Our Grand Tour – Vesuvius

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On the docks at Naples we were met by a taxi, which TBH had booked whilst we were still at home. The driver, whose name, sadly, I didn’t write down and have therefore forgotten, was a brilliant guide to the area. He drove us to the end of the road on Vesuvius, managing to get us there before most of the other day-trippers so that we only met large crowds as we were descending again.

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Although the hillside was rough and rocky, the volcanic soil is apparently very rich and there was an abundance of flowers, and also lots of lizards and hosts of butterflies. I think that theses lizards are the same species of Common or Viviparous lizards which we sometimes see at home, although they were, I suspect, not necessarily more common here, just easier to see in the absence of grass. Certainly, like the ones at home, some of these had shed their tails – no doubt to escape from a tight spot – and were now regenerating a replacement.

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About the butterflies, I ‘m afraid I’m clueless – although I have seen a secondhand copy of ‘Collins Mediterranean Wildlife’ in the Oxfam bookshop, and if it’s still there when I go back I’ll make that my next purchase and have a go at identifying at least the ones I managed to photograph, which is only a small sample of the butterflies which were flying from bloom to bloom.

Although it was a hazy day, it was still possible to get an idea of just how big a city Naples is from the rim of the crater on Vesuvius. Italy’s third biggest city, after Rome and Milan, it has a population of around 3 million (making it bigger, for comparisons sake, than the conurbation around Liverpool). All this from our driver/guide – apart from the bit about Liverpool – he seemed genuinely proud of his home town and was a fount of knowledge about the city’s history and the history of volcanic activity in the area.

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Sorrento peninsula, part of Capri on the right (rather lost in the haze).

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The crater was so large, that it was difficult to capture a representative image from the rim, even with the panoramic facility. (You’ll notice that we were all wearing sandals, which is not recommended – the path is floored with a volcanic gravel and descending in sandals proved to be an uncomfortable affair).

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Vesuvius is still active and in a couple of places in the wall of the crater smoke was venting…

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Our Grand Tour – Vesuvius

4 thoughts on “Our Grand Tour – Vesuvius

  1. Awesome shot of the city, I really like looking down on city sprawls like that. “Vesuvius is still active” – isn’t that something of an understatement. I thought it was one of the spots on top of one of those “super-volcanoes” that if/when it blows will wipe out most of the planet. Perhaps that was one of my crappy films 😀

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      First we find out that Sellafield is run by Homer Simpson, now you tell me that there are ‘Super Volcanos’? Oh woe, woe is me….
      Oh – quite a few more ‘city sprawl’ photo to come – I love those kind of views, I must admit.

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