Growing up, I had an utter obsession with the once alive city of Pompeii. When I was young, I borrowed library books about the tragic day Pompeii seized to exist and asked my parents endless amounts of questions (before we had internet in the house). I even remember sitting at a Chinese restaurant when I was young asking my Grandparents about their trip to Pompeii.
It wasn’t until I was 14 years old that I got to experience such amazing history myself. I can recall my day at Pompeii extremely well, so here is my story.
My family and I were staying in Rome, and took a day trip out to see Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii. Unfortunately this tour did not go to Herculaneum, but it did stop for lunch where we had a traditional Italian meal.
On our arrival at Pompeii we were given headsets to listen to our tour guide and we were cautioned about the weakening paths (because paths can only last so many decades with people walking on them).
I was so excited to get started and to see everything I had read about. At this time, I was learning Italian in school, so I had a very vague sense of what the signs were saying and the directions in which we had to go. My very little Italian helped us immensely in the end as we decided to ditch the tour and do it ourselves, as we couldn’t understand what she was saying anyway.
When I first saw Mt. Vesuvius, I stopped in my tracks. It was a beautiful disaster right in front of me. I thought about the people who lived in Pompeii and how they had no idea what was being held inside the Mountain. Even today, Mt Vesuvius remains active. It is the only active volcano on the main land of Europe.
Everything I saw I was telling who I could about it.
“This was used as a bakery” and “this was where the rich bathed”. I could not believe that I was where I was. It was truly magical.
When we visited the then town square, there were figures of people covered in ashes. NO they aren’t real people, they are casts taken from the way people were found. Some had their arms over their eyes, others had their heads buried between their knees and some were even curled up in balls.
My favourite part was the Amphitheatre. I sat on the seats and again, visioned in my mind people screaming, cheering and shouting for the fierce gladiators below. I was, in a sense, starstruck. Taken and overwhelmed by where I was and the footsteps I was walking among.
Time truly is amazing.