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Monday, February 22, 2016

Naples - Saturday We Hiked To The Top Of Mt Vesuvius

From our hotel roof - we could see clouds and rain on the mountain

We made it to the caldera - about 15 degrees colder on top.

Saturday morning we woke up to clouds and a little rain. Surely - it looked like no one was going to make the effort to hike up the famous volcano. We took the subway to the main railroad station - hoping to catch the Circumvesuvio Train to Pompeii. 16 years ago with took this train to Pompeii - Herculaneum - and Sorrento - but during the whole trip it never circled the mountain. This time indeed - the train started to circle the mountain in a clockwise direction. We accidentally caught the Santo train instead of the Sorrento train - and it took us about 2 hours to get to Pompeii - going the long way. Usually it takes around 30 minutes. Anyway - we did "circum" Vesuvius and saw the mountain from 360 degrees. 

By the time we got to Pompeii - the rain  and clouds cleared - and we had clear blue skies. We got a cab - and he took us about 2/3 the way up the mountain. The road ended and a very steep gravel path began. It was about 55 degrees at the bottom of the mountain - by the time we huffed and puffed to the top it was about 40 degree. Lulu was well dressed - I wasn't. But we got to look down into the smokey crater - the sulfur smell made us feel like we were at the gates of hell.

The mountain last erupted in 1944 - but it has been giving off smoke and steam ever since. The mountain is long past due according to its eruption cycle. We had paid the cab driver in advance - so we were happy when he was waiting for us. When we got back to the train station - we took the Napoli train and were back to our hotel in 40 minutes. 

Mt Vesuvius is considered the most dangerous volcano in the world - mainly because there are 3 million people - living encircling its base. When we circled the mountain we stopped at town after town of residents conducting their day to day life with this Sword of Damocles hanging over their head. During the 79 AD eruption - 16,000 people were killed by the hot gases running down the mountain. By the time the ash and cinders got there - the people we all dead. 

Smoke and steam are constantly coming out - but it has
not erupted in 72 years.
Theta caved in forming a caldera

Naples - 3 million people working ann playing in the shadow. 

Toy volcanoes at the top of the mountain -
Lulu bought a book.

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