I don't think there is a word in the English language to describe how worn out Mom & I felt when we returned to the tour bus. Like before, the bus curved around hairpin turns and missed hitting cars/walls by centimeters as we coasted down Mt. Vesuvius en route to Pompeii. Added to the minor heat stroke, physical fatigue and overall exhaustion, Mom closed her eyes to fight the queasiness. On the other hand, I was convinced I was going to die on these narrow roads with only a short stone barrier that kept the bus from plunging to its death over the mountainside. I even asked my mom (who continued to keep her eyes closed) "don't you want to see how we're going to die?" The sweaty Asian guy across the aisle chuckled.
We arrived at the outskirts of Pompeii and met our tour guide, Vincenzo (pronounced "vinn-chen-zoe"). He was an older, tan Italian guy in apple green pants who was comical. In true Italian fashion, throughout the tour he remarked "bella, bella, bella" a.k.a. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Outside the city's main gate of Porta Marina, Vincenzo showed us ancient stone compartments that housed creamated bodies. The group's first view of Pompeii was the entrance to the Grande Palestra -- the men's athletic field. Looking at the colored stone I saw layers upon layers of solidified ash. As I stepped into the [now] open courtyard I could not believe that the entire scene used to be buried under around 4.5 meters a.k.a. 15 feet of ash. I was shocked to learn that from 79 until the mid-1800s the entire arena was undiscovered, hiding under Neapolitans' feet.