Day 52 Pozzuoli to Mount Vesuvius National Park

We awoke this morning to biblical rain, and couldn’t leave our campsite quick enough. For the first time on this trip, I opted not to shower, the option being a cold shower in a shed with rain pouring through the roof – instead I boiled a kettle and washed in Oscar. Howard, on the other hand, stalked a man in a dressing gown across the grounds to a fitness suite and swimming pool in an adjoining complex, and cheekily used the shower there, before climbing back through he hedge. Needless to say, he couldn’t find a ladies shower.
We trawled through the camping App, and discovered the most of the campsites in Italy don’t seem to open until the end of March – strange, since in Spain and Portugal there was no problem at all. Of the ones that are open, they are either miles away from us, or the nearest, about 50km away, has a review saying ‘the prostitutes patrolling outside the gates at night were a problem’. No thank you!
So we bit the bullet and booked into a hotel on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. The drive around the outskirts of Naples was predictably bad – we have decided that Italians have no manners when it comes to driving, they constantly cut us up, and never, and I mean, NEVER, indicate. It is like a national disease. But the worse vice of all is their constant hooting. Howard got so fed up with one driver this morning, that uncharacteristically he leant hard on Oscar’s horn and shouted ‘You too b….tard!’
Once we arrived at our hotel, things started to look up. It is situated on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius National Park, in a lovely position looking out over the Bay of Naples. I’m guessing the hotel is used a lot for functions, but is quiet this weekend, so we have been given a divine room with a lovely view – or it would be, if the loud cloud would lift!
After a reviving coffee (we actually declined a welcome drink, and asked for coffee), we set off initially with the intention of doing some of the walk up to Mount Vesuvius – but as we drove uphill, the mist was so low that we couldn’t even see the volcano, and at the gate to the park the road had been closed due to adverse weather. So Plan B. Instead we drove eastwards towards the sea and stumbled across the town of Pompei. We stopped to admire the central plaza and church of San Pelegrano, and for a few minutes the sun peeked out. Enthused by this upturn in the weather, we decided to chance our luck and explore the ruins of Pompei. It proved to be an astute move. Being such a poor day, weather wise, there was hardly a soul about. So despite the constant threatening leaden skies, we walked around at our leisure and took in the atmosphere. I remember learning about Pompei at school – and images that I had only previously seen in next books started popping into view – the wonderful paved walkways, the houses with raised bricks for the heating system, the bodies caked in ash who fell as they fled from the advancing pyroplastic surges and molten ash. I’m not really a great fan of archaeological sites, but I was impressed with the scale of this one. Little details were extraordinary. You had to pinch yourself to imagine that the frescos on the walls were over two thousand years old. The beautifully preserved theatre and hot baths were impressive, but I did wonder why Howard insisted we trek miles to house 18 in the 8th sector – needless to say it was the brothel, with accompanying frescoes on the walls.
So what started as a rather miserable looking day, actually turned out to be rather good. Now, as I type, the hotel owner seems to be cooking us tea, since the restaurant is not open this early in the season. Hopefully, he can cook, as well as being a very friendly hotelier!

One thought on “Day 52 Pozzuoli to Mount Vesuvius National Park

  1. Yes we too felt the same way about Rome when we visited a few years ago, but like you folks thought Pompei was amazing. Re the Italians driving yes they are awful and of course they never overtake you on a straight bit of road, they wait until the bend – plonkers.

    Love reading your blog. Kay x


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