Waking to a Limoncello headache after our sumptuous evening in Sorrento, Elysia and I get set to be the ultimate tourists for the day, heading through winding roads to the ancient town of Pompeii.
We can see Vesuvius looming above the low-lying clouds from our balcony and the many years of studying the events of 24th August 79 AD come flooding back to me (thanks to the teachings of Cassandra Morrison).
The day may have started like any other but the terror that followed has been frozen in time for tourists like us to see.
Recorded in detail by Pliny the Younger in a letter to Tacitus, the eruption of the still active Vesuvius took the life of his uncle, author and philospher Pliny the Elder, along with the entire town of Pompeii.
“Broad sheets of flame were lighting up many parts of Vesuvius; their light and brightness were the more vivid for the darkness of the night,” Pliny the Younger wrote.
The last recorded eruption of one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world took place in 1944 and plans have been ongoing to relocate the millions of people who still live in the eruption zone.
Larger than life lemons and stallholders promoting their oft-erotic wares, welcome us before we don headsets and brace ourselves for the 45- degree heat.
Having had a picture in my mind for so many years of what Pompeii would look like, I was surprised to find that I did have to venture into my imagination quite a bit to create a beautiful city of the ruins that were in front of me.
The site is actively refurbished and our group is taken on a journey through life as it was in 79 AD.
Crowds filled the ruins and the heat was palpable, but ticking Pompeii off my ever-growing bucket list was a dream come true – if only I could have experienced this with my high school ancient history class, then my dream may have been truly complete!
Heading back to the ship to dip in the refreshing cool of the pool, we prepare for a night of world class entertainment with Tara Lynn Khaler and John Ellis joining the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers for “Curtain Call” in the Galaxy Lounge.
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Words: Natalie Aroyan