We spent the day visiting even more Roman ruins, to round out the education-heavy portion of our Italian tour (i.e. the Hirsh-inspired portion). On today's agenda were Herculaneum and Pompeii. Both were once thriving towns that were suddenly and tragically stopped in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The towns' residents had no idea what was coming, as the volcano had not erupted in 1,200 years.
Herculaneum is smaller and better preserved and we visited that site first.
These poor souls were incinerated by volcanic ash as they tried to escape the city. Their bones have been fossilized in the positions they took when trying to shield their faces and bodies and each other from certain death. This photo is one of five separate boat stalls filled with bones.
We then hopped back on the train for a short ride to Pompeii. Pompeii is huge and very crowded. It was not as well-preserved as we expected, but it's still very much worth seeing. We're so glad we were able to visit all three sites to maximize our experience.
One of the beds in the famous Pompeiian brothel, where all the magic happened. Looks comfortable!? This is a favorite site for tourists, and you can hear pretty much everyone talking about it as you're walking around. In fact, it was the impetus for Hirsh to utter his first full Italian phrase - "Dove è il bordello?" ("Where is the brothel?").
After that grand finale, we hopped back on a train, this time to Sorrento. From Sorrento, we caught a ferry to Capri, where we spent one night and had a relaxing dinner at this adorable spot, Ristorante la Rondinella.