Friday, April 12, 2013

Travel: Mt. Vesuvius

Mt. Vesuvius is a stratovolcano that last erupted in 1944. Its most famous eruption occurred in 79, when Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried beneath its violent effusion of pumice and ash. It remains the symbol of Naples, and, on clear days, we have a pretty good view of it from our back patio...

The drive from NAS Naples to the parking area on Mt. Vesuvius takes about 40 minutes. The roads on the mountain are narrow and not ideal for those prone to motion sickness, but if you drive slowly and watch for tour buses at each turn your car and stomach should be safe.

After parking, purchase tickets and a guidebook (10 Euros per adult to climb, 1 Euro for the pamphlet) from the first building on your left. It's a 20- to 30-minute, 500-meter hike to the crater, and another 20-30 minutes to walk around the crater. The hike is not strenuous, though we heard many complain.

For comparison: Mt. Vesuvius is only 1,281 meters above sea level, whereas Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters high (and takes 4-7 hours to climb to the top).

The foot path to the peak is fairly wide. You'll slip in the loose rocks at least once, but you won't lose your balance and fall if you're careful.

Weather permitting, you are rewarded with great views of the Bay of Naples, the city itself, Capri, and Ischia. The crater and its rock formations are especially interesting, even with cloud cover.

There are several small shops on the mountain. We purchased two unique lava rocks and a bottle of local wine from one.

Total Cost: 35 Euros (admission and souvenirs)

Time on site: 1.5 hours

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