Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Pompeii Photo Extravaganza

Nigel and I at Pompeii

Pizzeria/Restaurant (slap in the middle of Pompeii) but served good food and much required!
Me/Hadriana at Pompeii near the Forum

Plaster cast of one of Pompeii bodies

Plaster cast of poor, chained up dog

Another plaster cast body surrounded by amphorae (jars)

Onsite museum/storage area

Temple to Apollo (Sun God)

Inscription on a handbasin in the Forum Baths

One of the bathing areas - Forum Baths

Decoration on ceiling in one of the bathing areas and the tops of the terracotta Telamons (the figures) in the tepidarium (warm room)

The famous house of the Faun

Examples of mosaics on columns (in National Museum of Archaeology in Naples) - up close they are fabulous!

Look at the carved huge stone blocks! - reminds me of masonry on Hadrian's Wall

Vesuvius - that world famous volcano

Vesuvius again

Our guided group - Mariano, the guide, is in white with his back to us

Looking out over one part of Pompeii (the oldest residential district - region VI - the part we saw)

Pompeii bike scheme map

Inscription on a Monument in The Street of the Tombs

Funerary Monument on the Street of the Tombs

The Street of the Tombs

Phallic symbol (built into walls, buildings, drains to bring good luck/ward off the evil eye)

Mosaic floor (I got obsessed by the different types of floor patterns)

The Macellum (see below)

The Macellum - a covered foodstuffs market area

Looking at the bottom of an oven in a house/villa

Inscription on edge of The Forum

Edge of The Forum

The Forum

The small or covered theatre (The Odeion)

The Gladiators' Barracks

The Great Theatre (open but could be covered with an awning)
Going through the photos and the books again as I add captions...I'm once more struck by how much is here. We have many more photos but it is hard to convey the impression of what is actually there. We saw many, many villas, streets, water tanks (on the edge of each sector/street), shops, bakeries, theatres, barracks, baths, signs, mosaics, huge artefacts, temples, the forum, the basilica (these last two - formed the centre of civilian life), shrines, latrines, ovens, city gates, arches, tombs, rude inscriptions, posh inscriptions and yes - a brothel (queues galore!) and so on...

We were, in fact, at Pompeii for one whole day - walking almost non stop for seven hours. I'm glad I was wearing boots. The streets are/were quite high as they allowed for all manner of rubbish to flow down the streets (including water) during Roman times - hence the stepping stones.

I had quick glimpses of things. Pompeii does need repeated visits to try to make sense of it all. It is enormous and is a city. No doubt about it. I wanted to go and see the amphitheatre but at the end of a very hot, sunny day...I knew that I could not make that. So we made do with the two theatres which are spectacular. There were many villas which I missed seeing. Lots of the baths were closed - for restoration and/or a much needed rest. Apparently about 2.5 million people visit Pompeii per annum (each year)...that figure does not surprise me in the slightest. There were plenty there the day we were there and it was 30 degrees in the shade.

It was busier in the morning and the crowds thinned out over the day. There were many guides there...each had their different styles. Some with umbrellas, sticks and so on. Some with microphones attached directly to sound systems which their group could listen to. Others had the site's own auto guided system (which most museums now have).

I was very amused by seeing a restaurant in the middle of the site. Apparently Bill Clinton ate there when the G7 visited. (A special garden outside the restaurant was created for that occasion.) Nevertheless after hours of walking, walking and sight seeing - it was much needed and did, indeed, sell delicious food amongst other things.

I enjoyed seeing it all. Furthermore the excitement of having seen it has still not faded. It just makes me want to investigate further and know even more about the Romans. It all helps me imagine in my head what Roman life must have been like although when I compared Pompeii to Herculaneum (which was covered by mud and not ash by the eruption of Vesuvius) in 79AD I'm convinced that Pompeii is much bigger and posher than Herculaneum. Each has its different points and contrasts. Each teaches us variations on a theme. There are at least two sets of photos that I want to put on this blog some time soon to demonstrate something.

Pompeii is worth a visit. If you can - read up about it beforehand. It's an assault on the senses - in the best possible way.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Good Pubs in North East England

Please see recent Telegraph review of pubs in the UK.

Ones of note (especially) in this part of Northumberland are:

The Feathers Inn - which has just won RSPCA award 2011 for the Best Pub and Best Gastropub in Britain and strangely not included in The Daily Telegraph Review of UK Pubs.
Carts Bog Inn
Lord Crewe Arms 

Will write more about pubs anon. Thought you might be interested in reading about these ones!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Mariano's Friends

Mariano, the guide, is wearing the white hat talking to our group

Looking inside the tomb

Vesuvius glowers in distance

Street plan of Pompeii - click here It shows you how massive the place is.

We went in via Porta Marina (main entrance) and bought our tickets. We waited for an English speaking guide who was collecting a group of us together - his name was 'Mariano' and we became thus ' Mariano's Friends'.

The place was massively busy. The train from Naples was absolutely packed out. It turned out that there was supposed to be a public strike that day (against the cuts) but, thankfully, it did not affect us.

Mariano took us through Pompeii through Quadrant VII (if you look at the street plan), through the forum and up into Quadrant VI up to the Vesuvian Gate (where the tomb of the potential gladiator

Caius Vestorio Prisco) is located. (Apologies about the change of font and text size - I'm using my laptop in another location and it has gone bananas!) Please try and click on his name as you will get the accompanying pictures and explanations with the tomb. We had to stand on stone pedestals to get the photos up top. 

My battery power is fading on the laptop. Enjoy the photos. Be back soon! Hadriana :-)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Trip to Pompeii and impressions of Naples

This is a typical shot of looking down a street in Pompeii. I got there - finally!!!!

The trip was a 10th Wedding Anniversary present to ourselves and the first time we'd managed to travel away without the children (who are now 8 and 5 years old) for more than a day or two. So in many senses - it was absolute bliss!

I have always wanted to go there and for some reason I never thought I would manage it. (I can't explain why....no logical reason...but it seems as it is literally lost in the mists of time.) So how does one actually get there?

We got a cheap and cheerful flight out of Liverpool to Naples. We'd booked to stay at a B&B in Naples so we would could get to The National Archeological Museum of Naples (official website is here) quite easily as well as visit Pompeii and Herculaneum. We also ended up visiting 'Underground Naples' as well.

Naples can seem intimidating as its reputation for crime goes before it. It is very busy but once we got there (there is a dedicated bus service from the airport - takes 20 minutes) it was all very lively and friendly. A tad chaotic maybe but exciting nonetheless. (We did not experience anything bad whatsoever and we were there three/four days.)

The city is covered in graffitti and covered in rubbish but looking beyond that the buildings are magnificent and the people are very friendly. Interestingly there is a Spanish feel to the place. It was under Spanish rule for a few hundred years so this all intrigues me. I would like to know more.

The weather was 30 degrees plus ( the same as the weather here at that point) but, as I hadn't set foot in Italy since 2008, it was very welcome to have the mixture of the sun, the people, the culture, the language, the cuisine, the architecture and just generally everything combined....I was in heaven!

(I'm going to push myself to post a photo each day with a comment. I'll try to give a flavour of Pompeii and Herculaneum. To be honest I am still digesting the two sites. They are pretty big and need repeated visits to fully understand both places. I'm also trying hard to get my business Hands-on-Latin up and running over the next few days/weeks at the same time. Time is not in great supply - as ever!)

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hello again! Mea culpa! My fault!

Sorry that I have not been blogging at all lately. Mea culpa! My fault!

I feel very guilty about neglecting my blogger friends. There are many reasons for not blogging. Not least that I have been on my travels....Bath, Circencester, Devon and Cornwall. Just now we've been to Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum.

I'm also trying to get my business well and truly up and running...so I've decided that if I cannot blog fully then I can at least try for a photo here per day and description......so fingers crossed!