Exploring Rome had become quite a draining task, so we were happy to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. We hopped on to the Metro and headed over to the Termini station, Rome’s main train station. During our search for the right ticket machine, I had unknowingly been pulled along by someone who I thought was a train station employee. It turns out, she was a pickpocket trying to steal my money. Thankfully a man walking by heeded a warning to me, and I realized my stupid actions and promptly walked away. I found my friends once again, and we finally got the right tickets. But the harassment did not stop there. Once on the train, a group of creepy men decided to sit in front of us and endlessly pester us. After a long day in Rome the previous day, we wanted to sleep on the train, but they just would not shut up. We held our tongues and gave them dirty looks until we were able to transfer over to the our next train. Thankfully, we did not have any creepers on the next train, and we got to Pompeii safely.
If you read my previous post, you know that I visited Italy a while ago with my family. Seeing Pompeii this time was a completely different experience. It was amazing to see this ancient city and witness the power of Mt. Vesuvius. If you’re not familiar with the history, Pompeii was a huge city that was completely covered by ash and pumice when a nearby volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, erupted. The entire city was preserved for thousands of years because the ash and pumice did not allow for water and air to destroy the ruins. The most interesting part, in my opinion, is that excavators found spaces in the hardened ash in the shape of human bodies. It turns out that many of the citizens of Pompeii had been sealed in the ashes, and their remains have long since decayed. What was left behind were glimpses into the last moments of their lives. They filled in these voids with plaster, and the figures are on display throughout the city.
Sadly, we only had a few hours to explore both Pompeii and Naples, so we headed over to Naples after we saw a few of the bodies. We were all under the impression that Naples was a coastal city, but we got off the train and found ourselves nowhere near the water. It turns out that the nearest “beach” required us to take another thirty minute metro ride. We sadly had to buy another train ticket and hoped that it would be worth it given that the last train back to Rome left in a few hours. In my opinion, it was not worth it. We found ourselves in a dirty looking part of town, with little to do. There were no sandy beaches, only a small rocky boardwalk, and it was starting to get dark. We walked along the boardwalk and took pictures and then found ourselves the closest pizza joint and gelato place. After our meal, we headed back to the metro station where we thought there would be a metro every few minutes.
Unfortunately that was not the case. We had to wait another thirty minutes for the metro, cutting it very close for our connecting train back to Rome. I am pretty sure that it was the last metro of the day, because there were all types of strange people on there. It was completely jam packed, and we were stared at by almost every single guy on board. There was one man in particular who I believed to be homeless and sick. He was coughing up a storm and vomiting into his hands right behind us. I soon noticed that he was staring at us in a particularly strange manner, and then he proceeded to move to the seat right next to where we were standing. We moved away as quickly as we could, scared that he might attack us or take our bags. Soon after, he walked behind us and grabbed my friend’s butt before exiting the tram. I have never taken such a scary metro ride in my life. Thankfully, there were five of us, and we stuck together. (I guess girls do move in packs)
However, our problems did not stop there. Since we had to wait so long for the metro, we were cutting it very close for our next train back to Rome. As soon as the metro halted at our stop, we jumped off and flew through the station. I have never been good at running (13 minute mile anyone?), but I think I could have set a top record that night. We flew up stairs and through hallways until we got to our train terminal and found our train just leaving the terminal. We had just missed the last train to Rome Termini for that night.
Dejected and fatigued, we trudged back to the ticket office to see if there were any more trains that we could take. Thankfully, I had made friends with one of the ticket tellers when I was asking for directions to the beach, so he was extremely nice and helpful. There were no more trains to Rome Termini that night, but there was one last train to a nearby station. The ticket teller let us use the balance of our missed tickets towards another train ticket, so we only had to pay around 15 more euros. He told us that we would be able to take the metro from this station to the Termini station, and then from there, we could commute back to our apartment. We had a much needed treat when we found that we had our own private cabin in the train (Harry Potter style). We all immediately fell asleep for the next three hours and woke up ready for our commute back to our apartment.
But wait! Let’s just add one more problem. It was midnight, and this Metro line had closed for the night, and we had no idea where we were. We asked a nearby security guard how we could get to the Termini station, and he led us on a wild goose chase to find a bus that I am pretty sure did not exist. After waiting thirty more minutes for that bus, we were done. Despite the extremely high taxi fees, we decided that we deserved it, and we set out on a search to find a taxi driver that would let all five of us on at a time. We finally found one, and we took the ten minute drive to the Termini station. Then finally, we were able to commute an hour back to our apartment where we slept a few short hours before we had to be up again for the next part of our trip.