There are 3 entrances into Pompeii. One at the House of Mysteries outside of the Herculaneum Gate, one off of the Marine Gate, and one near the old stadium. I entered through the later. The entrance fee was €11 for a one day pass or €20 for a 3 day pass. Upon entry they provide a map that is pretty cryptic. There are numbers of different sizes and colors, each relating to a separate key. It was only by miracle and sheer determination that I was able keep track of where I was at any given time. The site is pretty massive, and there is so much to see. I thought they had moved most of the precious mosaics and frescos to the museum in Naples or around the country, but there was much still intact, still brightly colored and brilliant. In my two days I walked every inch of the city that wasn't blocked off, and some of the places that were. I saw all of the most well preseved homes, each of the 5 gates, the forum and temples, a brothel, the bath house, and stadium. There were a lot of people around, but I never felt crowded, and there were even times I found myself on some street completely alone. During those times I would jump or climb through a flimsy barrier and explore further into the ruins. I didn't defile anything by any means, I didn't touch priceless frescos or climb the ruins, I just walked, relishing the quiet and trying to put myself in the footsteps of those who came before me, both the residents of this place in 79AD and the archeologists who discovered and unearthed these ruins centuries later; what an exciting experience that must have been!
Being in this place makes it a little easier to imagine the lives that these people led, the homes they lived in, the temples they worshiped in, the businesses they ran, and politicians they supported. The streets are still grooved from the wheels of wooden carts now decayed and gone, and the crossing stones and narrow sidewalks are worn from the footfall of a people long forgotten. Political graffiti can still be seen on the walls of residences and store fronts alike, though it is beginning to fade. I imagine that one day this will all fade, and Pompeii will cease to exist, a portal into the past closed forever. To imagine that such a thriving community could just vanish in span of a day is almost beyond comprehension. Now seeing how fragile it is it is not hard to believe that this site could a will eventually be lost to us forever. I am really happy to have made it here, while it is still vivid and real. I hope I succeed in bringing this world back to life through my story (see perivious post if you have no idea what I am talking about).
There is not much more to write, which seems strange, considering I tend to be so long winded on everything else I've done throughout my trip, but I think the story of my journey back in time would be better told through some pictures. Expect my book to hit the shelves by 2015. (I hope!)