After a very short day of rest I woke to the news of the "Miracle" of San Gennaro in nearby Napoli. It's where his saved solidified blood from centuries ago becomes liquid. I figured the real miracle would be me being able to lift my legs to get out of bed. I heard angels singing, harps playing, then a lot of cracking and moaning, but a miracle nonetheless. 

The pain was still present from wandering around Capri a few days before, but we drug our stiff, sore bodies around the block and arrived at the Scavi Pompeii entrance at a quarter to ten. We didn't buy tickets ahead of time and were second in line. (€38)

This entrance was right next to the amphitheater, the same one Pink Floyd recorded the film in front of an empty stadium in October of 1971. Funny thing was, it all happened because of a lost passport. Talk about making lemonade. There was a small exhibit near the entrance showing interviews and playing their music setting the tone for the grand entrance into not only the amphitheater but of course to the ancient city itself. 

I had planned a route and studied extensively about the city but nothing prepared us for the magnitude of ankle breaking rocks called streets. Luckily the sky was cloudy and the temperature was cool. 

Little by little we discovered points of interest and happened upon a few I wasn't aware of, even getting kicked out of an active archaeological dig, but not before snapping a picture. 

We saw the Garden of the Fugitives, thirteen plaster casted bodies frozen in time as they made the last ditch effort to reach the sea, as rocks and ash engulfed their bodies. 

In front of every two or three homes was a storefront, some with bowls for wine others were just flat countertops. Inside some of the grand villas were spas filled with rain water from a centered atrium. 

The furthest point on our itinerary was the House of Mystery, called so because of how well the frescoes had been preserved. The thing about Pompeii is that not only are you looking at what people saw back then, you're actually walking their streets. There were rich neighborhoods and there were ghettos. There was the central plaza with temples to Apollo and Jupiter among others. This was before every fresco was commissioned by the church. 

As we started our way back we had but one more place to stop, the Lupanar or brothel. By now the group tours had overrun the place. The zombies stood side by side, wearing earpieces and blocking access to everything. Politeness and patience was reserved only for the elderly and disabled, that's right, more than a few unsuspecting kids got mowed over. As we went down the road for the entrance it was blocked by one of these hoards. 

We walked back and around trying to find another route only to be met with a no entry sign because this was the exit. So, we walked back towards the group and shimmied our way through following another couple. This young, short, thin couple slipped through the group almost unnoticed as did Alisa. As for me, I was more like a bowling ball taking out pins. I left a wake of "Hey" and "It's called a queue buddy." I had to get a little nasty with a tour guide who once again thought he ran the place. To his defense he was getting pressured by his flock and had to say something. I just shouted, "My wife is up there" and the sheep quieted down. 

I caught up with the skinny, short people and whispered "Good job honey." The brothel was smaller than I was expecting but nevertheless had a few rock hard beds and artwork depicting possible positions one might find himself if he ventured in further. In less than a minute we were outside being pushed by the groups coming in from behind. 

By this time we finished our walking map and had nothing left to give. The streets of Pompeii took what little energy we had left, we were done, back to 2023. 

The only other thing we wanted to see was another block from our place. The evenly laid brick streets of this modern city seemed like clouds. We walked to the central plaza only to find out the tower had closed at 13:00, missed it by a half an hour. 

The church next door, Santuario della Beata Vergine Maria del Santo Rosario di Pompeii was open so we went in. I have to say, hands down this is one of the most amazing churches I've seen. There was even an organ inside the dome at the top. The marble was laid out like a Rorschach dream. Gold tiles intertwined detailed paintings lighted by windows in every direction. It was truly marvelous. 

We finally made it home after buying a rum cake which definitely looked better than it tasted. We were both awoken by loud thunder and lighting lasting into sunrise making sleep impossible. I'm sure it would have made a good show, but somehow the metal shutters were broken in the closed position. So we both just laid for hours hoping the shaking building was from the thunder and not for what Pompeii was known for. I thought about the possible positions I'd like to be found in if that was the case and told Alisa. She just said, Jim! No! Go to sleep! 

We've seen a lot of ruins on our travels, but none preserved to the point that once inside you feel like you've traveled back in time walking along ancient streets. I suggest going as early as possible and hire a private guide if you don't have time to research or want specific information on a site. With or without a guide it would take days to see all there is in the ancient city of Pompeii. Whatever you do don't join one of those massive tours, you never know when the next bowling ball may be barraling towards you.  

Do you see what I see?


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