Advantages Unique, Great Views
Disadvantages Bit breezy, don't wear open pumps!
|Is it worth visiting?|
Climbing an active volcano, what could possibly go wrong. Well as it happens nothing considering the distance between eruptions the likelihood of it kicking off with you at the top is really it's not going to happen. But when I went up even the night before I couldn't help thinking it COULD happen.I was staying in Sorrento in a hotel where from the pool you could see mount vesuvius clearly. We set off at a reasonable hour on a coach headed to take us as far up as possible. The journey up was fine and for anyone who knows the roads around Italy I'd say there was more danger on the town roads in Sorrento than going up the mountain itself. There was a tour guide on the coach talking us through the various sites and telling the tales of the mountain and the famous eruption that wiped out Pompeii (which in the tour we were on was our venue for the afternoon).
The walk, once the coach has got you a fair way up so begins the hard walk. You get given a stick to help you walk and there is a clear pathway up to the top. Just follow the crowd. When I went it wasn't too busy and the crowd was well organised walking up one side of the path and back down on the other side. The path itself is sort of a thick gritty sand. It's hard to describe but you're climbing a mountain not walking through a park so do keep that in mind when you choose what shoes and clothes to wear. It is also quite dusty so I wouldn't recommend wearing anything white as I found out you will end up with brown dust all over it.The walk itself I wouldn't say was too challenging but I am a fairly fit 21 year old. My Mum isn't and it wasn't difficult for her, she did have me and my brother (two strapping young lads) to carry the bags. The only trouble she had was the fact she had decided to wear open pump things which was foolish and obviously the thick sandy stuff got into them and made it fairly uncomfortable. But hey that's her own fault! Always remember it's not just a walk up there is a walk back down too! I wouldn't recommend taking very young children or anyone who has trouble walking, particularly if you go around Pompeii too as there is a lot of time on your feet for this.
Once you get to the top the views of the wider area are spectacular, you can see for miles! If you walk to the edge of the crater you can actually feel the heat from the volcano and see it smoking. There is also a bit of a weird smell but it's all part of the experience! There isn't a rocky looking rope bridge going across, which I thought would have been fun to see who would go across (I wouldn't). It is a unique experience looking into the "eye" of a volcano. If you imagine the power lurking below it is almost quite scary. I would recommend reading up on it beforehand to get an idea of the power before you reach the top and look in.One thing I would say now is that Italy in mid-summer is hot. But once you get up the top of the mountain, those more sensitive to the cold may want to have a spare cardigan or something to wrap up in. Volcanos aren't what you think they are and you aren't looking down on an orange pool of glowing lava. You can feel the heat near the crater but there is quite a breeze and the day I was up there it was boiling on a normal distance above sea level. (I remember walking through Pompeii hunting for shade).
All in all I would highly recommend going up it is quite an experience and provides some great views as well. Also then go and see Pompeii and witness the power of what you have just climbed up.
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