Rome and Pompeii, 19th-22nd November 2005

Flights to Rome were very cheap at this time, so we took the opportunity to go there - somewhere we had both really been wanting to visit.

We spent the first day wandering around, looking at the architecture. It's quite amazing just how many interesting buuildings and monuments there actually are, on pretty much every street and corner. I'm afraid our snaps really don't do it much justice


There are obelisks everywhere.


Outside the Pantheon


The Four Rivers Fountain at Piazza Navona


The view from Castel Sant' Angelo to Saint Peter's Cathedral and the Vatican


Fontana di Trevi that evening


We went to a market the next morning, then wandered outside the city walls and back through this gate (Porta San Sebastiono, I think)


And on into the ruined Baths of Caracalla


Then on past the Arch of Constantine, to the Colosseum...


...which could really do with a bit of renovation


The Forum from Palatine Hill


The Arch of Titus


The original 4th century bronze doors to the Temple of Romulus. The porphyry columns on either side are made of a rare stone, worth more than its weight in gold. Of course, there is more of this porphyry used in the Vatican than anywhere else!


Statues of Vestal Virgins. The Christians smashed the heads off all but two of the statues - the two who converted to Christianity

The next morning we got up early and took the train to Naples, then to Pompeii. It was a long journey, and we wasted a couple of hours getting the wrong train from Naples (there are three lines which diverge, and only one goes to Pompeii). However, it was well worth it


Casts of those buried by the eruptions from Vesuvius. This rapid burial in dry ash is what preserved so many of the paintings so well


An intricate mosaic


Roman toilets


The horrific and deeply moving Garden of the Fugitives - all these people died in the eruption. Their casts seem to show them variously trying to flee, to shelter or to protect each other


Looking from the Garden to Vesuvius - quiet for the moment


Most of Pompeii is still buried under fields, as a walk around the perimiter reveals


Beware of the dog


Amazingly well preserved paintwork in the Villa of Mysteries


Temple of Jupiter

We got back to our hotel pretty late, and got up early the next morning for a tour of the Vatican

It really is an amazing place. The sheer decadence and volume of treasure and artwork that has been created, assembled, gifted and plundered to create it is incredible - the result of the spilling of vast amounts of sweat and blood


The sheer scale of Saint Peter's Cathedral is hard to grasp - and even harder to capture on camera!

We wandered around again that afternoon, and headed for home in the evening


Jen got a snap of these swarming birds as we neared the station. One of them crapped on me, of course...