We arrived in Rome yesterday afternoon on our last stop on the continent and Italy before flying to London for Christmas and New Year's. Prior to arriving we spent an incredible couple of days in Pompeii and Ercolano/Hercalenum. We were fortunate enough to have a super knoweldgeable, experienced and funny tour guide.
From my perspective there's no other way to describe these ruins except to say they're mind blowing. Really. You stand and look at them and try and piece what they would've looked like in all their grandeur and it's like nothing I know. From the limestone floors, to the columns, to the frescoes and on and on. Then there's the market with all the sections labeled just like in our supermarkets to the kitchens and restaurants. One striking element of their way of life was how they were obsessive about water and saving every last drop. Mario told us they viewed rainwater as precious as gold. Quite a contrast to our way of life. Of course much of what they built was aided by the force of many slaves. Still it does not take away from what was developed in these towns 2000+ years ago.
It's one thing to wander these runes and gawk, but the experience goes to a whole other level when you have a tour guide as passionate as Mario. Mario is seventy one years young, a graduate of University of Naples, and a man who oozes knowledge about the area. During our tour we were joined by a very nice family from Vancouver who are living in Barcelona. Mario's doctors have told him he needs to slow down and not do so many tours. He would hurry us, in a good way, from place to place, because he was so passionate about what was next. Super Mario indeed!
One of my favorite conversations is finding out if you could live in another period of time what would it be. For laughs I always say I'd love to be living in the '50's in the Rat Pack era. But I was left with really thinking about living during the height of Pompeii and Hercalaneum prior to Mount Vesuvius erupting. What was that world like? How different and the same was it.
What period of time would you say?