Climbing Active Explosive Volcanoes - Day 44

Naples Travel Blog

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The morning of Friday, September 5, the ship docked in Naples at about 7:30 in the morning. We had decided this day to do one of the guided 'excursions' our cruise offers, to Mt. Vesuvius. We got up early for our usual light breakfast of croissants and coffee and then checked in at the meeting point fro the excursion. From here we were escorted to a bus, and then were driven up the mountain while being educated about the area by our guide, Sasa. Lucky for him, the tour participants were only English and German speakers, so he only had to repeat everything twice in the two languages. Mt. Vesuvius is famous for its eruption in 79 A.D., which utterly destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Today, it is still an active volcano but hasn't erupted since 1944, which is a longer dormancy than usual. Being an 'Explosive' volcano, the longer the time between eruptions, the more dangerous it is. Despite this, the bay of Naples area has grown to a population of 3 million people, and they are all holding their breath. Growing up in Minnesota, we had tornado drills in school. I suppose thy have volcano drills here.

Anyways, we were driven to a point halfway up the mountain and then we got off to hike. The path was wide and paved with gravel, so not exactly rough terrain, but the climb was quite steep. At various spots Sasa would gather us and talk about something interesting, and we were able to catch our breath before continuing on. Eventually we reached the rim of the HUGE caldera, and we could look down into this massive crater. I have never climbed a volcano before, and it truly was an impressive sight. The only hint of life to Vesuvius was a tiny bit of steam issuing forth from an outcrop of rocks inside the caldera. After contuining along the path to halfway around the rim of the crater, we bought some postcards, rested a bit, and then headed back down.

Our bus then brought us to a shop where Cameos are made. This art form of carving marine shells into various items, often jewelry or other things, is a Napolese tradition. Beautiful things.

After being driven back to the ship, we still had 4 hours or so remaining before the ship set sail. However, we were tired and hot, so we climbed aboard. We speculated that this might be a good time to use the pool, as many passengers would be on land. So we swam for a while and then laid out in the sun (Eli has a horrible farmer's tan going at this point, which really needs to be addressed). Later was dinner, then to bed.


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photo by: spocklogic