Pompeii
 
 
Pompeii was a big surprise.  I thought it would be a few rocks on the ground. Most of the city is there, and the damaged parts are being reconstructed. Pompeii was a Roman resort for the rich. You can get a bus from the Naples tran station, but beware the scam. You can get a round-trip ticket to Vesuvius or Pompeii, but somehow the bus back never comes, and you have to take one of the many cabs parked at the top.
 
View of Vesuvius from the eastern wall. Pliny the Younger wrote this of the eruption:

Its general appearance can best be expressed as being like a pine rather than any other tree, for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches, I imagine because it was thrust upwards by the first blast and then left unsupported as the pressure subsided, or else it was borne down by its own weight so that it spread out and gradually dispersed. Sometimes it looked white, sometimes blotched and dirty, according to the amount of soil and ashes it carried with it.Meanwhile on Mount Vesuvius broad sheets of fire and leaping flames blazed at several points, their bright glare emphasized by the darkness of night.


By this time the courtyard giving access to his room was full of ashes mixed with pumice-stones, so that its level had risen, and if he had stayed in the room any longer he would never had got out. the flames and smell of sulphur which gave warning of the approaching fire drove the others to take flight and roused him to stand up . . . then [he] suddenly collapsed, I imagine because the dense fumes choked his breathing by blocking his windpipe which was constitutionally weak and narrow and often inflamed . . . his body was found intact and uninjured, still fully clothed and looking more like sleep than death.
 
 
That "Oh shit!" moment when you're overrun by a pyroclastic flow.  572oF, 79AD. While excavating the flows, 1044 cavities were discovered where people, and one dog had been vaporized. Oh, and in the bakery, 2,000 loaves of bread. They filled the cavities with plaster and this is one of the results. About 1/3 of the people died outside,  the rest were under collapsed roofs. The total death tole in Pompeii and Herculenaeum is estimated at 16,000. 
As a spa, Pompeii had
were three rooms with different shaped pools, for cold, warm and hot water.  Sharon is in front of the hot water pool.
Cassic fast food. Earthenware bowls of food were kept warm by coals at the bottom of the holders. There were a lot of these--Pompeii no one wants to cook at a resort.
This is the coat room for the bath house.  The holes in the wall held hangers.
There's always a sleeping dog in sight in Pompeii.
Wolf Alley was named because the prostitutes hung out at the end and did wolf calls. Today we'd say they got it backwards. Or maybe they were admitting to being bitches..
The brothel is an L-shaped corridor with small bedrooms with rock beds. Hope there was straw. Porn frescoes on the upper left.
The gates of Pompeii.  The holes in the wall on the left were from rocks catapulted by General Sulla in 89-90BC. This successful invasion, part of the Punic wars, took Pompeii from local control and established it as a Roman colony.
At the south end of the city, near the gates. This fresco is being reconstructed. It shows a group of women standing near Dyonisus (below). It's believed to portray a ritual that didn't make it into any surviving writing.
Detail - Dionysus.
Caveat canem. Mosaic at the entrance to a theater. Wish I could attend with a time machine and a camcorder. Not only would we see the play, we'd hear how Latin actually was pronounced (scholars differ). I'm also taking the camcorder to Agincourt and the premier of Le Sacre du Printemps.
 
Sharon at Herculanaeum, the other town destroyed in the 79AD eruption.  Vesuvius in background. After climbing Vesuvius and spending the afternoon wandering around Pompeii, my feet were to sore to do this, so I ate a Magnum bar while Sharon went. She says that if you've seen this picture, you've seen everything you need to see. Then she had a dark chocolate Magnum too.