On the 11th of April 2018 we set off early in the
morning for a geography school trip to Naples. It ended up being a lot more eventful
(for the right reasons) than we thought it would be and we want to share with
you the highlights in this post.
As you will probably realise, it is going to be quite geography
related so it won’t appeal to everyone but Southern Italy is really beautiful and
there are so many things we just didn’t get time to do, so if you get the
opportunity to go, just go!
Virtual archaeological museum
Location: Via IV Novembre, 44, 80056 Ercolano NA, Italy
The museum was our first stop of the day after leaving the airport. Through different interactive experiences, you can learn all about the Plinian eruption in 79 AD that destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It takes you on a tour or the cities and provides information on the events before, during and after the catastrophic volcanic eruption.
To be honest it wasn’t really anything to shout about, some
of the interactive exhibits were broken and personally, I don’t think it was
worth 10 Euros each. But, I guess if its wet and cold, this would be a good
place to stop for an hour or so.
Archaeological site of Herculaneum
Location: Corso Resina, 80056 Ercolano NA, Italy
This was the actual site that was excavated to reveal the long lost town of Herculaneum. The first fragments of the town were discovered in 1709 whilst someone was drilling to make a well, and the excavation still continues to this day.
The destruction of Herculaneum was different to Pompeii as it was actually hit by a pyroclastic flow, a deadly mixture of gases and volcanic matter, about 12 hours after the the eruption. The people of Hercuaneum believed they weren’t in any danger as the eruption had stopped, so returned to their homes.
These ancient ruins were mesmerising to have a look around, because all the hundreds and thousands and years later, there was still so much detail that had been retained. Some of the buildings look like they were only left abandoned a few decades ago, it’s incredible how much remains. Another crazy fact is it is thought that only 20% of the town has been excavated and it is already huge! I can’t wait to find out what more they discover in the future.
Archaeological site of Pompeii
Location: Via Villa dei Misteri, 2, 80045 Pompei NA, Italy
Pompeii was amazing – only one third of the site is open to the public but it honestly feels huge! There are streets with engraved signs still readable all these years later, it didn’t feel real. Because the town was covered in a huge layer of ash during the eruption, a lot of the roofs caved it but the actual bodies of the buildings were almost completely preserved. It feels like an ancient town frozen in time.
For me, the most insane part was stepping inside the Teatro Grande (Large Theatre) and looking all around. It is in such good condition and has such good acoustics that productions and acts are still performed in there to this day.
There are also numerous plaster casts of inhabitants caught in the very moment they were killed during the eruption, which was very moving and actually quite eerie to experience. If you get the chance to visit Pompeii you must go, as it is a once in a lifetime experience to see a town from so long ago.
Vesuvius National Park
Location: Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Unfortunately when we went up the volcano it was really foggy so we couldn’t see much of the actual crater but it was a really interesting experience nonetheless. Our guide was really fun and engaging the whole way up, and then we made our way down at our own pace.
Now, there’s a bit of a story to be told that started on the side of this volcano. It happened to be my birthday this day, and little did I know David had bought a little something for me. He stopped me and took me over to one side and gave me the cutest earrings ever – they were hearts with cut-out paw prints because he knows how much I love dogs. It was such a sweet gesture and I was already thinking about how much I wanted us to be a thing so I just came out with it, I turned to him and I said “I love you”. I’m never normally that brave but I did, I just loved him so much just everything about him. And you know what? He said it right back and I could see it was genuine and how much he meant it. It was a really special moment, and one we will both cherish forever (soppy story I know!)
Anyway, back to the actual purpose of our post, Vesuvius was great, it was a shame it was so foggy but I feel like we still got a lot out of it.
Isle of Capri
We set off nice and early to catch the ferry across to Capri. It was really beautiful here, the seaside town was so picturesque and pretty much everywhere you looked was shimmering blue ocean.
As part of the day we went on a boat trip to see the most famous sight of Capri… the Blue Grotto. The first boat we embarked on was quite big, more of a sightseeing cruise boat. Listening to the commentary on the boat was quite entertaining and very light-hearted but also full of information. One particular moment I remember was when we were approaching an arch along the coast, called the hole of Faraglioni. The captain informed us of an old superstition where people who kissed under this arch stayed together forever, but as the feelings between David and I weren’t yet common knowledge we were too afraid to do it. Instead we held and squeezed each others hands tight, which is something we still do now when we can’t physically kiss. It is a really lovely habit we have picked up from this day.
A bit later into our journey we arrived at a floating ticket office which is where we would purchase our tickets to visit the Blue Grotto. After quite a long wait (the attraction is always very busy and you can only have 4 people per boat to go into the grotto), but eventually we were next. Me and two of my friends piled into this tiny boat with a rower and were instructed to lay down flat. As we got nearer to the cave we could see why – the gap was probably about one meter wide and the same in height, so the rower had to pretty much lay on top of me when we went through which I wasn’t expecting! But once we were inside it was honestly beautiful, unlike anything I’d seen before, and something I don’t think I will ever experience again. Pictures just don’t do it justice…
We had an amazing time on this trip, even though it was a school trip it was very relaxed and we got quite a lot of freedom. I would like to come back again one day, just to experience it all again but just the two of us.
Thank you for reading, if anyone has any cute/cringey/soppy travel stories to share please comment them below we’d love to hear them!
Zoe and David x
Written by Zoe