A week or two after returning from Riga there had been a very minor snow fall over the south of England, certainly no more than a flake or two, but predictably this had resulted in total travel chaos and the motorways and the airports had been brought to a ridiculous standstill. I had contrasted this with the heavy snowfall in Riga on the day that we arrived that had been dealt with quickly, efficiently and caused no disruption to transport arrangements at all.
Tag Archives: Roman Empire
Pompeii, along with nearby Herculaneum, was completely buried and destroyed, during a catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius over two days beginning on 24th August 79.
The volcano buried the City under a layer of ash and pumice many metres deep and it was lost for nearly one thousand seven hundred years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided a detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire and which at the time of the eruption is estimated to have had approximately twenty thousand inhabitants and was located in an area in which many wealthy Romans had their holiday villas.
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.” Gladiator (2000)
It was about a two hundred and fifty kilometre drive to Rome which took just over three hours and with a full day to pack in the coach picked us up before breakfast so we collected food parcels and set of for the Italian capital, which is the third most visited European city after London and Paris. The coach took the road towards Naples and then swung around the base of Vesuvius and picked up the A1 Autostrada that runs all the way from Naples to Rome and then on to Milan.
“Pompeii is no longer a buried city. It is a city of hundreds and hundreds of roofless houses, and a tangled maze of streets where one could easily get lost, without a guide, and have to sleep in some ghostly palace that had known no living tenant since that awful November night of eighteen centuries ago.” Mark Twain – The Innocents Abroad
The next day we were back on the road, this time with a trip to the ancient city of Pompeii so after breakfast and picking up our lovingly prepared packed lunches in their brown paper bags we waited for the coach to arrive to drive us there.
Tuesday was my 22nd birthday so after opening birthday cards, including the one from Linda, which included a note in which she seemed to suggest she had been a bit hasty in running off with the journalist, we reported for breakfast in the restaurant. We were disappointed to find that the weather was a bit of a let down this morning and a mist obscured all of the Bay of Naples. This was a shame because today we were going on a short sea trip to the nearby island of Capri.
We walked through the centre of Diocletian’s Palace, which is the middle of the old city of Split where all the most important historical buildings of the city are to be found.
The Palace is important as a historical monument because it has survived pretty much intact and is remarkable for the diversity of its buildings, which include an octagonal domed mausoleum, a rectangular Temple of Jupiter, a cruciform lower level of the Vestibule, and circular temples to Cybele and Venus.
In the morning it had stopped raining but it was one of those days when it was only a matter of time before it started again and judging by the clouds accumulating over the island of Brač just a few kilometres away in the Adriatic Sea we probably wouldn’t have too long to wait.
It stayed fine long enough to have an excellent Pink Inn breakfast outside on the terrace and where Iveska explained that there had been a heat wave during the previous week but the forecast for the next few days wasn’t very thrilling and we cursed our luck for getting our timing wrong.
The amphitheatre at Pula in Croatia is the sixth largest in the world and one of the best-preserved examples of its kind. The Colosseum in Rome was of course the biggest Roman Amphitheatre and could seat a massive fifty thousand spectators, the second largest was Capua, also in Italy but now sadly in ruin, which was only slightly smaller, and the third was in El Djem in Tunisia with a capacity of thirty-five thousand.
A great cavalry soldier needed a great noble steed and El Cid’s warhorse was a white stallion called Babieca who was his faithful companion throughout his many campaigns, battles and military victories.
When the young Rodrigo Díaz de Bivar came of age, his godfather, a Carthusian monk called Pedro El Grande, granted him as a gift the pick of a herd of stately Andalusian horses. Rodrigo entered the corral and on impulse choose a white foal that immediately caught his eye.
Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…
Much to my annoyance the dog followed us nearly all the way and even thwarted our several attempts to lose it by going in different directions and even hiding in a shop doorway for a while. We couldn’t get rid of it and this caused a bit of tension between us because Christine rather liked it trotting along beside us. Eventually Kim was successful in shooing it away and we were able to continue our walk without the unwanted canine company.