Part II: the big bang [tuesday]
Finding the right gate was a bit tricky; first of all, we’d just been napping on the train for 3 hours and were kinda groggy. Then the ancient cabbies told us we were headed to the wrong gate and proposed we pay them a few Euro to get to the front gate. And they were ancient-- the youngest had to have been 65 if he was a day. His dad probably remembers when Vesuvius blew it’s top in ’74. By the way; Pompei is not Pompeii-- one ‘i’ refers to the present city, two refers to the ruins.
I have begun to really resent tourists; ask me why sometime, and we can discuss the finer points of “what and what not to do when visiting archeological sites, really old buildings, and sacred ground."
Tuesday in the ruins = dust, rocks, and the bitter sun. Temperatures probably eased up into the 90s, and there wasn’t much shade. Fortunately some of the ancient cities fountains have been replumbed and allow you to refill your water bottles. They have a similar system in Rome-- little pillars of iron and miscellaneous fountains all over the city for all your hydration needs. Early on in the ruin-romp we split the group up; eventually we completely lost touch with the others, and nearly had to leave them behind from the train station-- except we had a brave adventurer who was able to track them down. Talk about lost and found :D
Getting back to our hotel in Rome was also an adventure-- we missed our first train from Naples, but were able to get on the next one-- only there were no "second class" compartments. The entire train was glassed in air-conditioned-adjustable seating, so the seven of us camped out in one and played cards, laughed at bad jokes, knitted, read, and napped. By the time we got back to the Termini station in Rome (which they treat more like an airport than a train depot), the metro had closed down for the night. We were pretty hungry anyhow, so we grabbed pizza and let the night roll on around us (amazing who is running errands at 11pm). Next we hunted down a pair of cabs-- the two guys were freinds or coworkers at least and ended up racing each other across the city to our destination-- chatting through the windows when we had to pull up at a light. I thought it was awesome (of _course_ they know what they're doing!) but not everyone was so entertained.
Tomorrow we have a bit of free time, and then meet a guide to see some famous fountains, plazas, and palaces.