Hiking up mount Vesuvius to see the Volcanic vents, and visiting the Ancient city of Pompeii.
Making the drive (I believe we rented a van guide) was just as fun as the hike itself. The volcanic ash truly served its purpose as an effective fertilizer. Tomato vines and olive trees grew liberally across the hillsides. The area was green and lush, and the air smelled quintessentially of summer (mixed with sulfur…).
The mountain side was covered with a yellow-flowered tree. The guide told us this flower was a specie of ginestra, and it instantly became one of my favorite flowers. The floral scent was enough to cancel out a good portion of the sulfur, and the bright yellow petals surrounded us like runway lights as we headed toward our destination. Soon, though, we made it above the clouds, and the green gave way to dirt and rocks.
The closer to the summit, the cooler it became. Clouds danced through us and gave us a refreshing chill. Finally, we made it to the craggly top and got to see the steam rising from the vents
At the top, I purchased a little frog figurine made from lava rock. It still sits on my dresser today.
We also had an amazing opportunity to visit the pristinely preserved ancient city of Pompeii. The buildings and streets were exceedingly intact, especially compared to some of the other landmarks we had seen.
The people of Pompeii proved their excellent use of engineering to us long after their demise. Raised walkways allowed for easy transportation even in an event of a flood, and water fountains were designed to also give dogs a place to rehydrate.
We also got to see the pottery, statues, and bodies that were all preserved by the volcanic eruption.