Holiday at Hotel Alpha, Sant'Agnello, near Sorrento.
Friday 24th June - Friday 8th July 2011
Home Sorrento Day 1 - 4 Day 8 - 10 Day 11 - 15 Herculaneum Pompeii Villas
Day 5 - Tuesday 28th June
Today we visited Herculaneum Roman Town. Herculaneum was destroyed at the same time as Pompeii, in the eruption of 79AD. However, the fate of the town was to covered with hot volcanic mud. Later a new town, called Resina, was built above the old town and the old town was forgotten. Discovery started about 1709 when someone was digging a well and came down on top of the theatre. Excavation started much later and was spasmodic. Now, there is a new visitor centre and ticket office and more of the town has been excavated. The fate of some of the inhabitants has been discovered in recent years - they were sheltering in a warehouse on the seafront when the pyroclastic cloud of hot gas suffocated them. They were also covered in ash or dust from the cloud. We had free entry to the site (as EU citizens over 65) and started exploring at the ancient beach area. There were lots of buildings to explore and we made a logical procession around the streets exploring as many buildings as we could. We had a picnic lunch outside the site, sitting on a wall under some trees. We returned to Sant'Agnello on the train. See page for Herculaneum.
Day 6 - Wednesday 29th June
Today was a rest day. We walked into Sorrento, found a cafe for coffee in the centre of town, explored some shops without buying much and then went into the cathedral. It was much better decorated than expected, there being marble everywhere and paintings. Later we bought postcards and ice creams. After lunch we shopped for fruit and water and then caught the train back to Sant'Agnello. After dinner there was live music on the terrace from singer plus keyboard and a guitar accompanist. We stayed inside the lounge bar to escape the midges.
Day 7 - Thursday 30th June
We went to Pompeii by train and were in the site by 9.30am. Again, we had free entry. There were large crowds all day with many guided tours clogging the place. But we managed to work our way around the site fairly logically. In the eruption of 79AD Pompeii had been covered by volcanic ash and dust. The inhabitants who had not escaped to a safe distance were engulfed by the pyroclastic cloud and when excavation started their skeletons were discovered. It was found possible to pour plaster of paris into the hollows where their bodies had lain and decomposed. The resulting casts showed the persons posture when they died. Even mules were found in various places - bakeries where they were used to turn corn grinders. Several of the houses or buildings that we saw last time were closed this time for various reasons. Altogether, it was most interesting, although hot and dusty. See page for Pompeii.
We returned to the hotel at about 5.00pm. Thursday night was Gala Dinner night. A fixed menu with much theatricals - parading the supposed haunch of veal (actually a pile of veal slices surrounded by candles in foil decorations) and later bring in the desert as three large conical cakes with sparklers in the top. The cake inside was in the three colours of the Italian flag. It was all a bit of fun.
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