Herculaneum: In the Shadow of PompeiiOctober 28, 2017 in Italy
Learning from our previous errors, we were set to explore Herculaneum, a site often overlooked by many tourists in favour of the more renown Pompeii. This time there would be no delays with trains but instead we were unable to get out of our apartment. Our apartment was keyless, which meant we had to input a code into the security system to enter and push a button to exit. It was as if someone had hit the panic room button and we were unable to escape. Flashes of the Absolutely Fabulous episode where Eddie and Patsy get “locked” in their panic room ran through our minds. However, there was no Moët to comfort us as we waited to be rescued. When we finally were able to open the door, after a few kicks, we felt like we had been in their forever (when really it was only 10 minutes). In our minds, though, we were preparing for the long haul.
Herculaneum, while not as large as Pompeii, still has many magnificent villas and well-preserved structures. Even less known are the villas in Boscoreale, Oplontis and Stabia, which were next on our itinerary. Villa Poppaea, supposedly owned by the Emperor Nero's second wife, was astounding to walk through, imagining the opulence that once must have filled the rooms. The villas Arianna and San Marco were equally as impressive buildings, overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Once we discovered the Circumvesuviana train line, the missing link from Google Maps, navigating to many of these sites became slightly easier and generally involved a lot less walking – well, sometimes. But it did mean travelling in a machine manufactured in the dark ages. Instead of a train it resembled more of a washing machine on wheels. By the time you get to Pompeii you're on spin cycle and you rattle all the way back to Napoli.
Next stop: back to Napoli.
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