I woke early the next morning grabbing a nut bar and coffee at Termini station. I had to catch a train to Tiburtina train station to connect with the Flex bus bound for Pompeii. The signage was lacking and with only 10 minutes to connect I walked around in frustration before I asked an annoyed bus driver where to get the tourist buses from. He pointed behind him. I walked towards the bus stand and hoped I was standing in the right place. 15 minutes later the bright green bus pulled up, my ticket was scanned and I took a window seat.
Rewind 14 years back. It was a summer Tuesday afternoon in a double lesson of Ancient History class. Most of the class had their heads on desks fighting off sleep. Our teacher was talking about Pompeii when our ears pricked up when she mentioned the Ancient Romans had a porn room. Now we were paying attention.
Back to today, the bus stopped in Naples en route to drop off passengers. Before long we were on our way again, arriving into Pompeii 2 hours later. I decided to walk to the Ancient Pompeii entrance which proved an exhausting mission in the hot sun without any shade. I stopped at an outdoor cafe after 30 minutes to properly energise myself with a gnocchi dish and aperol spritz. Another 20 minutes and I reached one of the entrances to this city once buried in lava.
I was given a map which proved a little complicated to follow so I made the executive decision to just meander the ancient site. I quickly found I had worn the wrong shoes. Again. My feet were still grieving from the day before and todays cobblestones were not helping. Where I’d enterred the site was at the foot of the city which meant my walk was upwards.
A lot of the homes ruined by the volcano eruption looked very much alike including the main buildings, the only distinction being whatever art work was still left in some of the rooms.
I sat in the amphitheater, gladiators once fought for their lives in this arena. I made it to the top of Pompeii and perfectly framed between the ruins was Mt Vesuvius herself, lying dormant in the distance. I had reached what looked like the city square and was now searching for the ash encased casts of humans and animals that had been frozen in time when Mt Vesuvius erupted and covered this city. It was sad to see the casts of children and animals.
It took me about 3 hours to walk around the ruins before my feet gave in. I had not found the ancient porn room. And while Pompeii had not blown me away I was still happy to be standing in a ruin I had once read about but never knew I would see one day.
I decided to walk back down to the bus stop which took about 30 minutes. As I waited, sat on a staircase outside a supermarket, I had 2 taxi drivers pass by telling me I was pretty and they’d give me a lift back to Rome with a wink. I didn’t respond to either advance and was sad to encounter another unpleasant experience. The bus arrived 15 minutes later and we were en route back to Rome. I slept on the bus ride back and woke when we arrived back into Tiburtina station. I had a 40 minute wait for my train back to Termini station, there was a cafe still open. I bought a cuppa tea and cheese sandwhich, my dinner for the night.
I boarded the train back to Termini station and walked the 8 minutes to my hostel. I wasn’t going to have a sleep in as my departure was early the next morning. So I decided to pack up as much as I could for a smooth morning. After another long shower I crawled into bed and fell asleep straight away.
The morning came quickly. I freshened up and dragged my luggage back to Termini station for my bus transfer to Rome airport for my final European destination, Croatia.