Pompeii in one day
What is there to say about Pompeii that hasn't already been said? It is arguably the world's most famous archaeological site, with exciting new findings appearing every time excavation work begins.
What struck me as a first-time visitor to Pompeii was just how much it still resembled a city. Despite being buried under earth and ash for centuries, the skeletons of streets signs, cobbled roads, gardens and houses remained largely intact.
Seeing fully-functional ancient water pumps on the footpath, where visitors were refilling water-bottles, made it feel more like a run-down suburb on the outskirts of a modern town rather than the shell of a city obliterated thousands of years ago.
Wide roads featured rows of restaurants fitted with pizza ovens, shop counters and jars - some of which still contained the food items they were storing when Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.
Even the minuscule individual tiles of huge sweeping floor mosaics were perfectly untouched, laid out in the original intricate patterns and designs they been set in centuries ago.
The remains of a vineyard had been found under the rubble, replanted, and brought back to life on the site. These rich green grapes stood in the same small yard as a glass house, filled with the lifeless remains of people who had perished.
4The eerie juxtaposition of this setting perfectly sums up the strangeness of visiting Pompeii. The evidence of tragedy and natural disaster is everywhere you look, with teams of modern people having dedicated their lives to gaining better understanding of the impact of an eruption of Mt Vesuvius... All the while thousands of tourists like me, and even more locals, make the place buzz with life as they flock to the area to live, work and holiday - completely undeterred by the threat Vesuvius poses.