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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.