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Pompeii

Bruce and I joked all day about the miracle of his being alive. I realize that I am melodramatic. But if you knew Bruce like I know Bruce, you’d know that not breakfasting at 8 and not answering his door was cause for concern.

However, instead of sitting holding his hand in a Neapolitan hospital, I got to go with him to the ancient lost city of Pompeii, buried alive on August 24 of 79 BC. There’s something macabre about the experience, even though it’s fascinating and beautiful too, to see the city laid out, imagine the horror of watching that giant mountain blow. It’s a maze, like Naples, but we found the 5000 seat amphitheatre where BK and I tested the acoustics, the theatre and the little theatre beside it – “where the experimental stuff was put on,” I said to him, both of us theatre people, loving these beautifully designed spaces, so central to life then, even if the shows in the amphitheatre were less than pleasant. (Lions, bears, gladiators …)

They’ve preserved some of the wall painting, though most of it is in the archeological museum. How I wish I could show you my photos! There will be too many all at once when I have better internet. However, I will certainly post so you can enjoy it too.

After 3 hours we headed to the train station and got there just as the heavens opened – amazing timing, because we were not expecting rain, and there’s not much shelter in a city without roofs. And by the time we arrived back in Naples mid-afternoon, the rain had stopped. Bruce was excited – first, he got to read the New York Times on his iPad on the train back – surreal – and second, we’d decided to take the metro straight to the archeological museum. Bruce loves metros. Four stops from the train to the museum.

Another overwhelming visit – vast marble statues from Roman times that graced palaces here, wall paintings, incredible mosaics, glassware, kitchen utensils and iron pots from Pompeii and the surrounding towns. Many penises on the almost 100% naked statues, and an entire section for erotic stuff, full of giggling school groups – very large erect penises this time, and sex scenes painted on pots, including many of women being attacked by various gods. Whatever turns your crank, as they say.

And now after writing to you, I’ll pack; my companion is having his nap before our final dinner together. I am profoundly grateful to Bruce – for his organization of the trip, his knowledge of Italian and the country itself, the way he steered me flawlessly to one adventure after another and put up with my princess ways. I’ve been bitching about hotel, internet, breakfasts – but mostly, I feel incredibly privileged to have been on this excursion with one of the kindest, dearest men on earth.

Tomorrow, talk about something completely different: London.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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