Thursday, July 01, 2010

Day 17: A Hike in Vulci

I went down the field office this morning to see if anybody had donated a ticket for an excursion they weren't attending.  As I'd mentioned before I was kind of hoping to snag one to Orvieto (there's some neat underground fresco things) but, alas, there was no Orvieto to be found.  There was, however, a single ticket to go "Trekking the Vulci Archaeological Nature Park" that was departing as I was standing there, so I grabbed the ticket and jumped on the bus.  $100 trip for free, not bad.

Vulci is basically the remains of a once important Etruscan city.  It's about an hour away from Civitavecchia by bus and surrounded by some beautiful Tuscan-like landscape.  As our guide put it, you really can't tell your in Tuscany until somebody tells you; most of the surrounding areas look just was nice.  The hike among the ruins was very interesting and extremely hot.  I hate to start sounding like my uncle, but after a few days of these Etruscan/Roman archaeological visits all of the little piles of square rocks are starting to look the same.  The long and sunny walk ended at a nice little lake area with a bunch of locals swimming and fishing.  We had lunch at a nearby restaurant (great, hardy Italian food once again) and made the trek over to the medieval Castle of the Badia which had some great views and a small museum of miscellaneous Etruscan objects.  On the drive home we made a quick gelato stop in a small little beach town.  It was the guide's favorite gelato place and definitely the best I've had on this trip so far.  It was a really exhausting day.  We got back around five and I passed out until eight.

The actual excursion was good but what made it really fun was the guide and group dynamic.  The guide was an incredibly intelligent and friendly guy who referred to himself as "el diablo."  He spoke amazing English (one of 4 or 5 languages) and loved learning more.  At every spare moment he'd be talking about a book he just read, asking people the difference between things like "steer and ox" or "crow and raven," and throwing out vocabulary that even stumped our trip leader, the ship librarian.  He had some great stories and was one of the better guides I've ever had.  I'm starting to recognize a lot of the faces on trips the past few days because most of the others who are doing some of the more obscure excursions are in the same situation as me (been to Rome recently and not excited to battle the crowds again).  Tomorrow I will be heading to Rome with a group so we'll see how much comes back.  Tomorrow night we make the sail to Naples.  That's all for now, I need to figure out something to do tonight since I slept half the evening away.

1 comment:

Stutelberg Family said...

Karl and I were talking about our time in Italy and what we remember about Naples is the laundry hanging all over the apartment buildings! It was really cloudy and not much to look at. Hopefully you find the historic section of town and the weather is good! By the way, I just ran the summer cross country run with Jon and Po. We all rocked it!! Miss you!