Sunday, July 31, 2016

Italy Wrap Up

Prior to the last couple of days on our trip we said farewell to a few in our group who are either headed back to the USA or off to explore another country in Europe. The rest of us set out to explore the ancient city of Pompeii. This city came to a stand still as Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. killing and preserving everything in its path. 

On a two hour tour we were able to walk through the city learning about how the sea shore, now 4 km away, came right to the city's edge. We saw where wagon wheels wore down the stone streets, brothels, men's restrooms, a woman's spa, the city center, the church, homes and city shops. All are ruins that have been uncovered and are still being uncovered. We finished our tour at the Amphitheater, a three story theater in its day where people sat based on their social status.

This was the outskirts of Pompeii, where boats could anchor as the sea once came to the city's edge. 
The volcano left ruins perfectly preserved. Please note that the sculptures in this
photo are not from the original Pompeii. The ancient city also serves an art display.
Many of the street were lined with shops and restaurants. Tiles were left in place and art preserved on the walls.
During the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allows people to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died. Every one I saw showed the people covering their nose and mouth, likely because they couldn't get their breath in the aftermath of the volcano eruption.  
The streets were just wide enough in some places for a wagon to travel. Here the evidence
of a heavily traveled street shows the wagon wheel tracks on either side.

Following the tour of Pompeii, we spent our two final evenings in Sorrento and last day exploring the Island of Capri before we headed for home on Friday.

On our final day we were free to explore Sorrento and the surround area. Everyone decided
to catch a ferry to the Island of Capri. This is the marina where our ferry dropped us off.
Dawn Nagel and myself decided to make our way to the highest point of the island (This
view is from a cab ride we took to get to a chair lift.) while others took a boat ride
around the island and still others explored the shops and eating establishments. 
Dawn Nagel taking a 13 minute ride on the chair lift to the highest point on Capri.
Once on top we could see for miles when and where the clouds cleared.  This is me, Rachel Mehlhaf, at the top. 
Our final meal, some of the best wood fired pizza we have ever eaten, took place on the
water front. We had the pleasure of viewing a beautiful sunset on our walk to the restaurant.
Thank you for following the SDARL Alumni, spouses and friends on our tour of agriculture, history and culture in Italy. It has been an honor for me to tell you about our experiences and I know we all look forward to sharing more now that we have made it safely back to South Dakota.
-Rachel Mehlhaf, Class IV