Vesuvio and Pompeii

Every school child learns about Pompeii (here is the official site) and the serendipitous disaster of 79 AD by reading the primary source accounts of Pliny the Younger, who, as an eighteen year old, witnessed the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (Vesuvio) and resulting havoc.

This archaeological site was on our itinerary as Lucy, our budding archaeologist, wanted to visit. I am glad we did. As always, visiting broadens understanding and so often makes one realise how important it is for students to leave the classroom, as regularly as possible, to motivate, provide quality learning experiences and new insights.

For example, I had not realised just how far the volcano is from Pompeii or just how enormous the site is to wander until visiting. I’d also not realised how leafy and pleasant ‘the ruins’ were in places either. Another minor matter, I did not see any security or tourist shops inside Pompeii. There is a minimum of plaques or distracting info boards. We liked this after, for example, seeing shops selling curios and trinkets INSIDE Notre Dame.

We ascended Mount Vesuvio in the morning and were afforded a magnificent, if a little hazy, view of the bay and Naples before seeing the crater. Tourists have been visiting here for a long time and the views are truly magnificent.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore 

It is a very dusty walk to the crater and I recommend avoiding sandals. The clouds were great, nicely layered and a little threatening. The temperature dropped markedly and wind howled.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore 


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore 

It was hot but the girls enjoyed wandering through Pompeii after a bus ride from the volcano. We ended up following a tour, led by an amusing fellow, for quite a while. This was very handy as the streets are quite difficult to navigate and many travellers were clearly struggling to find various points of interest.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore 

We noticed that live performances are still held at Pompeii and thought it would be a pleasant experience one summer’s evening.  Anyone ever had that pleasure?

We also thought it cool that real vineyards are thriving amongst ‘the ruins’.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

What are your memories of Vesuvio and Pompeii?

AD122

Yesterday we travelled along Hadrian’s Wall in the brilliantly named AD122 bus (the year the Roman emperor decreed a wall would be built to mark the frontier). The landscape was phenomenally beautiful and I wanted the bus to stop several times to take photos, especially of the poppies and stunning, golden fields. The wall is visible in many places and one guy we chatted with had walked it, in about 7 days, staying at B&Bs along the way. Windermere to Newcastle is a longish stroll but I’d love to do this in the future.

We checked out the Roman Army Museum and I was surprised that both my daughters enjoyed the award-winning 3D film for the entire 20 minutes. The investment in the museum is evident and it is very engaging. We did go to the Great North Museum the day before and the girls loved it, although very different, equally.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

The next stop was to visit the oldest surviving written records found in Britain, at Vindolanda. You can read the tablets online here. Catherine, our guide was kind to the girls and knowledgeable. It is an impressive site and Lucy, very keen on being an archaeologist at the moment, is dreaming of Pompeii after this experience.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

It was a longish day but we have a much better idea of the landscape ‘up North’ now and this experience will link nicely for Lucy and Sarah with their visit to Rome.