Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, Italy – 2/13/2015

FEBRUARY 13, 2015 (Friday)

Had the wake-up call set for 6:45 AM. Once we were up, showered, and dressed, we headed for the breakfast buffet and had oatmeal. There is so much to choose from at the buffet, it’s kinda overwhelming.

We headed out to meet our driver for the private tour today. I had gone through Cruise Critic a month or so before the cruise and asked to be included in this eight person tour as it sounded like you got the most bang for your buck.  It covered a lot of ground in one day. We were the first to arrive and meet the driver, Roberto, a nice Italian man who spent time in England. He had a pleasant accent. The others arrived shortly and we were so pleased to see our British friends from the Kusadashi tour were also in the group – Maria, Marian, Jean, and Paul. The other couple was Larry and Gail from New Jersey.

First view when you leave the ship.

First view when you leave the ship.

Pretty woman following me down stairs looking for our guide and ride.

Pretty woman following me down stairs looking for our guide and ride.

Handsome port building.

Handsome port building.

Stylish street lamps.

Stylish street lamps.

 

We climbed into the Mercedes Benz van and headed off to Herculaneum. The drive was very fascinating as the drivers in Italy are crazy and fun. Roberto said the person who is the most aggressive is the one who is allowed to go first. We didn’t have a guide for Herculaneum, but when we got our tickets (saved two Euro by buying the Herculaneum and Pompeii ticket together – total twenty Euro each), a tour guide approached us and said he would guide us through for five Euro each. We all said yes as we wanted to get the most out of the experience. The tour guide’s name was Luciano, and he was all Italian and very hard to understand at times. He had books that showed what it would have looked like back in the day. Herculaneum was a resort on the sea. It is very small (compared to Pompeii) but the people were so far ahead of their time in their building and water systems. Quite fascinating. We saw the bones of the people who were buried in the mud, the houses that have been excavated so far, and many interesting things. At the end, Luciano wanted more money and said he told us fifty Euro total, not forty. We all felt it was a rip off but ended up paying the extra money.

Roberto had a head piece that allowed him to talk to us through the van's radio.

Roberto had a head piece that allowed him to talk to us through the van’s radio.

Pretty woman at the entrance to  Herculaneum.

Pretty woman at the entrance to Herculaneum.

Entrance building to the ruins at Herculaneum.

Entrance building to the ruins at Herculaneum.

Current homes and future ruins on top and ancient ruins on bottom.

Current homes and future ruins on top and ancient ruins on bottom.

I liked this dog.  Miss petting and interacting with a dog.  He was grateful for rubs, scratches and pats.

I liked this dog. Miss petting and interacting with a dog. He was grateful for rubs, scratches and pats.

The black was the most expensive of all.

The black was the most expensive of all.

High end trim.

High end trim.

Remnants of wall art everywhere.

Remnants of wall art everywhere.

Luciano was a little rough to understand sometimes.

Luciano was a little rough to understand sometimes.

The grove means a wooden door fit in here at night to close the merchants store, not unlike the pull down doors in most big cities today.  How little we have changed.

The groove means a wooden door fit in here at night to close the merchant’s store, not unlike the pull down doors in most big cities today. How little we have changed.

The specks of white tile are meant to reflect candle light at night.

The specks of white tile are meant to reflect candle light at night.

So many walls had art...

So many walls had art…

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Future ruins above, present ruins below.

Future ruins above, present ruins below.

Curved ceilings in bath areas so steam won't drip on your head but run down the curved ceiling instead.

Curved ceilings in bath areas so steam won’t drip on your head but run down the curved ceiling instead.

Great floor.

Great floor.

Octopus.

Octopus.

Triton.

Triton.

Interesting designs.

Interesting designs.

Crawl space under the floor, original construction.  Smokers just think the whole world is their ashtray.

Crawl space under the floor, original construction. Smokers just think the whole world is their ashtray.

Tub.

Tub.

Pleasant view.

Pleasant view.

Containers of the day.

Containers of the day.

What is left of the leg of a bed.

What is left of the leg of a bed.

Notch in the stone to tie your horse.

Notch in the stone to tie your horse.

Beautiful little marble table.

Beautiful little marble table.

Horse tie in the curb stone.

Horse tie in the curb stone.

Small but intricate.

Small but intricate.

Nice looking.

Nice looking.

Lots of pretty work.

Lots of pretty work.

Interesting placement of masks.

Interesting placement of masks.

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Deposits left by restorers so we could see the ash.

Deposits left by restorers so we could see the ash and mud.

Carbonized wood.

Carbonized wood.

Super-hot gases and ash rained down.

Super-hot gases and ash rained down.

Ancient headers over doors and windows, baked in place.

Ancient headers over doors and windows, baked in place.

Billboard.

Billboard.

Doesn't show well but evidence of graffiti.  Damn kids!

Doesn’t show well but evidence of graffiti. Damn kids!

Lots of Marble clad surfaces.

Lots of marble clad surfaces.

Naked human form was often painted.

Naked human form was often painted.

Winged something.

Winged something.

Stairs.

Stairs.

They did nice finish work.  The rough stone and brick work looks good, but the finishes were not unlike today in looks.

They did nice finish work. The rough stone and brick work looks good, but the finishes were not unlike today in looks.

Nice stone work everywhere we go.

Nice stone work everywhere we go.

Nice interior floor.

Nice interior floor.

Former hot tub/bath.

Former hot tub/bath.

Marie took these so Luciano could get in the photo.

Marie took these so Luciano could get in the photo.

I think a large bath area.  The pool in back of us was the bath area.  Larry, Gail, Grumpy, Marion, Edie, Paul, Jean and Marie.

I think a large bath area. The pool in back of us was the bath area. Larry, Gail, Grumpy, Marion, Edie, Paul, Jean and Marie.

Lots of painted decorations.

Lots of painted decorations.

Our lawyer and guide, Luciano.

Our lawyer and guide, Luciano.

Saw lots of seared and blackened wood at Herculaneum.

Saw lots of seared and blackened wood at Herculaneum.

Gail, Marion, Luciano, and Jean.

Gail, Marion, Luciano, and Jean.

Cold drinks were sold out of here.  No soda back then.  Water, beer or wine.

Cold drinks were sold out of here. No soda back then. Water, beer or wine.

Part of a laundry.

Part of a laundry.

Table and fountain.

Table and fountain.

So poignant, they grabbed their rings made of copper and most precious jewelry and made for the caves by the ocean.  Here they died and their bones preserved for a long time.

So poignant, they grabbed their rings made of copper and most precious jewelry and made for the caves by the ocean. Here they died and their bones preserved for a long time.

Marble clad walls.

Marble clad walls.

Really beautiful floor and room.

Really beautiful floor and room.

Must have been a lovely coastal town.

Must have been a lovely coastal town.

Pretty woman following me out.

Pretty woman following me out.

Water running down there.

Water running down there.

This was very near the waterfront in 79 A.D.

This was very near the waterfront in 79 A.D.

Courtyard.

Courtyard.

We couldn't get to this part of Herculaneum, looked nice.

We couldn’t get to this part of Herculaneum, looked nice.

 

Roberto picked us up outside the gates of Herculaneum and we headed for Mount Vesuvius. He said he wasn’t sure if we could get up because of the snow. Apparently the same snow we had in Istanbul had been here. The drive up was very lovely but the roads were very curvy and narrow. Roberto said the height was about nine thousand feet. He was surprised the road was open because the snow and ice was quite thick. He said the walk to the top would take about an hour and a half. When we got to the to the entrance/fee area and saw how icy and cold it was, we all decided not to climb it (plus it saved us ten Euro each).

We headed for the road to the top.

We headed for the road to the top.

Sleeping giant...if you look long enough.

Sleeping giant…if you look long enough.

Our black van.

Our black van.

Pretty woman atop Mount Vesuvius.

Pretty woman near the top of Mount Vesuvius.

Great views from up here.

Great views from up here.

Pompeii, oh, sorry, Naples...the future Pompeii.

Pompeii, oh, sorry, Naples…the future Pompeii.

Love this recycling sign.

Love this recycling sign.

Such interesting art work on the side of the narrow winding road.

Such interesting art work on the side of the narrow winding road.

Interesting large stone art on the way up to the top of Mt Vesuvius.

Interesting large stone art on the way down from the top of Mt Vesuvius.

a top?

A top?

Partial face.

Partial face.

Twisted Atlas thing.

Twisted Atlas thing.

Shades of Easter Island.

Shades of Easter Island.

So beautiful and so trashy.

So beautiful and so trashy.

Changing fortunes.

Changing fortunes.

Yet, nice looking places nearby.

Yet, nice looking places nearby.

Orange trees, mature with fruit, growing randomly.

Orange trees, mature with fruit, growing randomly.

 

Next stop was Pompeii, but before we went in we had lunch at a nice little restaurant across the street from the entrance. Michael and I split a Margarita pizza and a broccoli calzone. They call it broccoli but we call it spinach. Excellent, especially the dough which was thin and fresh.

City of....

City of….

The floor of our restaurant.

The floor of our restaurant.

Marie, waiter, Gail, Paul, Jean, waiter. Just outside the ruins at Pompeii.

Marie, waiter, Gail, Paul, Jean, waiter. Just outside the ruins at Pompeii.

Edie and I split a Margherita Pizza and a Calzone.  They were both excellent.  Supposedly, ours was the very first, served in Naples.

Edie and I split a Margarita pizza and a calzone. They were both excellent. Supposedly, the Margarita pizza was the very first pizza created in Naples.

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Sauce for the calzone.

Sauce for the calzone.

After lunch we met our guide, Sasha. Sasha was a very handsome Italian man who has spent time in New York City. He spoke excellent English and was fun through the entire tour.

Sasha.

Sasha.

Sasha, our tour guide.  He flirted with pretty woman almost the whole way!

Sasha, our tour guide. He and pretty woman laughed and teased a lot.

The tour took us deep into Pompeii where we saw the bodies of people and the body of the dog. The dog looked to be in agony, as well as the people who were trying to cover their faces from the poisonous gases. We saw brothels, kitchens, bath houses, wine bars, and just about everything during the tour. It was so informative and wonderful (and sad). Sasha said 25,500 people lived in Pompeii but they’ve only found about 5,000 bodies – so they think the others were able to flee. He said Mount Vesuvius was rocking and rolling for three days and three nights before it exploded and the ash covered the city. The ones that stayed were killed by the poisonous gasses, and the rain of super heated ash and stone. The city itself is huge, over four square miles. So glad we got to experience it and learn all about it.

Mosaic tile.

Mosaic tile.

Buried 1,936 years ago under a pyroclastic flow, nice mosaic tile floor.

Buried 1,936 years ago under a pyroclastic flow, nice mosaic tile floor.

The tiny tiles are eroding from tourist wear.

The tiny tiles are eroding from tourist wear.

Pompeii, a port town, was full of sailors that spoke many different languages and brothels very savvy.  Sex acts were painted on the entrance wall, numbered and a price displayed.  The brothel visitor would point to the picture of their desire, pay the price and everyone was on the same page.  The pictures include men and women for hire.

Pompeii, a port town, was full of sailors that spoke many different languages and brothels very savvy. Sex acts were painted on the entrance wall, numbered and a price displayed. The brothel visitor would point to the picture of their desire, pay the price and everyone was on the same page. The pictures include men and women for hire.

Pompeii was not a wealth center, but there were clearly nice touches.

Pompeii was not a wealth center, but there were clearly nice touches.

Lots of baths.

Lots of baths.

Frescoes on most walls.

Frescoes on most walls.

I, personally, love the carpentry revealed and the cleaver way they handle headers over open spans, like doorways.

I, personally, love the carpentry revealed and the cleaver way they handle headers over open spans, like doorways.

Arches hold weight really well too.

Arches hold weight really well too.

Nice work and not hard to imagine it looking nice 2,000 years ago.

Nice work and not hard to imagine it looking nice 2,000 years ago.

Pleasant views.

Pleasant views.

A remnant of the finish that used to adorn.

A remnant of the finish that used to adorn.

Stucco walls, painted and mosaic tile flooring.

Stucco walls, painted and mosaic tile flooring.

Nice complex pattern, created with just black and white little tiles.

Nice complex pattern, created with just black and white little tiles.

Almost a cameo of a Centaur.

Almost a cameo of a Centaur.

Our guide insisted they used paintings like we use TV, for entertainment around stories.

Our guide insisted they used paintings like we use TV, for entertainment around stories.

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A lead pipe.  Water was brought by aqueduct and pooled above Pompeii.  It was distributed throughout the town via a lead pipe system.

A lead pipe. Water was brought by aqueduct and pooled above Pompeii. It was distributed throughout the town via a lead pipe system.

There is an upper Pompeii and a lower Pompeii.

There is an upper Pompeii and a lower Pompeii.

Our guide, Sasha, is the son of a guide.  His father showed him this petrified leaf on a wall, which he kindly pointed out to us.

Our guide, Sasha, is the son of a guide. His father showed him this petrified leaf on a wall, which he kindly pointed out to us.

Original Pompeii sidewalk.  Stone and cement.  I made one like this 25 years ago, it is crumbling.  I can only conclude they had better concrete than I did.

Original Pompeii sidewalk. Stone and cement. I made one like this 25 years ago, it is crumbling. I can only conclude they had better concrete than I did.

Nice feel to the place, except for Mt Vesuvius is still there and will bury the place again one day.

Nice feel to the place, except for Mt Vesuvius is still there and will bury the place again one day.

Most of the great statues are at the National Museum in Naples.  A few are still here.

Most of the great statues are at the National Museum in Naples. A few are still here.

Surviving statue.

Surviving statue.

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There was a large earthquake 15 years before the eruption.  Not all the repairs were finished when the city was buried.

There was a large earthquake 15 years before the eruption. Not all the repairs were finished when the city was buried.

Bird bath?

Bird bath?

The main square of Pompeii.

The main square of Pompeii.

Area beyond the fence is under excavation.

Area beyond the fence is under excavation.

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The brick part is the repaired portion from the earthquake 15 years earlier.

The brick part is the repaired portion from the earthquake 15 years earlier.

Grumpy and pretty woman with Mount Vesuvius in the distance.

Grumpy and pretty woman with Mount Vesuvius in the distance.

Sasha is the photographer, Paul, his mom Marie, Marion and her daughter Jean.

Sasha is the photographer, Paul, his mom Marie, Marion and her daughter Jean.

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Larry was staring at this, I asked if he was reading it and then "Post Mortem" popped out at me from the bottom.  Then Larry pointed out Pontif..

Larry was staring at this, I asked if he was reading it and then “Post Mortem” popped out at me from the bottom. Then Larry pointed out Pontif..

Looks like a basket from Corinth...Corinthian Capital.

Looks like a basket from Corinth…Corinthian Capital.

Beautiful marble table,  Containers made to lean against a wall or sit in a holder.

Beautiful marble table, Containers made to lean against a wall or sit in a holder.

Plaster cast of body cavity among the vases.

Plaster cast of body cavity among the vases.

Plaster was poured into the empty cavity left by the mostly decomposed bodies.

Plaster was poured into the empty cavity left by the mostly decomposed bodies.

Thought to be praying by some, others believe grabbing his nose because of the stinging effects of the superheated air that flowed off the mountain at the time of the eruption.

Thought to be praying by some, others believe grabbing his nose because of the stinging effects of the superheated air that flowed off the mountain at the time of the eruption.

It was a handsome city.

It was a handsome city.

She was with child.

She was with child.

Table, basin.

Table, basin.

Statues.

Statues.

Chest of a wealthy man.

Chest of a wealthy man.

A woman's restroom.

A woman’s restroom.

Stone in middle of street was a stepping stone, to cross without getting wet in rain.

Stone in middle of street was a stepping stone, to cross without getting wet in rain.

Gates on right housed a modern cafeteria.

Gates on right housed a modern cafeteria.

Side street.

Side street.

Lots of commercial activity.  Possibly a wine bar.

Lots of commercial activity. Possibly a wine bar.

Some kind of work being done at the end.

Some kind of work being done at the end.

Grain goes in the top.  A beam in the side gives you the leverage to turn the grinding stone.  Pulverized flour comes out at the bottom.  I thought a neat construct, looks custom made.  Must have been a successful bakery.

Grain goes in the top. A beam in the side gives you the leverage to turn the grinding stone. Pulverized flour comes out at the bottom. I thought a neat construct, looks custom made. Must have been a successful bakery.

We could fire this up and cook a pizza or loaf of bread today.

We could fire this up and cook a pizza or loaf of bread today.

Exposed lead water pipe.

Exposed lead water pipe.

A particularly well preserved section.

A particularly well preserved section.

Ancient designs, swastika type design in the pattern.

Ancient designs, swastika type design in the pattern.

Delicate and frail.

Delicate and frail.

Pretty woman was yelled at by a guard for leaning against the wall.

Pretty woman was yelled at by a guard for leaning against the wall.

Stories on the wall.

Stories on the wall.

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Inside of one of the pillars.

Inside of one of the pillars.

Pretty woman.

Pretty woman.

I love this, mosaic that signals, "Beware of Dog."

I love this, mosaic that signals, “Beware of Dog.”

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Commercial work space.

Commercial work space.

Impressive stone work.

Impressive stone work.

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A portion of the skull is actual bone, the very white part at the back of the head.

A portion of the skull is actual bone, the very white part at the back of the head.

Skull and finger bones remain intact on this cast.

Skull and finger bones remain intact on this cast.

Artist made a good living in Pompeii, until they didn't.

Artist made a good living in Pompeii, until they didn’t.

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Not sure what the story is on this bas-relief.

Not sure what the story is on this bas-relief.

Doorway off the main courtyard to a wealthy families compound.

Doorway off the main courtyard to a wealthy family compound.

We know they were wealthy because of the detail on the trim to the portico.

We know they were wealthy because of the detail on the trim to the portico.

Delicate birds and plants.

Delicate birds and plants.

One of Edie's favorite decorations in Herculaneum.

One of Edie’s favorite decorations in Pompeii.

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Paul, Marie, Marion and Jean having fun.  Gail to the far left.

Paul, Marie, Marion and Jean having fun. Gail to the far left.

Don't you hate when you get chariot ruts.

Don’t you hate when you get chariot ruts.

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This place is huge.

This place is huge.

Phallic symbol pointing the direction to a brothel.

Phallic symbol pointing the direction to a brothel.

Looks a lot like the floor of the place we just had lunch!

Looks a lot like the floor of the place we just had lunch!

Mount Vesuvius looming.

Mount Vesuvius looming.

A very pleasant city to tour.

A very pleasant city to tour.

I was surprised at how much brick was used.  Interesting brick column repair.

I was surprised at how much brick was used. Interesting brick column repair.

 

After we left Pompeii, we decided we wanted to see a little bit of Naples. Roberto drove us around a little bit but the traffic was horrible (scary too). The roads were bumpy. He showed us a little bit before we headed back to the ship. We’ve decided when we come back to Naples in just over a week, we want to go to the museum in Naples and see the artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum. We also want to see the street where they make nativity scenes.

The Church by the Train Station.

The Church by the train station.

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New Castle, built in 1269, new then.

New Castle, built in 1269, new then.

A little tour, but the ship was leaving soon and traffic was getting thick.

A little tour, but the ship was leaving soon and traffic was getting thick.

Roberto and Grumpy, photo-bombed by Marie, what a character.  Paul walks away from his mother, embarrassed.

Roberto and Grumpy, photo-bombed by Marie, what a character. Paul walks away from his mother, embarrassed.

Larry had organized this tour and reluctantly became the money man, collecting from us and paying the others.  He paid Sasha and we had to do some math on the spot.  I was afraid Larry was shorting himself, but I think it all came out even.

Larry had organized this tour and reluctantly became the money man, collecting from us and paying the others. He paid Sasha and we had to do some math on the spot. I was afraid Larry was shorting himself, but I think it all came out even.

Jesus on the left in the white shirt, fun, nice guy.  Archie on the far right, I liked him.  Fun music welcomed us back.

Jesus on the left in the white shirt, fun, nice guy. Archie on the far right, I liked him. Fun music welcomed us back.

Our favorite, Jesus.

Our favorite, Jesus.

We got back to the ship and right before we got on, there were a bunch of the crew dancing and singing a welcome for us. We got to see Jesus (from the morning buffet and Alizar restaurant staff), and Wesley (from the activities staff). Quite fun. Once on board we relaxed for a little bit and then went upstairs to the Alizar for dinner. Michael wanted to live dangerously and have prime rib, with a baked potato and vegetables. I had the potato gnocchi. For dessert we both had the chocolate chip cookie sandwich. Very tasty.

French onion soup.

French onion soup.

Green salad with ranch.

Green salad with ranch.

Edie's gnocchi.

Edie’s gnocchi.

My prime rib.  First beef in a long time.  It was good.

My prime rib. First beef in a long time. It was good.

Dessert for both of us.

Dessert for both of us.

Edie's.

Edie’s.

Michael and I debated on whether or not we wanted to go to the show. When we got back to our room and took our shoes off, that was it, we were done for the night. We were both in bed by 8:00 PM. That was our day. Hope yours was great!

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