Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ercolano Scavi & Pompeii, Italy

So it's been forever. But I'm back making an effort to document our holiday because it really was so much fun and I don't want to forget all the small experiences that make the trip memorable. So our first day in Naples was really interesting. After saying goodbye to Mauro, we got comfortable on the bus and I had a good sleep. It was nice to just sleep soundly and wake up and take in the scenery again before closing our eyes again. We were leaving from Sora to Naples and it was 11 euros, so cheap and stress free.

After getting off at Naples, our brains were switched on again in trying to find our hotel. We made plans to dump our bags, and continue on towards Pompeii because we wanted to make the most of our time and soldier on. Finding the hotel was easy enough because Tony had the internet. THANK YOU GOD! It was literally over the road and our accommodation was sort of like a backpackers accommodation at Hotel Ideal but it was so cheap we paid like 30 euro each and they've just had a refurbishment so rooms have had a fresh coat of pain and new linen to brighten it up. If you're planning a trip to Sorrento or Amalfi coast but are on a super strict budget then you could stay in Naples and catch the train down. It's easy enough to do if you don't mind the extra travel.

Catching the train was fun. We had our super-hawk-eyes on to ensure that we didn't get rolled by gypsies. Naples has a pretty bad rep for that, and I guess you just have to have your wits about you. We met lots of interesting people on the train and ended up getting off at Scavi to explore the ruins of Herculaneum. We wandered down the road and paid the 10 pound each to explore with an official guide. It was really worth it because our guide was so knowledgeable and while you can appreciate the old ruins on your own, it doesn't mean as much without the stories behind the ruins. The way she spoke about it, you could just see the place come to life in your imagination.

Herculaneum was destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 just like Pompei but I am so glad we stopped here first because you can see the whole village and even the original wood that was charred by the ashes still remains today. I got a sense of what life would have been like here walking through the remains with the guide. It felt weird to be able to walk in and around the houses with original tiling still in tact. The baths, the central rooms,  the views of the garden. It really was a beautiful place.

Ercolano was a holiday village by the seaside. These boat houses and other rooms still have human bones inside visible from the viewing decks.

One of the many Roman Baths. The tile work here is amazing and still in good condition after so many years.

Posing up in  the ruins of an old pub. They'd serve wine and hot food here.

After Herculaneum we had lunch at a cute cafe and by that time we were so hungry so we ordered an entre and a main. Obviously there was a small language barrier but the staff were so helpful. We ordered some arancini balls to share. I asked how many balls are in a serve and they said 5, so we ordered 2 serves to share with 10 arancini balls altogether because they are usually the size of a golf ball. We almost choked when then 10 huge balls came out the size of oranges thinking "Wow this is a bargain" but that was short-lived when our bill arrived with 30 euro charge for the damn arancini balls. LOL. 3 euros per ball. Oh my. I was speaking to the waitress who seemed really apologetic, because it really was a miscommunication on both parts. We decided to take it as a lesson learned and they gave a free coffee each while we all split the arancini cost. We still laugh about those damn balls, and we were full because they came out after our mains so we weren't even hungry by then.

After lunch we were deciding weather or not to soldier on and catch the train towards Pompeii. We were feeling tired and full but we decided that we should go so we could spend the next day making our way to Positano. So on we went towards Pompeii to soak up more history and see first hand, things that we saw in text books during high school. Pompeii was huge in comparison to Ercolano and I'm glad we saw both and it's definitely doable to do both in a day and to do it independently without being on a tour bus.

The most refreshingly delicious drink. Half orange half lemon juice/slushi fresh from a vendor outside of the park.
Back in our hotel having a rest after a long warm day out. 

Just over the road is the train station. Literally a 5 minute walk so it's really accessible.

This whole trip was booked independently using booking.comI spent time reading reviews looking at places close to public transport. I planned it this way because there was no prepaid tour going to the places we wanted to visit. It worked out really well and I have since then planned all my other trips using this site. They are usually really prompt and it's great having the book now, pay later option. I have had one horror booking at Brighton and I've been really disappointed in their response to it thus far. I've emailed at least 3 times and they claim to have not received my email. Hopefully it will get sorted soon.

Big love,

Falala Mele

PS. Keep your eyes peeled because my sister and I have decided to blog from this spot....So there will probably be a few changes.