We started our last full day in Rome with a long, early morning walk to meet our day trip tour that would take us south to Pompeii. We boarded the bus and drove straight to Pompeii which is an ancient city that was covered by a volcanic explosion from the neighbouring volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, in 79 AD. This volcanic explosion buried the city in rocks, ash, and volcanic debris like pumis stone, and preserved the city exactly as it was in 79AD.
This city was so amazing to see, it is not in ruins at all, and it’s easy to imagine what life would have looked like there so long ago. Archaeologists have excavated two-thirds of the city and it’s mostly perfectly intact, missing only organic material like wood used for doors and roofs from the buildings. All of the artifacts found throughout the homes and shops has been moved to the museum in Naples which we went to in the afternoon, so we really got the whole picture.
We spent about 3 hours at Pompeii and got an awesome guided tour. It was also not busy so we got to see so much of the city that we wouldn’t have been able to if there was lines and crowds. Our guide was super knowledgeable about the city and history and picked us out as Canadians because we were wearing t-shirts in the winter time and saying how warm it was out.
The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was so powerful that half the mountain disappeared with it. Prior to the eruption it was 3000m tall, today it stands at about 1200m. There was so much material moved during this event that it actually extended the coast line further out into the ocean and pushed the river away from the mountain. Quite the extraordinary geological event with an extremely large impact. Pompeii was one of the cities struck, which we got to visit, but there were 3 others that were also effected by this event.
At Pompeii we went into the gladiators’ barracks, two theatres, houses, shops, red light district, gym/spa/wellness centre, main square, temples, and lots of streets. It was very cool to see the wear marks in the streets from the carts, and the painting still on the walls. Because of the way the city was buried, so much of it was preserved, basically the volcano pushed the stop button and the city was frozen in time. This tragic event captured many lives, but when the people were buried, their bodies decayed and left a hollow spot in the volcanic material with bones in it. Archaeologists have been able to make casts of these and we could see where and in what position these people died. This volcanic eruption was a surprise to the multiple cities buried on the 24th of August in 79AD, and each city was buried by different volcanic material so they were destroyed and preserved in different ways. Tragic, but an archaeological goldmine, and it was incredible to see the city and imagine it in all its glory.
After the fascinating visit to Pompeii, we got a Neapolitan pizza lunch which was delicious. We sat with a couple guys that were also on our tour and had a good visit over lunch. I think I like the Neapolitan pizza a bit better than the Roma pizza, Naples was the birthplace of pizza though, so of course they should have the best ;).
We visited the museum in Naples that houses the artifacts from the city. It was incredible to see this as it filled in the picture of life in Pompeii in 79AD. After our museum stop, we made our way back to Rome. It was a long 13 hour day by the time we reached Rome, so we ate some supper and crashed for the night.
The next day, we packed up and made our way to the train station to take us to Venice. It was a four hour train ride with some nice Italian countryside to occupy us for the journey. We got to Venice and proceeded to find our hotel, which we didn’t have difficulty with, it was just interesting and different because some of the “streets” are just small alleys that are literally one person wide. To get around Venice you walk or go by boat, there is no vehicle and no bikes of any kind. It was actually kind of nice to not deal with traffic and trying to cross the busy streets anymore.
We walked around a bit, settled into the hotel and planned out our Venice stay before heading out for supper. We had excellent seafood our first night in Venice, it was such a treat.
Unfortunately for us, it rained the whole time for the rest of our stay in Venice, but no big deal we had our jackets and an umbrella, plus we aren’t made of sugar so we don’t melt :). We had amazing weather for our whole trip basically, so we were due some less than ideal weather.
We spent our first full day in Venice exploring the “streets” and taking part in a walking tour that took us around St. Marks Square and all the places surrounding it. We explored St. Marks Basilica and Doge’s Palace on this tour and it was very interesting. We learned a lot about the history of Venice from when it was part of the Roman Empire and from when it was an independent state. St. Marks basilica was a site to behold, the entire ceiling is made of mosaics and most of it is made with pieces covered in gold leaf, it was beautiful. Our adventures for the day also took us over Rialto Bridge and through Rialto Market.
We were pretty wet by the end of the day as we gave up on the umbrella kind of early on; there is just not enough room for two people with umbrellas to meet each other on the “street” so it just got annoying. But no worries, we had supper and called it a night and everything was dry by morning to do it all over again.
Our last day in Venice we walked along as many canals as we could and explored lots of side “streets”. We got lost so many times in Venice, but that’s part of the charm, and we still didn’t have it anymore figured out by our last day there. We got rained on all day, but took refuge in the museums surrounding St. Marks square for most of the afternoon. Our day in Venice came to a close with an early extended supper of delicious Italian food, one last time, before boarding the overnight train.
We ate so much cheese, and carbs in Italy, but it was all so amazing.
Our overnight train was really nice and I got the top bunk again for the trip. Lucky for Quinn and I we managed to walk up at every train stop when we were supposed to be getting some shut eye before a full day of travel home. Oh well, we made it to Munich, Germany, early in the morning and managed to step outside the train station so it counts as a stop on our journey, not just a transportation throughway (We took a selfie for proof, but you can still see the trains in the background haha).
We took the Munich transportation system to the airport which was a 45 minute ride where we got to watch the city pass by. We made it to the airport and luckily got on the flight to Toronto. Quinn got business class and I got economy, but it worked out beautifully because no one was sitting beside me so there was lots of room. We are safely home in Saskatoon now, which is SUCH a nice feeling, it will be very nice to sleep in our own beds tonight!
So, here is the link to the last group of pictures:
That concludes Quinn & Shelby’s European Adventure blog. Overall we can honestly say we had a blast on this trip. We took tons of pictures and have so many wonderful memories to take away from this. We got to experience so many incredible cities, sites, and history together and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
We cant wait for the next adventure :)
Quinn & Shelby