We had a lovely sunrise breakfast on the balcony of our host’s apartment before setting off to Herculaneum. We had a few awkward experiences at the Naples train station while waiting for the Circumvesuvia train to Herculaneum. A man came up and pulled a watch out of his pocket and offered it to us. When we declined, he smashed the watch right next to me so glass went everywhere and then threw it on the train tracks. I was quite scared as he seemed to be an angry man. Also at that station when I was putting away my change after paying for the tickets I looked up and almost jumped out of my skin when I saw an old woman right next to me who seemed to have just appeared from nowhere with her hand out begging for money. I could have sworn there was nobody else near me a few seconds earlier. However, we still thoroughly enjoyed our time in Naples and were glad we went.
Herculaneum was great. I’ve wanted to visit Pompeii all my life, but I had a hard time choosing a favourite between Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Herculanuem was more compact but we found it really interesting and spent half the day there. There weren’t many tourists here compared to Pompeii, so that was a bonus. It really made the visit a lot more peaceful and allowed you to get a feel for the place without being interrupted by other excited tourists.
The town very well preserved and gave us a good idea of how people lived back then. The houses there must have been quite beautiful.
We also saw some of the vaulted rooms by the beach where the bones of around 300 skeletons have been found of those who had been waiting on the beach for rescue and took cover from the ash and pumice inside the boathouses only to be buried in seconds by the pyroclastic flow.
There wasn’t a whole lot of information at the site, but the free booket and map at the entrance were helpful in providing small descriptions of things. Also helpful was the times when we happened to be walking past English speaking tour groups and ‘stopped for a rest’ while listening to their interesting information. In hindsight, hiring a guide wouldn’t have been a bad idea, but we wanted to see the whole site at our own pace, and we also didn’t see any guides offering their services when we got there.
We had an interesting experience leaving the ruins also. When we came out there were military and police everywhere. We asked someone what was going on, and apparently the Prime Minister was visiting to speak about the upcoming referendum. We had a lady start protesting right in front of us and an Italian yelling match soon ensued. We had no idea what they were saying, but judging by their red angry faces, they weren’t happy. I had to admire the policeman who just stood there while being yelled at for quite a while by a lady who was right up in his face. The police and Carabinieri were there with riot gear, so we decided that was a good time to leave.
We were cold and hungry by the time we got back to Naples, but we couldn’t figure out how to purchase a metro ticket back to our apartment, so we walked the distance home in the dark and watched small children lighting firecrackers for fun in the streets of Naples.