Home > Travel > Tom’s European Vacation (Part 9) – Pompeii, Rome, Venice

Tom’s European Vacation (Part 9) – Pompeii, Rome, Venice

DSC02463 ‘When in Rome’, my mother always used to say…  but if I were to follow that way of thinking I would probably attempt to take over the world, name my offspring the next emperor and die as my world domination slowly fell apart after a few hundred years. Not bad – but I’d prefer to do things my own way, so…

Bit of Greece? Thank you very much – over to Italy, sir? But of course… I caught myself a boat from Greece over to Italy and after a relaxing trip across the width of Italy I landed in Pompeii – or there-abouts.

Pushpin: Pompeii - a short rail trip from Naples

The town I stopped in was Naples, down near the water front was a hostel of epic cheapness, the town itself is worth a visit with fantastic back streets that make you feel like it could be the 1950’s all over again, wonderful churches & squares with wide open spaces that stretch down to the sea, as well as shopping for those of you with no imagination other than to spend money.

All of that to keep you busy and then…  Pompeii. Assuming you get there as early as humanly possible (not very early when having had a bottle of wine and too much cheese the night before in your hostel), you might just have enough time to see it all. Even then, you’ll still wonder about the size of it and come away thinking, ‘Did I explore that area’ as you browse the map back at the hostel. Surprisingly there’s more here than the repeated ‘Blue Peter’ television articles would have you believe; little did I know that, ‘There’s so much here, far more than we can tell you about on this programme – some fantastic mosaics, to name but a few, err, things’, actually meant, ‘There’s loads of pornographic mosaics here – it’s great’. Admittedly they’re ‘expertly created and crafted’, but ultimately they’re smut – either for a bit of fun or to arouse. All I can advise is, go take a look – it’s much more fun than the books/TV would have you believe.

You can just see from the map opposite the size of Mt. Vesuvius – it overlooks everything in the area, although rather unobtrusively, looks like it might be good fun to ski down in the winter, but certainly doesn’t conjure up much of a feeling of fear – even after I had seen the petrified bodies in glass cases. If you’re interested in that sort of thing – take a look through my pictures… but if you really are interested in that, perhaps see a psychiatrist. ;)  

So from Naples to Rome, a trip I remember little of – all the usual there: the Coliseum, Pantheon, plenty of churches and, of course, St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican City as a whole. I saw it all, as one would, and then settled down to a pizza just down the road from the Coliseum itself. Of course, special mention must go to the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) ceiling which is shockingly good – with the little

suggestions of surrealism here and there that let the ‘modern art’ movement know that nothing is modern, really, it’s just that most of these guys were better than most of you. (I enjoyed writing that – and apologise for any hurt it may have caused).

Meanwhile Venice called – but I was engaged (to be married, as it happens, but nobody told me) – so after the call was over I moved on. Confusing, hey? Anyway – I went down to Venice and roamed the streets, alone, remembering the good old days when I visited with my parents and looked at small glass models of the Pink Panther back in 1980/1 (Is that possible? Can I really be that old/young? Of course – I think – everything is, possible that is…  Right, now that’s clear and you’re distracted from my age, let’s get on with the story). I sighed at the Bridge of Sighs, wondered at the wandering tourists, preyed upon the praying few (didn’t really – it just sounded fun) and a few other things besides. See the photos. It’s late, I need to have a beer and… go to bed, I suppose.

P.S. Most notable memory: sleeping in a double bed in a hostel in Rome with a Liverpudlian and his mum on bunk beds at my feet. I offered her the double – I even suggested I’d keep her company, but to no avail, they stayed in the bunk beds that reminded me of my youth. I felt like a parent to them both. Most odd.

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