Day 14 – Pompei & Paestum

Woke up feeling refreshed except for my hips which were sore from laying on too-thin padding between bone and the steel of the car’s frame. Went back to that mess the proprietors euphemistically called the shower facilities to take a piss and brush my teeth then was on my way to Pompei.

Paid my 11 euros to get in and spent the morning calmly walking the streets of this Roman city which was flooded with tens of feet of hot ashes from the nearby (and still active) Vesuvius volcano almost two thousand years ago.

The highlight of the tour for me was when I came across a fenced off area inside of which was a German team excavating a portion of the ruins. I asked one of them if they’d found any coins today and she said yes which got me excited. I then asked if I could see them and she told me I needed to go talk to the director of the project who was standing some ways off. I introduced myself and told him I was writing a book on ancient Roman coins and would it be possible for me to see the coins. He was excited to show them to me and we went off to the dig area where he came up with two very sorry looking coins which had no identifiable features left but I felt great that I had been given this special treatment.

I wrapped up my tour by noon by which time I was seeing more and more tour groups. It’d been a good idea to start early.

From Pompei I drove south and just looked at the map for anywhere of interest. I found a historical landmark labeled Paestum and decided to check it out. Pretty neat. This was an old Greek colony on mainland Italy with well preserved temples. The day was sunny and beautiful and must have been in the low 70’s (can’t really tell the metric system but that’s what it felt like). After taking many photos and wandering around I hopped back in the car and started looking for somewhere to spend the night. I drove and drove through the mountains but could find nothing and felt like I could really use a shower and get back on the internet but was resigned to sleep in the car again.

In some little town with the last of day light I found a facility that sold what looked like propane cylinders and decided to ask the guys working within if they’d mind me crashing in the car there. Surprisingly, one of them spoke passably good English and told me there was a cheap hotel just a couple miles away so I headed in that direction.

I found the hotel and inquired whether they had internet access to which they lied that yes, they did. It was only 35 Euros so what the heck. ‘Course, I wasn’t none too happy when I discovered the “internet access” meant that there was a cell tower off in the distance somewhere and maybe that’s how I hooked up to the internet? Whatever. Showered and went to bed.

Day 15