01 August 2012

the volcano vesuvio

Richard, who will quickly tell you that Napoli is his home as it is the place he has spent the most time in his life, relishes the fact that his one and only baby girl was born there. Okay, well, technically the kid was born in a US Navy hospital inside a guarded base located in one of the uglier parts of the greater Napoli area...but he glosses over that fact, mostly. (You would, too!)

vesuvio 1
Oh, how he misses it!

From the time Young One would listen to his stories, he has shared all the beautiful and important things about "their city" with her. One of those that has become pretty popular as of late is the active volcano: Mt. Vesuvius. When you are eight and living among a bunch of people who were not born in the shadow of a famous active volcano, then this detail carries a certain "awe" or "wow" factor among peers. Throw in Pompeii, and you own the birth story category of childhood coolness.

It was for this reason alone that we hiked all the way up to the rim of the crater recently. The girl desperately wanted to do it; Vesuvio is part of her story.

vesuvio 2
vesuvio 5 vesuvio 10

Well, and he was happy to do it, too, because Vesuvio is part of his story as well. To be able to share this first experience with her meant a great deal to him. And me? I was just along to take pictures.
  vesuvio 3

Some tips from our experience:
We arrived early and were able to easily find parking in the lot near the ticket office. I think Richard paid a couple of Euro to park. We bought entry tickets with no issues (8 Euro each) and then started the long and winding hike. While there are a few stops along the way offering souvenirs and refreshments, we each carried a bottle of water (which was quickly emptied.) The winding path is somewhat steep and is composed of gravel for most of the 800 meter hike. We all wore sneakers that were FILTHY by the time we finished, and we were pretty grimy, too. At the start of the hike there were a couple of guys offering the use of walking sticks for a small donation. We passed on this, but we should have taken the sticks from the start, especially with the loose gravel. The sun was fierce, even in the morning. Young One suffered a pretty nasty fall as she was jumping around along the path, leaving her with a cut and dramatic blood running from her knee; someone quickly noticed and directed us to first aid station. After a bit of hydrogen peroxide and a bandaid, we eventually convinced her that she could continue the hike. This took much coaxing, especially after one of the guides offered to drive us down the path. A ride in a Fiat Panda down a steep path about the width of the Panda while dodging weary tourists ... no thank you! Instead I found a few abandoned walking sticks and my dramatic girl limped the entire way down. The guides manning the station were extremely kind and helpful and even gave her a couple of beautiful rocks from the crater to assuage her pain, and I'm sure they are great drivers.


PS. I am forever grateful that Young One, who came into the world dramatically via emergency Caesarean, was born in the comfort and competent care of that US Navy hospital, by the way. On this trip, we also took her to visit this hospital.


  1. What a fun trip for young one. We loved our visit there, but I have to tell you late Sept is a much more comfortable time to climb. I can only imagine how hot it was in July. Actually, it is pretty stinking hot here in Atalanta right now, so I don't have to imagine.

    1. HOT. Yes, it was.
      I don't think we'll be Hiking it again soon in either Sept or July! Once is good enough for me.

  2. are you implying that public health in naples (and in southern italy) isn't any good?:)

    it's a wonderful story, to be born by a vulcano with so much history connected to.

    PS by the way, i'm forever grateful that my own daughter, who also came into the world dramatically by emergency c-section, was born not in the comfort, but in the very competent care of a public hospital in milan. though, to be fair, i should add that she was brought back to life a couple of times by very competent intensive care staff in liguria. hmm, is this a post about the state of health care in this country?! :)

    1. This post is about a girl and her volcano!

      Btw..I know several Neapolitans who were born in those hospitals and lived to tell about it. I'm sure the baby would be fine...it's ME that might not recover from the experience. Believe me, even in the comfort of my own culture (sort of), it is not an experience I care to relive.

  3. that is the story that births legends, ultimate coolness

    1. Oh, she is quite taken with this story, believe me!