Wednesday, July 11, 2012

#WhenInRome: South

This past weekend my program ventured south to Naples and Paestum to visit the ancient cities of Pompei and Herculaneum.  Tip #1: GO TO HERCULANEUM. Pompei was cool and all because it's Pompei or whatever, but it was hot, dusty, crowded, and extensive. Herculaneum, on the other hand, was much smaller, we were basically the only people there, and it was much shadier. Just fyi for when you go on your own tour of Italy :)

Pompei Amphitheater

Vesuvius from Pompei

Greek temple ruins in Paestum
In Paestum, we visited the ruins of several Greek temples in another ancient town.  Apparently Italy is home to the best preserved Greek ruins in the world. Huh, somewhat counter-intuitive. It's amazing, though, to see these incredibly old towns that really have very modern layouts and houses. Some things really never do change, I suppose...

Vesuvius from Herculaneum
Herculaneum was incredible. It was buried under 20 meters of ash from Vesuvius until a farmer randomly dug up a bit of it, beginning the excavations in earnest.  Herculaneum is better preserved than Pompei because the ash fell much quicker and more suddenly here, basically cementing the town in a thick layer of volcanic debris. They even found a petrified loaf of bread in one of the houses when they began digging at the sight. Crazy stuff!

We also stayed at a hotel right on the beach and went swimming in the Mediterranean. It was amazing. We were on the beach at sunset, and I soaked in every minute of it!  We went back out that same night, and the stars were perfect. It made me think of Los Alamos - it was so clear and peaceful. The sound of waves lapping up on the beach has to be one of the most relaxing noises in the world.  I've heard the continuous waves of the ocean (or sea in this case) compared to God's grace - just as the waves always roll in, so God's grace never runs out.  Wave after wave, grace after grace. Thank you, Jesus!

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