Day Four – The Finale
The Roman city of Pompeii has been on my bucket list for a while along with places like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in Rome. You learn about what happened at Pompeii at school and you grow up watching TV shows and films on its history so to be here, stood amongst its streets is quite surreal.
Our journey begins with a taxi ride. From the Hotel Rex to the Napoli Centrale Station it cost us a fixed €18. We read online when researching on how to get to Pompeii about two train stations the Central and the Garibaldi to board the Circumvesuviana train. This was where it was getting confusing. One blog would tell you to board at Central and another blog at the Garibaldi. Basically the Garibaldi line is downstairs in the Central station. As soon as you get dropped off and go inside head straight down the steps. You cant miss the big blue signs pointing down to Piazza Garibaldi and the Circumvesuviana. Follow the signs to the end, passed all the shops. At the end are turnstiles and a handful of ticket desks.
It took us around 20 minutes to buy our tickets for the train after joining a queue. Be warned though, locals will push in in-front of you. They don’t care you’re here to see the sights, they just want to get on with their day, its the Naples way. Once you have your tickets head through the gates and down some more steps. You’ll eventually arrive on platform 3, a very busy platform. The Naples – Sorrento Circumvesuviana service also takes you to Herculaneum (Ercolano). The other town completely destroyed during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD so if you have time you can stop here too. Smaller than Pompeii but equally as beautiful and just as important to the whole story. Trains run frequently, every 30 minutes or so until around 10pm. Our tickets cost us €11.20 return.
Now this is were it gets fun, or crazy, depending on your take of it. The trains can be very, very busy. Be ready, because once the train stops at the platform and those doors open, whoosh, everyone makes a mad dash to try and find the last spot. Once those spots are full they’ll try to find spots that don’t exist until we are all crammed in like sardines in a tin. The journey lasts around 40 minutes so be prepared to stand this entire time, take some water as the carriages can be hot and very humid.
Once you arrive you’ll need tickets to enter. There are a number of ticket booths offering a range of tours and services. We opted for a self lead visit rather than a guided tour. Bought ‘beat the line’ tickets for €15 each and made our way to the entrance.
Pompeii lying in the shadow of Vesuvius, a once thriving city. The streets lined with Roman soldiers, families, business owners and children. People just getting on with their daily routines. Wiped out in an instant. Cobbled roads with the grooves of carts drawn by horses still visible. Frescoes, columns, bakery’s and food shops all still here as if they could spring to life again any minute, beautifully preserved. Don’t forget to go look for the plaster casts of the people who died that day, frozen in time, found in the position they perished in. Very eerie.
We had a good three hours exploring but to be honest we could have spent all day here. There is so much to see and the place is huge. The only reason we left early was so we could visit the next stop on our journey. Mount Vesuvius. Before buying our ticket for the coach we grabbed some snacks from one of the food places outside. Reasonably priced too for the location.
Coach tickets for Vesuvius cost us €10 each and are available from the vendors selling Pompeii tickets. You will need a ticket for the trip up. There is then another charge to enter the National Park and crater area. We paid this upon reaching the top and this cost another €8 a piece. The scenery on the way up is quite something. Through winding roads, forests, passed tomato plantations and a number of small villages.
Wear some comfy trainers or boots for this day because you’re going to do ALOT of walking. The small hike to the crater over the soft ashy and stony ground can be pretty rough. But once you get to the very top, wow, the views are incredible out over the Bay of Naples.
We had such a great day. The evening ended with a well earned pizza and beer from Sorbillo. Another incredible pizza restaurant down buy the seafront. You have to try it if you visit Naples. Very good prices and the food was fantastic.
We payed for our travel and admission tickets as we went along, however if you would like to go on a more organised tour check out what Get Your Guide has to offer.
Both of us absolutely loved our time in Naples and hope you have enjoyed reading our blogs. Amsterdam is our next destination in a few weeks time. We will be writing a couple more blogs before then however. Thank you all for your continued support in this new venture.