I decided to go to Herculaneum instead of the much more popular Pompeii because less popular means less people. Also, the tourist info said it had much more shade from the intense sun. The plan was to get up early and go in when the ticket gate opened to get the maximum sun avoidance but my own laziness and dithering meant that didn't happen.
I got to the train station - which was a feat in itself since you don't catch the train from the main part of the station but some other bit (I think it's a private line) and had a massive line to buy tickets. When I got to the platform, according to the board, the train been due about an hour before I got there! Aha, so that's what they mean about Italian trains.
Do not use the English name, Herculaneum, but the Italian one, Ercolano, or the dude won't sell you a ticket. Even if he knows exactly what you mean.
I didn't realise until I got there that, unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum is just buildings. There are no preserved people on display. That was disappointing. I did get to see some skulls though.
Also, I had a guide map explaining the sites using a numbering system. I didn't realise until I got halfway around that there were TWO numbering systems! I think one for the audio guide and one for the paper map. WTF! So everything I'd learned was a lie. I did think that the explanations were weird.
I did get to see lots of interesting ancient stuff and the site does make it easy to get an idea of life in Ancient Roman times as well as the scale of the volcanic eruption that destroyed the town. Because the site is near the beach, a lot of people ran for the ocean,thinking that would save them but couldn't make it in time.
When I was a kid, I always feared volcanic eruptions and not being able to escape from them - even though I lived in Australia and we have no volcanoes!
It was insanely hot though and, by the time I finished walking around, I had a very bad stomach. It took me a while to get that sorted. I'm sure you don't want the details.
I headed back to the station and decided to stop for lunch. Most of the places near the site are very touristy. How bad can they be? I thought. Let me tell you, bad restaurants in Italy are really bad.
I ordered a Caprese salad, thinking that couldn't go wrong. Oh boy, did it ever go wrong! Unripe, tasteless tomatoes with a hunk of cheese in the middle of the plate wrong.
|Worst salad ever|
Then, halfway through eating, the waitress came over and asked me to move tables so they could fit in a larger group. I should've told her to fuck off but I was kinda shocked that she even asked. She moved my food inside to a table already occupied by a guy on his own. Fuck you, shitty tourist place.
After a lot more dithering - I have no idea what I do on holidays but I really lose huge chunks of time - I decided to walk to the ferry place and head out to one of the islands. I wasn't really struck on Capri but it was the next ferry leaving.
I thought I had 10 minutes until I had to catch the ferry but I got confused and it was actually an hour and 10 minutes. Oops. Then I got to the island and found out I had less than an hour before I had to catch the last ferry back to Naples. I think there was one other but that meant spending about 4 hours on the island. It'd already bought a beer that cost about $200 so I figured I couldn't afford to spend much time on Capri.
Not that it mattered because the ferry ride was much better than the actual island. Maybe there are some nice parts but it seemed like Capri was just full of annoying rich people with really noisy, badly behaved children. I'd have probably killed someone if I'd stayed much longer.
The best thing on Capri was the funicular that takes you up the hill to see the view. It's really fun as it clunks its way up.
On the way back down, I'd seen a girl have a massive fight with her boyfriend (or maybe father, he was a lot older than her) and storm off. Then later she got on the funicular and sat beside me and kept sobbing. That was a lot less fun and kinda awkward.
I didn't do any of the really touristy Capri stuff like go to the Blue Grotto because it costs a fortune and apparently you have to get on a tiny boat (I hate tiny boats) and sail out then wait in a boat queue for like an hour until you get your 5 minutes in the cave. Screw that shit.
I did have heart attacks that I'd not get back to the ferry place in time to get the last ferry back. I didnt have that much cash on me either (due to the $200 beer) so headed back to the port area and hung out. It had a pretty nice view anyway.
On the ferry on the way back, I stood outside and enjoyed the cold ocean breeze. Being cold is awesome. Capri is much nicer from the sea than it is when you are there. I watched the sunset from the deck of the boat then the lights of the coast around Naples as we came back to land.
Fireworks went off over Naples, not high enough to be obvious in the night sky. I looked around and realised no one else had even seen them and it'd been my own secret fireworks display.