My boys have learned about some very difficult topics and historical events while we lived in Europe… learned that sometimes people do things that are horrible and hurt others. During our few months of preparation we studied Pompeii and how sometimes natural events can cause heartache and pain. I tried my best to prepare them for what they would see, but there is only so much that “talking” can do. Seeing the devastation first hand is always difficult but I believe doing so helps to create empathy for others… that is precisely why I wanted the boys to experience Pompeii.
We had a bit of an experience getting to our destination. We stayed in a very nice, friendly B&B one train-stop away from the excavations. B&B Il giardino di Tonia was run by the nicest family who went over and above to make our stay comfortable. The husband gave us good directions on how to get where we were going but when we got to the platform, we asked this really nice guy if we were heading the right direction. He told us something different from what Aldo, our B&B owner told us, but we thought that maybe we had misunderstood Aldo. We followed the directions the guy on the platform gave us and got off on the next stop. (We were sure that Aldo had told us it was only one stop away.)
When we got off the train we were in the middle of a neighborhood and saw no signs for anything remotely toursity. We went back to the train station and explained the situation to the attendant. She said we could use our tickets to get right back on the train but that we had to hurry as it was arriving RIGHT THEN! We could feel the rushing wind that comes before the train even from upstairs where the ticket booth was! We FLEW down the stairs with Parker in the Ergo and barely made the train. Two stops later we got off to find exactly what we had expected to see to begin with. Plenty of touristy-type things and a crowd of others walking in unison to the excavations.
Here is a picture taken of Mt. Vesuvius as seen from the entrance to Pompeii. Mt. Vesuvius as seen from the Forum of Pompeii. These two pictures were taken in the basilica. Notice the columns that look like they were chopped off. They were not ruined in the eruption, but their progress was halted when Mt. Vesuvius blew. They were in the middle of being repaired following an earthquake that had occurred before Vesuvius’s powerful demonstration. Carson taking a rest on one of the beds in what turned out to be a brothel. Refilling our water bottles. Carson left his that day at the train station on the way back home. Poor thirsty guy! Abbey Road reference. The boys were standing behind a table that was used for serving hot foods in what would have been a walk-up cafeteria-type restaurant. At the gym we saw a steam room. People would keep fires going in the room next door and the heat would flow under the floors. Water would be released into the bowl at the end of the room and as it spilled over onto the hot floors it would create steam. Beavers-teeth stones to keep the horses and carts from entering the pedestrian-only zones. We found the cast made of a body that was covered in ash during the eruption. It was difficult to see, and just as difficult for me to watch the boys process the pain on the person’s face.
Visitors leave Pompeii through a different gate and this picture is taken from the exit gate of the entrance gate. You can’t see the actual gate but you can see the ramp leading up to the gate.
What I think we’re doing today:
The weather here at the beach has been crazy warm, as in, “the bigs are swimming in the ocean” warm. I’ve even gotten in the outdoor pool and I barely do that in the summer! We are enjoying ourselves, and had a great time at the Medieval Times dinner show two nights ago. This event was so fun I’ll eventually write a whole blog post about it but I can’t resist showing you this picture. Carson is our resident “knights” fan so I had to sneak down to his side of the row and snap his picture. We made his week by going to this particular dinner show!