One of the stops I was MOST excited about visiting on the trip was Pompeii. I’ll just come right out and say it, I expected a little bit more. Now, I don’t know if it was the tour guide not speaking very good English or what exactly the deal was. You can go to Pompeii by yourself and get a little prerecorded audio guide and key in numbers and I suspect we would have liked that a lot more. I felt like 80% of our time in Pompeii we were wandering down streets looking at shells of old buildings without any real direction. I wanted to see the plaster casts of the residents, I wanted to feel emotion, really try to envision their last day. Mostly I was just bored. I do however have a few interesting tidbits to share with you 🙂
This first photo is of the sidewalks. At intersections they had these large stepping stones so you could avoid the muck of the road when walking through town… the ruts were for chariot wheels!? I kid you not. (at least that’s what the tour guide tells me) We did actually see deep ruts in some of the cobblestones that she told us were from the chariot wheels.
One of the more interesting buildings they’ve excavated is the brothel. Complete with 2000 year old porn above the doorways to each room. Each room containing a stone bed I might add… ouch! The tourguide also told us that they used to wash all the brothel linens and wools in urine, so they’ve found graffiti saying the customer had a great time but “the smell was horrendous”
We also learned that ancient Italians were not much different than teenage boys today, and they drew penises on everything. Here you see a penis carved into the sidewalk of the street (an actual mound of stone)… you know what that is? Advertising. All the carved penises in the city point directly to the brothel, so you can always find it. Clever, no?
I did finally get to see my dead people… but I was a little unclear in the situation and wasn’t nearly as moved as I thought I’d be. Right near this big open plaza they have this warehouse to the side with all this pottery and 4 of the plaster casts of people (and one dog). I guess our tour guide was really just ineffective because I wasn’t clear on whether this was where they were found, or if they just put them in this warehouse so they could fence them off or what the deal was. She claims that they were found in positions like this with their faces covered because before they were buried the sulfur gas smell was so strong and they didn’t know what it was so they were covering their faces to try and not breathe it in. Really our trip to Pompeii made me want to hunt out a good documentary to fill in all the missing gaps in information. I guess I had expected such great things from Pompeii that I was a little disappointed. We did however afterwards have what is quite possibly the most amazing fresh squeezed lemonade I’ve had in my entire lift an amazing piece of Italian pizza to tide us over till dinner 🙂