‘Along Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast lies an alarmingly large and historically deadly volcano. Although it’s dangerous AF, climbing Vesuvius is a surprisingly popular activity…
On a recent trip to Naples, Les and I had an amazing view of Vesuvius from our apartment terrace. However, we knew we could never settle for just looking at the iconic volcano. We were going to need to get climbing Vesuvius and see what all the fuss was about.
We hopped a quick bus from Naples city centre which soon deposited us at the coach park at the foot of the volcano. Now needed a second coach to take us up to the walking trail. After managing to secure seats on one, off we headed to starting climb Vesuvius.
We soon found ourselves climbing very slowly, in an enormous bus, up a worryingly steep mountainside. I can’t deny that I fully expected us to slide back down and end up on our side in the clear blue waters below. The driver’s clutch control was masterful and, despite my terror at the camber and the sheer drop, I was impressed by his driving skills. Clearly, this wasn’t his first day.
After a steady 15 minutes of climbing, the bus dropped us at a perilously high drop off point and we were allowed to disembark. I naively assumed the length of time we ‘d taken to arrive at the trail meant we were pretty much at the top. But, as with many things my life, I was wrong. Very, very wrong, as it happens.
Climbing Vesuvius: Shoes
I can’t say any more to you than PLEASE, for the love of all that’s Holy, take good walking shoes. Those cute but sturdy pink flats you bought in James Pringle Weavers on Anglesey? Not a great choice. Trainers or walking boots are great (well done, husband). Flip flops (which were far more common than you’d think) are a very, very poor choice of footwear.
The ground is steep, rocky, uneven, and covered in dust. It’s also hotter than Hell, which means you will be slipping and sliding around in flip flops. No one wants their family to receive a call from the Embassy reporting you plunged off the side of Vesuvius cos you insisted on wearing thongs because your feet were roastin’.
Climbing Vesuvius: Water
Yeah, probably take this with you. Between the searing sun, walking almost doubled in two to make it up the steep incline, and the length of time it will take you to reach the top, even a camel would struggle without a sip or two. Why there would be a camel climbing up Vesuvius is besides the point. He might have gotten wrong bus, you just don’t know. Aaanyway…
Take bottled water with you if you don’t want to pay over the odds. If you buy it from the smiling Italian man at the bus stop, he’ll charge you double. He will definitely be judging you for being under-prepared, but he’ll do it with a grin on his face. And may this teach you for being stupid enough not to realise you’d need it. I learned this lesson so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Climbing Vesuvius: Wine (no, really)
As is always with the case with me, and with Italy, there’s always, always time for wine. Being at the top of a dangerous volcano, which might erupt at any time, is hardly an excuse for not serving wine. If you’re in the mood for celebration (and you absolutely will be) you can actually buy wine at the top of Vesuvius. Red, white or rose? I’ll have one of each, please.
Quite how drinking wine will affect your ability to keep your footing on loose rocks as you clamber down winding hills with only a small rope to separate you from certain death in the smoking crater of a volcano is a decision that only you can make. If you’re wearing flip-flops, maybe wait until later to start drinking.
Climbing Vesuvius: Views
It goes without saying (although I’m going to say it anyway) that the views from Vesuvius are nothing short of incredible. Even the middle of the mountain, where your bus will ditch you, is high enough to look out over the coast. Obviously, the view from the top, both looking into the volcano and out across the city, is unrivalled.
You might be too shattered to appreciate them at the time when you’re constantly stunned to find yet ANOTHER hill around every corner. OMGAREWENEARLYTHEREYET? However, you’ll certainly be able to enjoy the memories and photos later over a glass (or two) of vino. Also; taking your shoes off after conquering Vesuvius might be the best feeling in the world. Don’t do it on the bus back down to town, though. Because, ‘Jesus wept, Suzanne, put them away!’ will almost certainly be the first sentence out your husband’s mouth and he recoils in horror. Best wait until your back in your apartment where you’re no longer a health threat to the population. Haven’t these people suffered enough??
Have you ever fancied climbing Vesuvius like a boss?