Vignettes from a Lifetime of Travel

V is for Vesuvius

In August 1986 we spent 6 weeks in Italy.  We went as far south as Sorrento which was a great base for the Amalfi Coast,  Capri,  Pompeii and Vesuvius.

We’d spent a fabulous day in Pompeii but it was hot – hot – hot!!!  We were exhausted but opted to persevere and climb Vesuvius the same evening.  We parked the car and decided to carry as little as possible.  We gave some lira to a ‘parking attendant’ who doubled as a plastic bag vendor,  selling covers to protect feet from the burning dust.   We took our small camera,  a bottle of water and the car keys.  Everything else was locked into the boot of the car.

Up we headed – it was still very warm but the rush of the day was obviously over and there weren’t many on the path.   It took about 20-25 minutes if I remember correctly.

At the top of the path we were met by a man sitting at a makeshift kiosk.  He was selling tickets!  All our money was locked in the car!  He wouldn’t let us walk around the rim without said ticket!!  So that was that… back down we went!   

We scoured the car park for a sign but there was absolutely no indication that we needed money at the top!   We returned to the area some years later.  We made it to Herculaneum that time but gave Vesuvius a skip…. Some day….

Scan_20200223 (4) (1)(Me posing on Vesuvius with plastic bags to protect my feet – 2 puddles of  sweat as I recall!! )  

6 thoughts on “Vignettes from a Lifetime of Travel

  1. Our guide waxed lyrical about the local wine, Lachrima Christi, which was so good because of the lava-enriched soil on the slopes. But, he wouldn’t tell us where we could buy any. Maybe they want to keep it all for themselves? 😀

    1. Odd that he would talk about it and then not divulge its location – usually its the opposite with their eye on a bit of commission perhaps!!

  2. Are you sure he was legit? We had something similar in Jamaica where a tout tried to get us to pay for looking after our car and to hand over the keys ‘for safe keeping’. And again, in southern Spain when we went to visit friends in an ‘urbanization’; said friends advised us to pay up – they did despite living there – as otherwise our car could suffer damage.

    1. Not sure but he wasn’t giving in that’s for sure . He had a hut and some sort of tickets but that doesn’t mean anything of course!

  3. I was only 5 years old when you were already exploring Italy! I bet it was a completely different place back then! From what I know you have to pay 10 euros to hike to the top of Vesuvius, but back in 1986 – who knows? Unfortunately, there are so many tourist scams and rip-offs – Europe in particular is a surprisingly creative place when it comes to travel scams – that it’s easy to become a victim. Thanks for sharing your experience and have a good day. Aiva

    1. Now I feel like a dinosaur Aiva!!!
      While it wasn’t as popular then among Irish visitors, my memory was of crowds – of course it was August so very busy with Italians themselves and Germans in particular. Beaches were jammed even then. And as you say – where there are tourists there are scams….

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