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Assisi and Pompeii

sunny 29 °C
View Italy and Greece on Julie's blog's travel map.

The list of things I've lost on this holiday is growing - the latest addition is my notebook ... not a major, but disappointing as I had notes in it to transfer into my blog. Changing hotels every day or second day certainly has it's challenges.

Assisi is a really special place, and our visit was even more special because Pope Francis was visiting at the same time. We missed seeing him by twenty minutes, but we did manage to see his white helicopter flying overhead, and that in itself was pretty exciting. It's an exceptionally well preserved and presented medieval town, most famous for being the birthplace of St Francis.

The Basilica of St Francis was out of bounds due to the Pope's visit, but we did manage to get some photos of it as we drove up the hill to Assisi itself.

As we've travelled through Italy, I've been interested to see only two sheep farms, and not a single dairy farm. The country is covered in vineyards, olive groves and market gardens (tobacco, sunflowers and tomatoes were three significant crops I saw).

It's considered good luck in Italy when you see a sheep to wave to it and say 'ciao' - I couldn't quite bring myself to do that one - Ursula (our tour director) was very keen on it though - it made me laugh.

I was really looking forward to going to Pompeii, I've heard so much about it - and it was really amazing to see. We had a local guide escort us around, and tell us the story of the city. Again there were HUGE numbers of tourists trying to see the same things as us at the same time. It's really exhausting trying to deal with so many people in such big crowds all the time... and it makes taking photos really difficult. I think because I'm new to travelling, the rudeness of people has been quite shocking for me. I can't count the times people have elbowed their way in front of me, or squeezed me off a path so they can get through. There was an altercation between a Frenchman and someone in our group - over pushing in... it really is quite bad (the French are particularly bad for it we've found).

I saw three plaster casts of bodies found at Pompeii, one of a child, one of a man and one of a dog. Even though they were plaster casts, I was moved to see them. It really bought home to me the magnitude of the 79AD eruption of Vesuvius.

Next stop Sorrento...

Posted by Julie's blog 09:34 Archived in Italy

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