- Pompeii, Italy
Katie took this photo of me mocking the dead.
Katie's had an obsession with Pompeii since childhood, so after Rome we rented a car and headed down the coast toward Napoli en route to Pompeii. It was much, much larger than expected and, like the Vatican, while it didn't transfer to film very well it was an impressive stop. I was surprised by how many intact frescoes and mosaics had survived; when you're able to see 2,000 year old ruins with not only plaster but also paint and tile in good condition it gives you a totally different perspective on how modern these civilizations were. (Although Pompeii isn't really a good example of how the everyman lived since it was, essentially, a luxury resort town).
We spent at least four hours at Pompeii and could easily have spent two days there had we not already been exhausted and overwelmed by Rome. One of the interesting things about Pompeii was, like many archeological digs across the world, how many thousands upon thousands of pottery shards could be found in the dirt walking around. This only surprised me because of how popular of a tourist destination Pompeii has remained over the decades; I'd have expected most of these remnants to have been taken or crushed by constant foot traffic, as you see in most larger ruins (such as Lamanai in Belize).