A not so early start but we avoid a huge downpour in the process. Pompeii is really interesting both from an antiquity point of view and also how it is managed. We arrive at the station and confronted by ‘sweepers’ who are trying to identify those without tickets so that they can be directed to their favoured sales booth. They all have the same strategy, they want to upsell a ticket to include a 20 euro guide. The one we choose has tickets but informs us that they have none of the audio commentaries left (bear in mind we’re only mid-morning and there’s the rest of the day to go yet).
The entrance is poorly signposted but we persevere and accidentally get in. I won’t describe the layout but I will say it must have been terrifying when the ash and superheated gas hit the town.
We walk along streets and duck into alleys to avoid the torrential downpours. They’re generally sharp and short but there is the odd extended storm and the old street gutters work overtime to shift the torrents, those Romans were an inventive breed.
We’re two thirds around when the Pilgrim mentions ‘the brothel’ and a quick check on Google gives us the directions that’ll lead is to this Roman den of iniquity. There’s a large crowd of ‘old people’ on the cobbled street and I await their reactions when they see the “menus” depicted in relief on the rendered walls – then I realise that I’m technically ‘an old person’ and scold myself for the thought – I still watch the expressions on the faces of some of the ladies as the penny drops about what they’re looking at and I’m amused at the thought that the youngsters chattering and giggling further ahead thinking they’re the pioneers. I’d love to remind them that if their twinkly-eyed grannies hadn’t got laid then they wouldn’t be here.
As we leave we’re directed to the Museum where plaster casts depict some of the victims together with their position and where found. They’re a stark reminder of what happened together with the human and animal reality of the tragedy. We come out into brief sunshine and manage to make our way to a bar charging eye-watering prices for beer together with a ‘cover charge’ for the table. That said, the heavens have opened again and driving rain is falling like stair-rods soaking the poor folks on the street to the skin and freezing them at the same time. The temperature drops like a brick in these mini-storms and whilst we inside are not cosy, we’re certainly not cold.
We return for showers and a change of clothing ready for an evening out and this time we walk the right way! The wind is still blowing off the Mediterranean and whilst it’s stopped raining we still have to lean into it as we approach the beach area.
The Mama Mia bar/restaurant may not have the most authentic name but the waiting staff are friendly and welcome and, as it turns out, the food is good too.
It’s very nearly an early night but the opportunity of a night-cap presents itself at a small bar opposite our apartment so we take it. As an aside, I think I’ll be a little less profligate with Leffe in future…
Enjoy the snaps. G x