Day 1: Sunday
On the first day of our trip we visited the fascinating site of Mount Vesuvius and the amazing ruins of Pompeii. To reach the summit we travelled by bus along a very bumpy road next to a sheer drop. Miss Leigh explained the tectonic processes taking place and pointed out the different features of the volcano such as the crater, ash and lava deposits and fumeroles. We also observed the equipment used to monitor the any seismic or volcanic activity. In the afternoon we travelled a short distance to Pompeii, a Roman tourist resort which was destroyed in the eruption of 79AD. We witnessed the Roman way of life in the buildings preserved by the ash that buried the city and even saw the remains of bodies excavated from the site.
Day 2: Monday
The second day started with a bus ride along the spectacular Amalfi coast. We arrived in Positano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and were joined by a local guide called Lucy. We descended the steep cliffs into the town and spent a short time walking through the narrow streets. We sampled the local lemon slush and then began a walk through the mountains using the natural limestone steps. We tasted the wild rocket and Italian flags (small, spikey strawberry-like fruit) that grew on our path and listened to Lucy explain the impacts of Greek rule in the area, for example the tales of the mythological Sirens that occupied the island of Ischia, visible from the mountain top. We headed back to Sorrento later in the day and visited a local gelateur. Back at the hotel, many of us chose to go swimming in what can only be described as the coldest pool ever!
Day 3: Tuesday
On the third day, we travelled across Naples (an experience in itself!) to explore Solfatara, a volcanic caldera, and Herculaneum, an ancient city which was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Solfatara was brilliant as you could get close to the steam evaporating from underneath the Earth’s surface, which showed how active the Volcano was and how hot the magma was underneath where we were standing, and it was definitely worth the eggy smell of the sulphur coming from underground! At Herculaneum, we saw the amazingly preserved ruins of an ancient Roman seaside town, complete with paintings and work. It was great to see how the super-rich Romans lived. In the evening, we went into Sorrento for some lemon-related souvenir shopping and for one last pizza before travelling home.