Europe Day 9: Pompeii Tour and Train to Rome

Hello from Italy again everyone! Today we departed from Sorrento to take a short tour of the Pompeii ruins and then head to Rome by train. We woke up and ate our last breakfast at this hotel’s delicious buffet and then repacked all of the stuff floating in our room into our suitcases. My mom and I made a quick run to the local supermarket as soon as it opened to buy cold waters for the day. We came back and checked out of our hotel, waiting for our driver to pick us up and take us to Pompeii. Side note- I’m really going to miss Sorrento and the Amalfi coast. The weather was beautiful today as we were walking to the supermarket, and this town has been such a wonderful place to visit and relax in.

The drive to Pompeii was about 45 minutes and once we got there we immediately started walking around. It was blazing hot and we were kind of confused (maybe we’re just dumb but it was difficult for us to figure out the maps. We saw some of the main sites/house areas and then went to go see the plaster bodies. It was crazy to think how old everything was and how it must have been to discover this buried town, but I have to admit we weren’t the most interested in this particular site. It was extremely crowded and hot, and we kept getting lost. From certain points there was also a very pretty view since it was so sunny out. We only stayed in the site for about an hour and 20 minutes because we had to eat lunch and we only had 2 hours for the excursion total before our driver picked us back up and took us to the train station.

We ate at a restaurant just outside the entrance- I got a hamburger because I needed to eat something with protein but I also had a slice of my mom’s pizza. It was decent but nothing great (which we expected in such a tourist spot). From there we got picked up and went straight to the Naples train station. I was pretty nervous since I’d heard it was a sketchy area with pickpocketing and such and we had a long wait (about 2 hours) for our train, but it ended up being fine. It was a very boring wait and we did see some suspicious characters walking around but we were careful and everything was fine. Our train boarded at 3:50pm and surprisingly it was actually really nice inside- there was wifi, small tables in front of each seat, and fairly comfortable leather seats. The train ride to Rome was about an hour and 10 minutes.

We arrived in Rome and walked about 10 minutes to our hotel, Hotel Mascagni. It was hot and seemed like a lot since I was wary of pickpockets and all the stuff everyone has warned me about near the train station, but it’s actually a very central location which would be considered a plus. The staff was very welcoming and showed us to our room, which was somehow upgraded for free to a suite. The odd thing about it is that our room was actually in a separate building we had to walk to that needs to have us buzzed in. We have to take an elevator and use our card to get into a hall of rooms, then take another elevator to get to the next floor of rooms (our floor) and use our card to get into the room.

Our room is pretty spacious and modern-styled with one actual bedroom with a TV, a nice bathroom, a closet that actually opens up with a safe, and a living area that has another bed that could be folded into a couch and a desk, coffeemaker, and TV. We freshened up and got settled before leaving to find a place for dinner.

After leaving the hotel we began to walk and immediately we could see Rome’s rich history reflected in every building. We wanted to see the Trevi fountain so we walked in that direction while trying to find a place for dinner. It was extremely crowded but it was SO BEAUTIFUL and it looked very clean/well-kept as well. My dad found this modern underground restaurant with decent ratings so we went there and I got some spaghetti. It honestly wasn’t the best and the service wasn’t great, but it was still better than most pasta back in the US.

We then walked and got some gelato in the direction of the Spanish steps, our next destination. I got mint chocolate chip and I can confidently say it was the best gelato I’ve had on this trip so far. The Spanish steps were in a more central part of town so they were even more crowded, located in this huge open square area. There were also tons of shops; mainly luxury stores. We walked up the stairs and took some pictures as the sun set, listening to locals play music and just observing the busy town. The weather was perfect as it had cooled down, and we finally trekked back to our hotel around 9:30pm and got ready for bed.

Rome is definitely dirtier than Paris (cigarettes littering the streets, dustier buildings) and in the main tourist destinations much busier (with a lot more concern for pickpocketing), but in other areas and just on random streets it actually seemed quite empty. It may be because it was a Sunday but the city felt very open for the most part besides the few stuffy and crowded areas. It also seems more spread out than Paris (lots to see!), but a lot of the buildings are less tall so it makes sense. Tomorrow we are exploring the city by a hop-on, hop-off bus tour as well as any other walking around we may do, so I will report back with more about this lovely city!

-Brooke

A grassy area of Pompeii with some wildflowers sprouting near the ruins.

One of the more open areas- look at the pillars!

I took this shot because I particularly liked the horse statue.

Some of the plastered over people behind a glass case- this was such a crazy sight but honestly made me a little sad.

My view from the train window.

A building we walked past right outside our hotel.

The wonderful Trevi fountain- we made sure to throw a coin in.

One of Rome’s many town squares showcasing these lovely buildings.

The Spanish steps in addition to the fountain in front and the buildings behind.

The view of the street after climbing up the first two levels of steps.

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