I took a day trip to Herculaneum today, which is the nearest city from which to climb Mt. Vesuvius. This is a bit of a research trip but has also been on my bucket list so I was pretty psyched about it. I got a bit of a late start on my day, so I didn't get a chance to really explore around the ruins of Herculaneum, another city fatefully destroyed by the eruption on 79AD, but I did get some nice areal shots of the town which unlike Pompeii, has still retained many of its 2nd stories. In many ways it is actually better preserved then Pompeii. After my short visit to the ruins I boarded a bus for about €10 to Vesuvius. I would have preferred to hike the whole thing, but it's not really possible. Instead you take a bus up to a certain point and then hike along a pumice-stoned path roughly 25 minutes up to the crater. The hike was not all that difficult aside from the heat and the total lack of shade. When I got to the top however I was pretty disappointed with what I found. No smoke, no lava, no fissures or activity of any kind. Just a great hole that you can see right to the bottom of. The whole experience is very touristy and there are souvenir shops set up all along the rim of the crater. I'm writing this off as purely a research trip and it was interesting to note some of the vegetation along the slopes which I am sure is similar to what was growing on the sides of the mountain before the eruption centuries ago. I'm sure there is something here to use when describing the scene in my story.