Windstar Cruise Day Two: Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast
PHOTO: Pompeii (c) Sery Kim
Yesterday I had the chance to visit Pompeii, my first time actually entering into this famous historic city located in Naples. Prior to this visit, while I have been in Naples as well as the Amalfi Coast (90 minute drive), I never thought it worthwhile to visit Pompeii. After all, my pea-sized brain rationed, "It's tiny and overrun. What's the point of spending 150 euros for the private transfer over?"
WHAT. A. MISTAKE.
I am so glad I had the foresight to finally head over to Pompeii with the Windstar Cruise team as it was, without question, the best thing I have ever seen or done in Italy (including eating).
PHOTO: Views of the sports arena and Amphitheater in the background (c) Sery Kim
Pompeii will exceed your expectations in every single way. It is not small -- over 165 acres in fact -- and it is not run-down in the least. The excavation of this city, which began in the 17th century but not in earnest until the 18th century, reveals a massive sprawling space. Pompeii was also not poor, quite rich in fact, so much so they were able to rebuild the entire city after an earthquake -- the same earthquake which shifted the tectonic plates 18 years before Mount Vesuvius exploded. In fact scientist say it was this earthquake which caused the Mount to explode.
Poor Pompeiians. They were just recovering from the earthquake when this happened!
PHOTO: The famous "pregnant girl," which it actually turns out was not pregnant but instead had a blanket wrapped around her stomach (c) Sery Kim
When you walk into Pompeii, the first thing you do notice is the immense architectural built. The word "archaeology" was also invented just to describe what the Italians were doing in Pompeii in trying to unearth all these glorious buildings from the mounds of earth. Everything you see just strikes you in how advanced the city was for its time. They invented arched doorways, had a fabulous irrigation system, put white marble in the paved walkways so the light could reflect off of it giving light, had a separate pub/bar, and so-on and so-forth.
PHOTO: One of the many streets of Pompeii (c) Sery Kim
Everything is just simply exquisite in Pompeii. Every fact and detail just really moves you. Plus, when you think about the fact that 18,000 people died here encased in volcanic ash, it really is startling.
PHOTO: View of Mount Vesuvius from the Pompeii Colosseum (c) Sery Kim
Our Windstar guide was terrific (and funny) in sharing so many details about Pompeii which I did not remember from my scholastic studies. Of particular note is the fact that Mount Vesuvius was double (!) the size it is today when it exploded. Apparently, the eruption which destroyed Pompeii took off the entire top HALF of the mountain, coming raining down on the unsuspecting city. CRAZY INTENSE!
PHOTO: Courtyard of the largest home in Pompeii (c) Sery Kim
I also did not know how rich the people who lived in Pompeii were. The largest house in Pompeii was 26,000 square feet and had incredible engineering details like an elevated floor in the bath which was heated using the warmth from the furnace in the kitchen. The owner of the home had the two rooms next to each other to make this happen. Genius!
PHOTO: Heated bath in the largest home in Pompeii (c) Sery Kim
PHOTO: Art in the largest home in Pompeii (c) Sery Kim
There are a zillion other details about Pompeii which I could go on endlessly about, but I will save it for my return. After all, I only got 90 minutes there -- we were running so late in getting there and had to leave to get back to the cruise -- and it takes a person an entire week (!) of visiting to see all of Pompeii. I will have to return to this gorgeous historic site. Until then, I am definitely reading a book!!
So glad Windstar started the cruise with this visit. It is absolutely AMAZING, more so than the rest of the Amalfi Coast.
PHOTO: Side-eye in Pompeii's amphitheathre (c) Sery Kim