A blast from the past

Dot and Ali discuss our visit to Pompeii and Vesuvius…

Were you excited about the visit?

Dot: Yes I was really excited because my friend Savario’s mum was one of the archaeologists who worked at Pompeii and she told us lots of amazing facts, I was a bit worried about Vesuvius though because it’s not dormant.

Ali :I was both nervous and excited about visiting Vesuvius, but wasn’t really looking forward to Pompeii because of all the bad things I had heard about the traffic and crowds of people. Also I thought it was just going to be another typical ancient city which we have seen plenty of, how wrong I was!

What was the campsite like?

Ali: We stayed at Camping Vulcano Sofatara, outside Naples, which is in the crater of a dormant volcano. It was like a James Bond film set. Sulphurous rocks and stinky gases wafted across white volcanic rock and dust. We were in the trees nearby, however so were seven Irish traveller families, who could have been a lot worse but made the stay not quite so restful as it could have been.

What was your favourite thing you saw at Pompeii?

Dot: I liked seeing the casts of the dead bodies, although some of them were sad, especially the mother with her two babies

Ali: I loved the Baker’s House which still had the old oven and grinding stones but I think my favourite was the beautiful house with the lush green planted courtyard and amazing frescos on the walls.

Would you have liked to live in Pompeii in those times?

Dot : No because I would have died!

Ali : No, because the city was very cramped and busy. It probably smelt very bad too!

What was the most interesting fact you learnt while you were there?

Dot: I loved the fact that there were poo stones in the roads! Like big stepping stones. The roads would have been full of poo and waste from animals and humans, running down the roads, so raised stone were put in the roads to form mini causeways. People could then cross without getting their feet dirty!

Ali : I learned that most of the people escaped the eruption of Pompeii. 18000 people left the town when the eruption occurred, but 2000 people stayed. They weren’t killed by lava, rather the huge poisonous ash cloud that fell the next day, suffocating them immediately.

What was it like seeing the dead bodies?

Dot: I thought it was very sad especially the casts of the mother and her two tiny babies.

Ali: I found it very moving seeing people trying to protect themselves or their loved ones. I found the couple hugged together very sad, but probably the people on their own were even more poignant.

What do you think it was like suffocating?

Dot: I think it would have been a bit sore and very scary, especially when they thought all the danger had past.

Ali: I think it was probably very scary and also unexpected, because they thought the worst was over.

When you were there, were you scared about Vesuvius erupting?

Dot: I was very scared because it might erupt soon! There was smoke coming out of the crater and lots of equipment to measure if it was going to blow.

Ali: I would be lying if I said no! I was slightly apprehensive but had faith that the scientists were closely monitoring its activity!!

What was the food like?

Dot: The restaurant was great because I got to watch the chef making my pizza, and it tasted delicious.

Ali: Surprisingly yes! It was the Camping Zeus restaurant and it took ages for our waitress to help us, but the food was nice, and it came with free parking, so all good!

If you were going to return what would you like to see?

Ali: In Pompeii a few of the main parts were closed , I would like to see those. Also I would really like to go and see the Amalfi coast, which was too small for us to travel on with the caravan.

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