This was a very special day! In 18500 steps, we have seen some stuff, but it is everything around the sceneries we have seen today that will make this day memorable. Okey, sure, Pompeii was really awesome to see, but today was the perfect example of how much of a struggle it is to pursue a lifelong dream.
Okay, let’s start from the top, by renting a car. We had booked a car through http://www.rentalcars.com, got a really good price and that should have been the first warning bell. Renting a car is NEVER easy and you never get away with a good deal (except when I was on Puerto Rico and got several hundred dollar cheaper, during Christmas, for some reason). But before we could get to the car rental place (GoldCar) at the airport, we had to get to the airport. We left a bit late from the apartment and were a bit stressed. We had approximately 4.5minutes at Termini (the train station in central Rome) after we arrive by Metro to buy tickets and find the track. We actually managed, but the train saw us running and held the doors for us. Crazy! The train arrived 15 minutes late for some reason, but we still made it to 10am. Luck! When we get there and are presenting passport, drivers license and credit card… oh wait, we only have debit cards… Nope nope, no car. They told us Sicily by Car accepted debit cards, so we called RentalCars.com and made them change our reservation. She was very helpful, but she couldn’t rent it until 12:00. I talked to the guy at the desk and he said that it was weird that we got a car, when they didn’t have any. He had to make several phonecalls, change our insurance thingy, I had to transfer money and talk to RentalCars.com again. So, at 11:am we had a car (we must have been his most annoying customers today) and was driving south toward Pompeii. We got a Smart ForFour, not too bad actually. For a smart car it is decent size (all the cars here by the way are tiiiiiny). At 3pm we arrived in Pompeii after paying A LOT on road tolls. We spent so much money today on this trip.
So, finally down at Pompeii we realized the archeological site was huuuuge! We got an audio tour but were told to only go to 3 regions out of the 9 because we only had a little bit more than 3 hours, 6 would be needed, at least, for the whole site. We were tired, so it was enough for us.
We went through most of Region VII, VIII, I, and II. It was really cool. I am surprised at how well preserved it all was! I guess a lot of it was restored, but it didn’t say exactly what was restored. I think most of the walls where the original though, which is what made the whole site seem like a real city. There was a Forum, there were some of the casts of people (I honestly thought there were more, or maybe they were in the Regions we didn’t go to?), there were baths and lots of houses and temples. Even a temple of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of Nature. I am not going into details about stuff, because I would probably get most of it done. But I wish I could have seen it when it was a living city. It seemed like a really pretty place. And the baths with incredible architectural solutions to saunas and hot baths. Impressive! There was also an amphitheatre, supposedly the oldest one, and definitely the most well-preserved one. Colosseum was built on flat land and just up ~50 meters. Before, they built theatres on slopes (amphitheatre means double theatre), and this was built the same way. But instead of building it on a oval slope, they dug a pit and from ground level you have to go down to reach the arena.
The pictures are not sorted unfortunately. I am too tired to name them all now, but I will eventually! Here is also a link to a sphere photo I took at the amphitheatre.
When we were done we had to fill up the car and we managed to do it without speaking a single word in English. We were too tired to try and find a cute restaurant in Naples (most of them were in small street like in Rome, and with the car, it would have been too much of a hassle), so we decided to go to McDonalds so we could get back to Rome quickly). We found a very native shopping center where I think we were the only tourists.
2.5 hours driving, not without bumps, before we arrived in Rome. First, I turned off the GPS too early, so Jesper missed the correct entryway to the freeway, so instead of missing a toll station, we went through TWO (4 euros total) when first going the wrong direction and then going back in the right direction. Then we had several cars flashing their high beams and making weird things with their hands at us. It took as a long time to realize it had something to do with our lights. I am not sure what exactly, but they stopped after Jesper turned on a thing on the wheel. To make up for Jespers mistake earlier during the drive, I forgot to tell Jesper what exit to take from the freeway, which resulted in driving around a bit and 1.30 euro extra in the toll (it was 14:50 on the way down and 16:30 on the way up, it is just a price you pay when you are driving between Rome and Naples, for some unknown reason). We got back okay, we had spent tons of money today, Pompeii by car was expensive!!!
In the papers we got before going here to stay in this apartment, it said where there was a garage nearby. We drove there, looked nice enough. The guy didn’t speak any English, after a lot of hand gestures and a little bit of Google Translate, we gave him the car keys and told him we would be back at 9am. I hope this ends well for us, cross your fingers for us!
Long and crazy day with many events even if we only had one thing on the agenda. Pompeii was really cool, it was much more than I expected. I think it would have been nice to have a real guide there. For next time; I want to climb Mount Vesuvio!
We have packed most of our stuff, cleaned as best as we can, and are ready to leave the apartment tomorrow by 9am. On tomorrow’s agenda is driving around outside of Rome and going to Ostia, both the beach and the archeological site. It will be as warm tomorrow as today, about 22 C. On the freeway down it was as hot as 26 at one point! By the way, Italy in the spring is so beautiful! So many mountains, so much light green, we even saw a snowcapped mountain top. We only saw this from the car, but so pretty!