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DAY 41: A Day in Pompeii

This time I was up early. Snoozed the alarm far too many times but I was up eventually. Out the door and on my feet by 8:30a. Took the train back into Roma Termini and purchased a ticket to Naples. Only an hour and fifteen minute train ride this time. Easy. Sat myself in business class for a short time; Booted to standard where I should’ve been to begin with. The perks of being a lost tourist.

Between taking the train from Roma Termini into Naples and then another train from Naples to Pompeii, then tracking the ruins down themselves, I’d traveled for 4 hours before finally reaching the ruins of Pompeii. Sometimes there was such a thick layer of graffiti sprayed on station signs on the way to Pompeii, I couldn’t make out what station we were stopped at sometimes. Modern Pompeii was quaint and mellow. Easy to get around. Followed the signs to the “Archelogoical Ruins”.

There was an exhibit upon entering. A stone-walled arena surrounding a wooden pyramid structure, which sat right in the center. Followed the ramp inside where I was greeted by black and white 35mm photography chronicling Pompeii since the early 1900s. In the middle of this exhibit were about 15 preserved bodies wrapped in plaster on black stilts in varying positions. Captured their final moments. Random bits of bone revealed themselves in random parts of the body. The most striking of these figures was a mother holding her toddler, who appeared to be reaching for something. The mother and child's bodies were infused with one another.

Exited the arena to a path lined with trees on either side. Followed this path until I entered the city. Former homes with no rooftops. Pillars standing erect with no ceiling to uphold. Vast empty rooms and wash areas and cellars. There were very few examples of Pompeii’s art that still lingered on the wall. Walking through this abandoned city wasn’t the introspective, exhaustive experience the concentration camp back in Germany was; There were far too many tourists for that kind of experience. The scorching heat was what made the trip exhausting ultimately.

Narrow walkways didn’t help dealing with the crowd, which were made even narrower occasionally by gated areas and scaffolding upholding structures from collapsing. I would overhear tour guides every so often. One tidbit that stuck out was the unique means the people of Pompeii made their wine; The Pompeiians would mix their wine with honey and spices or dilute it with saltwater. Mint, rose pedals and pepper were occasionally mixed as well.

Pompeii was worth the trip. Not just for following through with a plan but a constant reminder how quickly your circumstances can change. Life can end in an instant for any of us. It will happen one day; The luxuries I have, the life I’ve been given, the family I love, it will all end in an instant and someday I’ll be powerless to stop it, whether I liked it or not.

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