They were going about their normal lives – eating, drinking, working… living.
And it was all over in an instant.
This is what draws me to the story of Pompeii. It is an entire civilization that was forgotten until somewhat recent history.
If there is one thing that sticks with me about the Pompeii Walks of Italy tour it’s that I had no clue that Pompeii was so BIG. As a kid, the picture resources were just so limited. Everything you could research about the subject were the same regurgitated pictures. I couldn’t crack open an encyclopedia (yes kids, books – before wikipedia we had to go to the library!) without seeing the same images. You can imagine my surprise and delight that there was just so much.
Incoming archaeological geek out.
One of the things that made me super excited was the small amphitheatre that held local productions during Pompeiian times. These guys were the master of acoustics playing with angles so that their voice carried all over with little or no effort. With a quick clap you could hear the echoing across the bleachers – almost exactly like the angles of the ruins of Tikal where a single clap echoed like a quetzal chirp and people could talk in normal tones to each other from the tops of temples.
Now tell me – how did they have the same technology when they were half a world apart?
IT IS FREAKING AWESOME. *MIND EXPLODE*
I have to admit it is a bit creepy to walk through the halls of an ancient city where its inhabitants were gone in an instant. You can almost imagine the chatter or squeals of local children.
The children left graffiti all over the place. Hell, everyone did. In one area a kid drew his favorite gladiator – and to show his “power” you can see a rather elongated… erm… powerstick? I just love hearing about the graffiti from young girls in love with the famous actors. Some things never change.
The bath houses were also quite impressive. With mood lighting and heated/cooled pools, these guys took their daily baths very seriously.
They are exquisitely decorated.
You do get to enjoy the company of two plaster copies of the gentlemen who perished there during their bath time. One even has a really creepy smile going on.
But the main attraction is the almost perfectly preserved brothel- something that was left out of the encyclopedias. Since Pompeii was a port town with international clientele, not everyone spoke Latin. To combat that, lovely paintings were established so that sailors could point out what they would like. Think pointing to the pics at your local burger fast food joint. Have it your way? (*cough* I couldn’t help myself.)
The most frightening thing about being in Pompeii is knowing that scientists expect it to happen again – they just don’t know when. They’re hoping they will be able to give sufficient notice in order to evacuate. Until then, people are continuing to build infrastructure around Vesuvius.
I guess that is one way to go out… with a bang? Or a kaboom?
Disclosure: We were guests of Walks of Italy however all opinions are our own.