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Pompeii...Buried Alive!

April 04, 2008

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Mozart has always been fascinated by Pompeii since she read a book about it
several years ago with that exact title, “Pompeii....Buried Alive!” Not exactly
a title one would expect for a young child's book, but apparently a story that
attracts some, like my Mozart, who seem drawn to the bizarre in history. She
really is such a girly girl in so many ways, thus her interest in things like
Pompeii and gladiators, always seems a little incongruous.

We really saw so very much this year, especially sites dealing with ancient
civilizations, consequently we were feeling full and ready to get back to our
home away from home in Spain. We had done about twenty years worth in the
last seven months  and needed time to assimilate all that we had learned.
We had almost run out of steam and were tempted to skip it, but we knew
if we did not see Pompeii now, that we might not get back and it certainly
belonged on an ancient civilizations tour.

November turned out to be a fantastic time to go and we had warm, sunny
weather without the crowds or chaos. We are so glad that we went because
Pompeii is a spectacular and stunning site that is like no where else in the
world. If it wasn't for Mozart’s education, we might never have seen many of
the sights we visited this year and that would have been a great loss as we all
gained so much through the experience. It is funny, how following your child's
lead can be as rewarding for the parents as it is for the child. I love how home
schooling this way enriches the whole family.

Camping with a motorhome is a great way to see Pompeii, probably the best way.
There are three large campsites within walking distance to the ruins (and railway
station) and they are open all year. Since it was a holiday, it was quite full with
mostly Italians, which surprised us this late in the season, but once the holiday
ended it cleared out. We stayed at Camping Sparacus (sparacuscamping@tin.net)
as it was family run and most recommended.

The one thing that I really did not like about Pompeii is the stray wild dogs that are
every where and it kind of has a dirty, run down feel to it. The dogs did not seem
aggressive, but they did bark a lot and just felt unsafe. When I was a young child, I
was pushed into a cage of a mean, sleeping German Shepherd dog that bit me in the
chest, so I have a certain amount of fear around strange dogs. There were a few
times that packs of dogs around Pomeii made me feel very uncomfortable, although
I got through it by just hanging on to DaVinci and keeping Mozart close at all times.

There was an interesting section of Pompeii that had information about some of the
plants that they had at that time and how they were used. As gardeners we really
enjoyed that and the beautiful plants that were made into a garden in a section
of the ruins.

There are lots of good resources online about Pompeii if you want to know more.
Here is one that has lots of links to others including the BBC:
http://rome.mrdonn.org/pompeii.html
We also liked this one by the discovery channel:
http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/pompeii/pompeii.html

There is also a podcast for kids about Pompeii by San Diego Natural History
Museum on itunes:
phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=274087831-62k-

When we were there we bought a great book with a DVD (ISBN 978-88-95512-23-5)
at one of the stores. What is particularly nice about it is it has various pictures with
the ruins and then a dye cut fold-over that lets you see in a 3D way, what Pompeii
looked liked in its prime. This was particularly helpful for a child, but we all really
liked it and found it a great help in visualizing that reality. The details help one
realize what a sophisticated life the wealthy lived. It will be a great keepsake to
remember our visit to this very special place and for continuing study and
contemplation for years to come.

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Catherine

I too have lived through a dog attack and stray dogs make me a little bit nervous. I read a tip once about dealing with travel in areas with aggressive stray dogs. If a stray dog approaches and you are worried, bend down to the ground as if picking up a rock to throw at it. I only had to try this once here in Tunisia and it worked like a charm. I didn't actually throw the rock! But less soft-hearted people had apparently taught the dog its lesson and it ran away with its tail between its legs. Happy travels :)

rv camping

quite right, as the real fun to watch these pompeii is in rv camping, as one has the choice to run fast, if he or she got scard.

rv parks

good idea to see these pompeii while doing the rv camping, as it likes "to kill two birds with one stone".

Angela

Thanks for this virtual tour, how many memories. I've been to Pompeii only once and it impressed me so much that I can't wait to go back. In fact, I have visited half of the ancient city, just delving into every single detail and house and sign, I was enchanted, it felt like stepping back in time. So now I "have" to go back and visit the second part!

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