Today we headed to Herculaneum and Pompeii. But first, breakfast! The hotel offered a buffet, moms first experience. I got the usual – eggs, cheese and yogurt. Mom got yogurt, pastries, some meat. It was a nice way to start the day, especially because of the view!
After breakfast we headed back to the train station to head to Herculaneum. It was about a 45 minute train ride to the stop. From there it was another 10 minute walk downhill to the entrance. Herculaneum is WAY down deep. The ash and lava added like 30-40 feet to the town, so once they started excavating, you are really able to see how much the town was covered. You can stand at the entrance and overlook the whole town (ok, not the WHOLE town, because they have only excavated 1/5 of the town).
We didnt get a guide for this site, just meandered around ourselves. Its so small compared to Pompeii, but so well put together and a lot of it is preserved. However, it really is just beginning to be “found.” Walls hold back the current city, but stop the excavation from continuing. We were able to make it through the town in about 90 minutes.
After we finished in Herculaneum we got back on the train to head to Pompeii…..5 trains later we finally made it. That is right, it should have been one train, 7 or so stops. Instead, the first train wouldnt let us on, as it was “express” and the driver only was letting people off. The second train came but stopped two stations later. The next train was supposedly going towards Pompeii, but no, it turned. So, we had to get off at the first station in the wrong direction, get back on going the direction we came from and switch to the train going towards Pompeii. But ya know, we made it, and thats all that matters.
When you get off the train there is an information booth that offers tours. We were told it was starting “now” but that we had time to use the WC. We did, but the group we were supposed to be with (apparently) left. So we were told the next one would leave in 20 minutes. We went to grab a snack and sit on the porch and wait for our tour. Two others joined us, Ching and Ian. After about 30 minutes Ian got annoyed and went to check on the tour. They said “10 minutes.” After 10 minutes he went back in and complained again, so they finally just let us go the 4 of us – basically a private tour!
We ended up paying about $50/person for the private tour – but thats about half the cost of a real private tour – and our guide, Roberto, was so nice! We only saw a bit of it, but Pompeii is just as magnificent as it was before! It is just so crazy cool – they were so advanced and had so much “technology” for their time. So much we continue to use to this day!
After Pompeii we went to eat at the restaurant at the entrance, Roberto had recommended it. And the food was AWESOME!! I got a 4 cheese pizza and a caprese salad. It was so good – I think they mozzarella was homemade. They gave us a shot of limoncello at the end of dinner and then I got a frozen orange slushy to go.
It was a great day! We got on the train back to the hotel and it was pretty crowded, rush hour and all. After the 45 minute ride, we walked home and watched the sunset over the water. It was a perfect way to end the day!
We head to Florence tomorrow, looking forward to another new town!