Travel Series: Pompeii & Paestum

If you’re a history buff of any sort, you need to experience these archaeological sites. They are so amazing. I wish we had had more time to explore here!

We started our day by meeting up with Fernando for the drive to Paestum. He had a car that was actually rather large, comparatively, so the drive was pretty pleasant. Emily and I had a good time re-discovering old games, like 2048, so we kept ourselves entertained for the whole ride. We had a bit of an interesting experience upon our arrival in the city, specifically when Fernando went to park… As I’ve mentioned, cars are really small, and therefore, so are most parking spots. He found a parallel parking spot and proceeded to wriggle his way in… lightly tapping the car in front of and behind us with each and every maneuver. After hitting each car about 3-4 times, we were nicely placed in the spot. Don’t worry, there were no marks left on any of the cars, it was just hilarious to watch happen!

After that experience, we made our way to the museum at Paestum. A little background on the city, Paestum was a major Greek city located in Italy. It was founded around 600 BC, and it’s known for its three major temples that are still standing today. In the museum, there’s a painted “headstone” (I say headstone, but I know that’s not the proper term for this massive tomb marker) depicting a diver. They believe that this is meant to represent diving into the afterlife. This is said to be the first example of ancient civilizations showing the afterlife. It was really cool to see such an important piece of history. We also saw countless Greek artifacts in the museum before making our way out to the actual ruins.

 

Moving out to the ruins was amazing. Emily told me how much this reminded her of being in Greece, but almost better because we could actually climb around inside the ruins. We explored for a few hours before shopping for some souvenirs and getting a quick lunch. It was one of the warmest days of the trip, so our lunch was a little sweaty, but the food was delicious.

Exploring Paestum was such an amazing experience, and I strongly encourage you to visit if you have the opportunity. And, if you’re in the area, make your way over to Pompei, like we did. Fernando, Elvio, Gin, Emily, and I made our way back to Salerno, where we dropped off Elvio and Fernando. Then, Emily, Gin, and I hopped on a bus through the mountians. Pompei has a surreal feeling to it, beginning with the fact that directly across the (very busy city) street from the archaeological park is a gas station. There’s something odd about the juxtaposition of ancient and modern.

We thought our bus would be taking us directly to the park, but the last stop was a few blocks away. Luckily, our driver was kind enough to go the few extra blocks so we didn’t have to wander through the town on our own. We bought our tickets and explored the ancient city, frozen in time, before an impending storm drove us out. It was surreal to see the dark clouds rolling over Mt. Vesuvius. It looked almost apocalyptic. We made it to the train station right before the clouds broke.

Our train ride was uneventful, and when we got back to Salerno, we spent the night relaxing while the storm rolled over top of us.

Next – and final 😦 – stop, Naples!

Stay tuned for more updates,

xoxo, second sister suzie

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