Monday, October 13, 2014

Italy Day 4: Herculaneum and shopping in Sorrento

Unfortunately, Jeff started feeling sick on our fourth day so we scrapped our plans to hike up Mount Vesuvius. That was just fine with me since I'm not a fan of hiking. We decided to take it easy so we took the Circumvesuviana train to Ercolano Scavi to visit Herculaneum, a resort town for the wealthy Romans that was also destroyed by Vesuvius' eruption in 79 AD. Herculaneum is much smaller and better preserved than Pompei.

We found the audio tour very hard to follow in Pompei (there was too much to see and the audio guide didn't help us focus in on the key sites) so we opted for an actual human guide this time around. She really helped to make Herculaneum more enjoyable for us. There were lots of online travel forums that suggested visiting Herculaneum over Pompei. While I found Herculaneum a lot more manageable, I think I would still prioritize Pompei. But I would suggest doing research or going with a guide who can focus in on the must-see highlights of Pompei so that it doesn't feel like hours of exhausting, aimless walking. Anyway I digress - back to Herculaneum...

Here are some of the colorful mosaics they had as home decor in Herculaneum. It was so posh there, they even had plumbing and sewers.

There were even skeletal remains in Herculaneum. We couldn't get a good picture of that area, since it was fenced off so they were only viewable from a distance. Still, that gives you an idea of just how well-preserved Herculaneum was.

Afterwards, we headed back to Sorrento and did some shopping in the old town area. Here's what we picked up:

- 2 pairs of adorable flats (the ones in the picture below were only 10 euros)
- a glass oil dispenser bottle with handmade designs
- a set of espresso cups and saucers (which we'll use for tea)
- a cute jacket from Benetton (who-hoo, excited that I only paid $89)
- spice and seasoning packets for pasta sauce from the Inn Bufalito store to give to friends (we also got two for ourselves)

I really wanted to buy more but I knew that our luggage space was limited, since we were still aiming to have carry-on luggage only. Jeff and I are extremely vigilant about not checking in any luggage if we can help it. We hate how long it takes to claim luggage from the baggage carousel and I've had the airline lose my check-in luggage before so we know it's not worth the hassle if we can help it!

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