Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Italy - Mount Vesuvius

walking up the mountain

After walking around Pompeii, we ate at the only restaurant there.  The reviews talked down the food, but we didn't think it was bad, but the staff was brusque.  There were several different stands of different types of foods to eat, and it was already awkward to figure out where to order the food and where to pay, etc.  The cashier wanted to limit the amount of change to return.  I'm used to credit cards, and when I use cash, I use bills, and keep the change for parking meters and emergencies. I had a teacher who used all his change for a vacation fund.  The more change the better.  I'm not used having to deal with one dollar (euro) coins, and having to withdraw money from a money belt, and having to keep track of limiting the amount of change I receive.

don't wear black shoes
I thought we had more sights to see, but we were done with Pompeii, so we headed out to see Mount Vesuvius.  There is a bus that takes us to the mountain, then we transfer to another bus to take us up the mountain.  The cliffside view down the mountain from the bus is incredible. I am in awe of Italian bus drivers and their ability to maneuver the huge bus around the narrow steep blind curves.  We are to walk to the top.  There, we will find a souvenir shop, and a guide who will take us to the crater and tell us about what we are seeing.  It was organized very well.

view from the top of the mountain

It is only a 30 minute walk to the top.  The young people sprinted up with no problems.  It wasn't a clear day, but the view was still spectacular. There are beautiful yellow flowers growing on the mountain, and below that, you can see the cities and the water and beyond that the resort towns. Except that there is high altitude, and and dust, and we had to walk up hill on slippery volcano rock.  My feet were itching and hurting.  My lungs weren't getting enough air.  My heart was racing.  I found the best way for me to go was to go a few steps, take a rest, go a few more steps, etc.  People kept passing us.  My only consolation was that there were some other people who were also having difficulty.  I asked someone on their way down how much farther, and they said we were about halfway up.  Yikes! After a while, I told my daughter to just go without me.   I would wait for her.  There was already a beautiful view from where I was, and I didn't think it would get better higher.  So she left.  I didn't have anything to do from where I was, so I decided to keep going up slowly.  I took my time and took lots of breaks, figuring I would meet my daughter and the group on their way down. I didn't want to tell you that I wimped out.  I wanted to say I made it to the top or at least made the effort.

Mount Vesuvius crater

All of a sudden, I was the souvenir stand.  I had managed to make it all the way up.  We had been more than  halfway up.  When I got up there, the tour guide asked me if there was anyone else in the group.  Apparently, he had waited for me to start the tour!  My daughter didn't know he was waiting, so she hadn't told him to start without me.  This is the most dangerous volcano in the world, because it is still active and so many people live around it, and it would be impossible for all of them to evacuate in time.  We went to the crater, and he said people could climb up some more if they wanted but to come back down because we would be picked up where we were dropped off. The way down was much easier, and the bus was very comfortable. The bus took us down the mountain, and another bus took us back to Pompeii.  From there we caught the train back.   On the way back, we were able to sit down on the train. From the train station, most of the entire shopping and restaurant area is on the way to the hotel, so we have our choice.   We ate dinner in Sorrento.

1 comment:

Allie said...

Egads - I never would have made it - you get full marks from me for doing it! WHAT a view. I hope that thing never blows....