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Vesuvius was just a pretty backdrop for Pompeii up until 79 AD when it started 🚬 and then 💥 BOOM!
💨 Gas, rock, and ash burst high into the air and lava spewed towards Pompeii at one and a half million tonnes per second! Yes, you read that right! 🌋
By the end of the day, thousands were dead—firstly, from the lava and flying rocks, but most suffocated from the ash that fell upon them, burying them and their beautiful city seven metres deep for nearly 2,000 years.
Vesuvius hadn't blown in 1800 years. They didn't even know it was a volcano—and they didn't even know what a volcano was!
Walking around the ruins, I felt a sense of disbelief that this actually happened. I was physically anxious at the thought of how terrified the people must have been, not understanding what was happening, gasping for air, covered in ash.
It was hard to see the excavated bodies, huddled together with their hands over their mouths.
I had always found the story a fascinating part of history, but I really thought I was only going to see a big pile of rubble and get an explanation from an archaeologist of what each ruin actually was. I was so very wrong.
Pompeii is largely intact apart from the roofs that collapsed under the weight of the ash. The main square, the houses, restaurants, bars, and Roman baths are all still there.
It's a large scale, sophisticated city with roads, zebra crossings, and beautiful houses and gardens. It's so perfectly preserved by the ash, protecting it from air and moisture.
A zebra crossing for foot traffic to avoid the not-so nice street sewerage "system."
I had actually stepped back in time. Streets deep in this city, it felt like time travel. Where else can you stroll freely through a 2,000-year-old city that hasn't been touched?!
My god it was unbelievable. The marble, the pots, the art, the bodies... 💀 incredible.
And it's there because of a horrible tragedy à la Mother Nature. Vesuvius you rotten bastard! Deceptively pretty, but will bury you.
It's the biggest volcano in Europe and... it's still active. With three million people living in close proximity, that makes it one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. 🌎
So what do I do with this terrifying knowledge... well, of course I GO CLIMB IT!
I'm in Italy. Italy is insane. I've become insane. I am Italy.
I was cool as a tasty Italian cucumber 🥒 until around 15 minutes from the summit. I stupidly (stupid, stupid, stupid!) looked down. 👀 There was the vast and crazy Naples in tiny little dots below us. I felt the air get thinner and the rocks get looser. I couldn't smell the 🍕 of Naples anymore.
The climb is steep and steaming. Every step my foot slides down through the ash, it's like an uncontrollable MJ* moonwalk.
I reached that point where I had to stop looking at the view and concentrate. Or alternatively, I could enjoy the view as I fall to my unpleasant and stifling hot death.
But again, I live to eat more pizza! Zeus likes me. I made it! I made it to the top. 💪
Steeper than a walk of shame in San Fran on a hungover Sunday!
We walk 360 degrees around the gaping summit. WHAT A HOLE!
Halfway around, we stopped at a little bar and had shots of Lemoncello. Yes, we're having shots of vodka on the top of an active volcano 😆✌️ and... I wasn't wearing ANY sunscreen. 😱
Burnt, drunk, and on the edge... of her active majesty. 🌋
You gotta GOTTA go to Italy!
*Great, now I have "Billie Jean is not my lover..." stuck in my head—YOU'RE WELCOME! 😊