The Sixth Estate
Friday, December 05, 2003
QUOTE OF THE DAY : ''Dov e Pompei?'' - Me, wandering through the Italian country-side

SONG OF THE DAY : The Godfather Theme Song


But, alack,
That monster envy, oft the wrack
Of earned praise

''Dov e Pompei?'' I asked.

''Dov e POMPEI!?'' I yelled


Yesterday, I wanted to go to Pompei. It's the ancient Roman city that was covered in ash and perfectly preserved when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. I walked 20 km, but sadly when I finally did find it... it had just closed to the public.

Now I've had some 'Fun' days on this trip... but this about tops all of them. The morning started off fine, I was going to take the train from Naples to Pompei... a simple endeavour according to everyone at the hostel.

Unfortunatly on the way the train broke down, and had to go back to the station. From that point I got on the wrong train, though I didn't know it because I had no idea what the announcement over the loud speakers had said.

Shit, I realized I was on the wrong line. But I looked at the map and figured I would just get off at one of the stations on the other line, that was paralell to Pompei.

Of course the map was not to scale, and what I didn't realize at the time was that Mt. Vesuvius ran between those two train lines, that on the map were only an inch apart.

By the time I realized my error I had already gone to far to turn back.

6 Hours ! Of walking aimlessly through the country side surrounding Napoli and Sorrento. Some of the sketchiest areas I've ever been too, I was afraid I was going to walk onto the Don's property and get my ass shot.

''Dov e Pompei?'' I would ask the occasional person. Where is Pompei?

They would point in a direction and I would go that way. Only to be pointed in another direction by the next person I asked.

Now this is Southern Italy. It was hot. I had brought my jacket for some stupid reason, and was wearing my big, thick, green striped rugby shirt. At mid-day the temperature probably peaked at about 28 degrees.

Six hours of walking, I had no clue where I was, I knew the general direction of Pompei, but it didn't seem to help.

Here are some highlights from my walk. I was almost run over by a dude riding a horse drawn buggy. I walked into a cactus a la Homer Simpson. Nearly stepped on a dead dog. Single handedly made an ass of the entire English speaking world with my inability to speak Italian. Had my foot run over by a scooter. Was cursed at by a strange old Italian gentleman. And ate pizza in the middle of nowhere.

Hell of a day. As I said when I finally did get there, my feet were like stones, and my legs were cramped up the yin yang.

''Ah finally Pompei !'' I exclaimed as the ancient town came into view.

''Chiusi'' The security guard said.

Closed. All for nothing. Admittedly it was something I'll remember the rest of my life. But it seemed rather pointless to walk all that way for nothing.

In other news. Two days ago I hiked up Mount Vesuvius. Incredible view. 4000 feet up, just incredible. The volcanologist said they expected another eruption soon. Always a comforting thought when you're sleeping in the city perched below the volcano in question.

Now I am in Sicily. Palermo to be exact. Took the night ferry from Naples last night.
Cool place. Damn hot.

I figure I might take a quick jont down to Tunisia. It's only a 3 hour ferry ride. Then I can say I went to Africa as well.

Good times. I'm in the old country, land of the real mafia.




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