Thursday, February 9, 2012

Views of Italy: Pompeii

Shawn Kidd braved the icy mountains of Switzerland in my book, Number 181, and I've competed in the GORUCK challenge led by Green Berets over miles and miles... And hours and hours. But, neither Shawn nor I can imagine what the residents of Pompeii faced in 79 A.D.

Watching the top of Mt Vesuvius mushroom 20 kilometers into the sky wasn't enough to scare off enough of the people of the sprawling city. Those that stayed through the day would perish, thankfully quickly, as the first pyroclastic cloud rolled down the narrow streets.

The city itself is far more impressive and expansive than I expected. Roads strike off into the distance and hundreds of small houses and shops line the recently-excavated cobblestones. With the silent killer towering in the distance over the Temple of Jupiter, it was eerie imagining what the thousands of residents experienced that day. Beautiful houses and gardens line the city walls, and an ornate stadium and theater stretch to the sky. The city was surprisingly developed given the earthquake it faced 17 years prior - an earthquake they were still rebuilding from prior the eruption - and one could spend hours wandering the ghostly ruins.

I imagine it's crowded and stifling in the summer, but the sporadic groups there on Tuesday (thanks to the cool weather) made it a quiet and somber walk... Much like it was in the weeks following the eruption, I'd imagine...

Pics to come when I get back... Best Blogger Tips

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