A Message To Mrs Mace… Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, Italy

When I first started planning a visit to Italy I actually found myself a little bored by the whole concept. Why? I don’t honestly know. As you will see by the next couple of posts I had the time of my life in Italy.
I arrived in Naples so early that the metro office wasn’t even open. However the early arrival meant that I had the whole day to take greasy looking selfies wherever the hell I wanted. Instead of spending that day in the city of Naples risking inevitable muggage of my valuables, I filled up on coffee and cereal at the hostel and caught the train to the historic site of Pompeii.
Enter Mrs Mace. Mrs Mace was my high school Latin teacher. It was standing here amongst ruins that I realised she was my favourite teacher… ever. Even when I was probably definitely the most hopeless student in her class, she never gave up and pushed me to pass my exams. With no less than a B, I might add.
Seven years after GCSEs, I wish I had tried harder, because Latin was probably the most fascinating subject I ever had the chance to learn. With this in mind, I jumped at the chance to revisit everything I might have picked up at school. I grabbed my map, I grabbed my discounted entry ticket (pros of being a European passport holder) and I set out to look for penis markings in the ancient streets of Pompeii.
Getting lost in Pompeii
I see you baby…

Pots of Pompeii
Not just a a few rocks…
And then I shot the “Zoe est in…” series. 
Zoe est in Caecilius’ domo
YES! I have finally made my pilgrimage to Caecilius’ house. After years of reading about Caecilius in school text books I felt it was a momentous occasion for me.

Zoe est in templum
A little while before reaching the temple I was eaten alive by a grumpy flying ant that had got caught in my t-shirt. Take insect repellent with you… and so much water. As my face says… it’s HOT HOT HOT!

Zoe est in theatrum
Always find a friendly German photographer to take pictures of you in ruins.

Zoe est in lupanari
My favourite building by far was the brothel. There was big queue going in but I was in no rush. I waited outside for it to dissipate and then I headed inside to see what all the fuss was about. I took one look at the hard rock bed and wondered how this particular brothel was ever popular. It just didn’t look comfortable or inviting at all. Of course, I had forgotten that the whole place was covered in a layer of lava and ash. Kinda explains the cave look.
After my shenanigans at the brothel I found this not so little lady wandering about. I sat for a while sharing my water with her…
And then my camera died.
After a pretty full on day exploring a whole new city, and realising that I really hated being without my camera, I went “home.” Unfortunately, I had been lumbered with the top bunk… and bottom bunk was an Australian guy, hitting on an extroverted American girl from a different bottom bunk. By extroverted… I mean she spent half an hour doing revealing yoga poses in a t-shirt and very tiny knickers. Basically… I got a whole face full of fanny.
The next day I woke up and I was torn. Do I make my way to the crater of Vesuvius, or do I take my Skype interview and then amble over to Rome at a leisurely pace?
Vesuvius won.
The climb to the top of Vesuvius
I caught the same train as the day before but I got off at Herculaneum, which was where the bus tour for Vesuvius left from. I’m not really one for tours but I figured the top of a volcano looks the same to everyone regardless of how they got there. Fortunately, the tour wasn’t exactly a “tour.” We weren’t forced to listen to an endless, boring script explaining rock formations in the most monotone of voices, and we were given a full hour at the crater to drink wine and annoy other tours with our general loudness.
The rewards
I met a wonderful American couple who took me under their wing and welcomed me to stand with them and marvel at the steaming rocks. As they pressed on (being the athletes that they were) I plodded around the crater slowly. I stopped a few times to take pictures of another solo traveller on her own camera… and I realised that this was probably the least lonely I have ever felt, despite being completely alone and at the top of a volcano.
Crater selfie
The walk back down the volcano was considerably easy compared to walking up it and we yelled encouragement at those ascending the steep climb alongside us whilst discussing the rights and wrongs of not voting (which I don’t by the way).
Mount Vesuvius + bipolar weather
And this concludes my message to Mrs Mace! If anyone ever sees her anymore, please could you let her know that one of her students made it to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. Oh, and tell her I loved it.
Later that day I cocked up royally whilst trying to catch a train to Rome. Stay tuned for the story of how I was confused for a hooker, was harassed by sock merchants and how I missed my train even after sitting on it for forty minutes prior to it’s departure.
Categories europe, italy

1 thought on “A Message To Mrs Mace… Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, Italy

  1. What a great post! So was Caecilius in tablino? What about Grumio? Was he cooking in the kitchen? I really enjoyed this post and it brought back some happy memories of my old Latin teacher, who sadly died quite recently. Yes, yes, one day I will have to go to Pompeii and Vesuvius. At the moment we are still in China, but next week I am leaving the Middle Kingdom and returning to our home in Bulgaria. You can read about my misadventures on my blog, http://www.bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com


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