Walking on History


It isn’t what people do for show that interests me most, but what they do day-to-day. Perhaps that is part of the fascination that Pompeii holds for me. Like Skara Brae in the Orkneys, it is a city preserved in time, where everyone departed in a mass exodus, leaving behind the clues to the workings of their everyday lives.


It has been more than four decades since I last walked these streets, and five since I first read about the cataclysmic eruption that ultimately buried the city nearly 2000 years ago. Walking into the ruined city brought me face to face with my young self as well as the ancients who once lived here. Older and hopefully wiser, my heart responded to the same strange tugs as I thought about the fear that must surely have permeated the city when Vesuvius roared to life and began to spew its ash.



I suspect today’s walk will play out in my heart for some time as I continue to come to grips with the history that unfolded here, and with the young girl I was when my own feet first walked on these ancient cobblestones. Back then, the idea of my getting old had not really crossed my mind; today I walked with appreciation for the opportunity to revisit a significant place where I could walk with the ghosts of my own childhood.


And…. It was a delight to be there with Jeff, visiting this place with its history of labyrinth symbolism. At one time, there were at least 6 labyrinths in Pompeii, and we can hold the hope that some of those will someday be back on public display.


Following yesterday’s snowy mountain roads and sub-freezing temperatures, today’s cerulean skies and balmy temperatures were a welcome surprise… After three hours of wandering through layers of history, it was nice to relax outside with an icy gelato as we readjusted to the twenty first century and prepared to head for home.


4 thoughts on “Walking on History

  1. I still can not believe the difference in your skies from one day to the next… confirmation of this incredible journey of traveling in and out of worlds and time! I too remember those national geographic photos… it instilled a desire in that then young me to one day become an archeologist… I don’t know if I will ever make it to this place in this life… if I do, I will mostly likely be even older! So, I am all the more grateful for your sharing this journey with us! It makes those childhood pictures come alive in a whole new way…

  2. Pompei made a deep impression on me too in my youth. I’ve always wanted to visit but my 2 trips to Italy have never taken me as far south. On a more prosaic level, I’m glad the skies cleared and the air warmed so you could enjoy gelato. What flavor?

    1. What flavour? Caffe, of course! My favorite for all things frozen. Such a treat to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, especially after the snow and ice of the previous day!

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