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Up Pompeii

December 26th, 2013 (by Steve)

It shouldn’t be that difficult to catch a ferry. Turn up, get on the boat. Done. Somehow we managed to go to the wrong port in Patras though, then get a little confused about lots of things until we were finally on the correct ferry. Thank goodness the captain wasn’t as confused as us, as we might have ended up in Barry, Wales rather than Bari, Italy! We left Bertha to play hide and seek with the “big boys” whilst we settled down for the night, watching a beautiful sunset before taking advantage of a warm shower (a lovely treat after a few days of wild camping)

Bertha plays hide and seek on the ferry with the big boys

Don’t you love it when you fall asleep in one country and wake up in another? Probably only when you intend to travel to a different country… I guess in other instances it could be quite disturbing…?! In any case, when we woke, we were in Italy (well, Italian waters). After disembarking, we spent a while trying to explain to an immigration officer that the pile of coats in the back of Bertha was just that, and not some random stowaway. Eventually he bought the story (which is just as well!) and we were on our way to Pompei via an extremely beautiful scenic routine. We partially planned it that way, to avoid tolls, but some scenic bits were added bonuses, where our planned route became unsuitable for some reason. Bertha coped valiantly with the steep hills and we admired the Italian countryside, however the journey took a little longer than anticipated. It was dark by the time we arrived into Pompei (the modern city) full of passionate Italian drivers; the air full of the roaring engines of mopeds and the tooting of horns. Bertha sucked her sides in to squeeze through tiny gaps in traffic, guided by the able hand of Kiri at the wheel and we were glad to finally park up under orange trees at our campsite.

The following morning we jumped online to find out how close we were to the archaeological site of Pompeii. It turns out that we should have just looked out of our window; the entrance was literally 2 minutes away by foot. What followed was a bucket list day for Kiri (and probably for me too if I had drawn up a bucket list) as we explored the ancient city of Pompeii.

DSC_3234

It’s mindblowing to think that the streets that you walk through today would have been so similar nearly 2000 years ago when disaster struck. The sheer size and wealth of the city astounded me as well as the level of preservation. I’d (wrongly) pictured Pompeii to be more of a village, but in the 5 hours we were there, we couldn’t get around the whole city… and there’s more that still hasn’t been excavated! I think it’s fair to say that Kiri just loved everything about Pompeii; the level of preservation really helps you to imagine the human aspects of life there in Roman times. We both loved the visible indentations in the stone road surface from wheels that passed over it nearly 2000 years ago.

pompeii

It’s also fair to say that Kiri really appreciated the frescos and the vibrancy of the colours still remaining. The digital swatches that she took will, I’m sure, form the palate of any future home we have!

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Before leaving Pompei to head north for Christmas, I wanted to check out a faint whirring/grinding sound that I’ve been hearing since Meteora. In Bertha I mean, not in my joints! I say faint; Kiri can’t even hear it, so maybe I’m imagining things; after all, our fuel economy hasn’t altered in that time and there’s been nothing visibly wrong under the bonnet. So, I took the opportunity at the campsite to get under Bertha and have a good look (ooh, er missus… well, we were in Pompeii… had to get Frankie Howerd in there somewhere!). This is what I found:

gearbox

That’s the gearbox. And that’s oil on the outside. Now, as previously established, I may not know much about engines, but even I know that gearbox oil should be inside a gearbox. The second picture (on the right) is after I cleaned up the gearbox and we had driven for a day. We’re currently in the process of asking experts for opinions on it… but most responses are that we shouldn’t be too worried about it! Which is good news 🙂

Following Pompeii, we pootled up the toll road (we’ve learned our lesson!), stopping overnight at a couple of car parks with panoramic views on the way to our Christmas destination, near Orvieto.

Speaking of Christmas, may we wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmastime (sorry we didn’t get this post up before Christmas day!).


All posts about Greece,italy

Revelation on the Riviera

A tale of two cities…

A Christmas Oasis

Up Pompeii

Touring, not tourists

Simple life doesn’t mean easy life

On the shoulders of giants

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