to the quality of centuries old construction seen here. I could not believe they let us walk on these amazing mosaic floors. Cayle and I were basically tip toeing around on some of them, I’m sure looking ridiculous.
Modern day familiarity with Russian River Brews Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder received their names from the first hand accounts recorded by Pliny the Younger of the Vesuvius eruption from his position across the bay. Pliny the Elder, his uncle, died while trying to rescue victims in Pompeii. Pliny’s letter gives the most detailed account of the event. Pliny the Younger has been labeled the best beer in the world.
Pompeii is an easy day trip from Rome. You feel an enormous presence surrounding you, and feel entirely connected to to the history of humanity. You don’t want to miss it. If the weather had been nicer we would have picnicked out in a courtyard. If you have time, visit the National Museum in Naples where many of the larger, detailed mosaics and sculptures are preserved from Pompeii. Fill your belly with some delicious pizza while you are at it, and only then jump back on the train for your return to Rome.
Here is a blog created by and for people who have worked on the archeological excavation and reconstruction of Pompeii if you want more information: Blogging Pompeii
We have some catching up to do, putting it mildly. We haven’t yet shared how we started off 2012. We typically don’t consider Europe when we travel because, you know, you can “do” it with kids. One of our main travel philosophies is to take advantage of our young, healthy, energetic, kidless status…a philosophy we have REALLY strayed from this year, and happily. (but we are planning to make up for it in 2013!)
January 1, 2012 we landed in Rome to power through the city in typical tourist fashion visiting all of the amazing art, architecture, and historical sites we were tested on years ago in art history courses. Here is a preview of our time in the capital. Please do come back soon for specifics on this trip and stories of the many additional trips we have yet to share with you from this year.
…. enjoyed delicious food
….and shot away with our new cameras
Founded in 753 BC with its fountains, aqueducts, bridges, statues, and columns, Rome continues to be saturated with legendary beauty. We were happy to go in the “off-season” because we can’t imagine the dense crowds that befall on the city in the summer. This is the Arch of Constantine as seen from the Colosseum. The Arch of Constantine was the finish line for the 1960 Summer Olympics marathon event.
….meandered through the slim streets of the city.
Rome’s history is incredible! Roman architecture was first starting to be restored before the USA was even a figment of thought.
Like I said, we have a lot of catching up to do including posts on specific experiences we had in Rome. So, do come back soon because we will more consistently be sharing our travels with you!
We may have drawn out the blogging of our week in Paris a little too long. The city is just such an alive and electric place that each day seems like 3 when we look back. It is been hard to cut anything out when retelling the story. We really did save the best of Paris for the end of our trip. The best museum(The Louvre), the best meal(Le Grapillon on NYE) and best experience(running around the city drinking champagne at midnight).
The Louvre has two entrances(that I know of), the main outdoor entrance at the famous(infamous?) glass pyramid and this back entrance at the inverted but equally impressive glass pyramid. I recommend this one because of the dramatically shorter line and protection from the rain.
Some of the art at the Louvre is more impressive than I could have imagined(e.g. “Winged Victory”, “Liberty Leading the People” ) Others like the Mona Lisa above, are a bit disappointing. As if being tiny, far away and behind bullet proof glass wasn’t bad enough, there is a constant crowd of people straining to get the same bad photograph.
In complete contrast, “The Astronomer” one of Vermeer’s 34 known paintings in the world was unprotected and ignored in the corner of a side room.
The aforementioned “pyramid entrance” with ever-present long and winding line.
Outside of Restaurant le Grappillon. Site of one of the best meals of my life. For new years eve we ate there with our friends EF and MF sharing a fabulous and very french meal of foie gras, scallops, escargot, oysters, lobster and more.
Walking through the courtyard of the Louvre at night on our way to celebrate new years was a beautiful and unexpected experience.
The Louvre and its pyramids in all their surreal, city of light glory.
A little early in the night to be our official new years eve kiss but the dramatic setting will live on in our memories.
Walking through Parisian crowds on NYE towards the Eiffel Tower for midnight champagne. The energy of Paris at night was infectious.
This moment has inspired us to try to celebrate New Years Eve on every continent(So far we have N America, Africa and now Europe)
The next morning we woke up and flew on to Rome to continue our whirlwind tour of some Europe’s most famous sites. Blog posts of this, our more recent trip to Jamaica and upcoming road trip/dogsledding in Scandinavia are on their way soon!
Trying to see two of the worlds great cities in 9 days is a Herculean task, but we gave it our best shot last month travelling to Paris and Rome. During the middle few days in Paris we dragged our friends EF and MF on a whirlwind tour. Ignoring dreary rain and chilly temperatures, we biked, walked, ate and drank our way around town at breakneck speed.
We probably were not supposed to be taking our rental bikes on this stone walk along the banks of the Seine, but it made for a memorable if a bit bumpy morning.
A view from the windows of the Musee D’Orsay looking out onto the Louvre. It really is worth getting up early to get to these museums before the crowds, the people of Paris are not early risers which may be related to Parisian restaurants not even opening their doors until 8pm.
Arc de Triomphe. This arch sits at the end of the “times-squarified” Champs-Elysees and got me wondering why Europeans seem to think is a good idea to turn great historical monuments into traffic circles.
We loved the Montmartre neihborhood, it is everything Champs-Elysees is not…mostly, it still feels culturally Parisian.
Montmartre is dominated by the Sacre-Coeur Basilica at the top of the hill.
Sacre-Coeur holds a commanding view over Paris.
French wine (which is definitely better in France) combined with decadent French food and the Paris cafe culture makes for relaxing days filled with little luxuries…not a bad way to live.
The Eiffel Tower: Iconic enough to draw a massive crowd even on a cold and rainy Wednesday in the middle of winter.
I have heard it said that since pictures of every square inch of the planet are available in a few mouse clicks, that we have lost some of the purpose and thrill of travel. However, in my mind there is nothing that can take the place of standing in the fog looking up at this beautiful tower. If you have ever really traveled, to places far away, and seen things of unimaginable magnitude and stunning beauty, then you know it doesn’t matter how large your LCD screen is, there is no substitute for the experience of travel.
After an overnight flight with minimal sleep, on our foggy first morning, it was determined that against our better judgement and the advice of our driver we will be riding these tomorrow on the crazy streets of Paris.
Le Marais, location of our rental flat. Older of the neighborhoods of Paris.
First time in Paris!
Notre Dame looming in the fog.
Two coffee stops later, our food consumption included the longest hot dog and cheese baguette we had ever seen. Our friend is a great sport!
Our lack of sleep left us delirious and made the day seem very dream-like.
Stained glass viewed from the interior of the cathedral.
I’m in love!
Our table experienced steak tar tar, duck confit, roasted duck breast, and pan seared pork with mustard seed seasoning (above plate). Throw in a great bottle of Bordeaux and chocolate cake to call it a successful night.
Le Marais in the evening. “Our Home in Paris” (rental company) has really impressed us with our flat, driver, and concierge. We didn’t plan anything on our travel day, yet found Paris to be very walkable and easy to navigate making it easy to accomplish so much on our first day.