I woke feeling nervous – a weird feeling for me as not much makes me nervous. I never get nervous but still, I had this dull ache in the pit of my stomach.
Myself and Amie are on honeymoon in Sorrento and had nothing planned today. We slept late and missed breakfast so decided to get a train to Pompeii for a late breakfast, and then take a walk around the ruins. I still had this unexplainable dull ache in my belly.
Upon arriving at Pompeii station we were presented with a number of excursions. We decided on a 4x4 tour of the dormant Mt. Vesuvius. With a delicate belly, the last thing I wanted was to walk for 3 hours in the sun around ancient ruins.
We set off, safe in the knowledge that we would only have to walk the 30 minute section of the volcano where 4X4’s could not reach.
As we approached the final destination for the 4x4 we stepped out to see a huge rain cloud coming towards (and below) us. We felt quite smug as we had the foresight to bring along a jumper, we had a feeling it might be a bit breezy.
10 minutes into our walk, the heavens opened. First there was torrential rain, then the forked lightning which was striking just metres from us. Then the hail. Hail like I have never seen or felt. Ice balls 3cm in width battered our bodies, the pain was unbelievable. We ran and passed others attempting to do the same. A young Italian family had a small boy with them who was wailing deliriously. We stopped to give them our umbrella, but that was of no use, the wind had shaped it into nothing more than scrap.
After about 10 minutes of extreme pain from the hail, navigating rivers of rain and the dread of the lightning – we made it to a small wooden information point. The wooden shed about 8ft x 6ft was full of other travellers. Soaked to the skin and shivering with the cold.
The radio in the shed was telling us that we would have to wait in the shed whilst the ancient roads were cleared of fallen trees and debris from enormous landslides. We all shivered together. The threat of hypothermia was real and strangers hugged to preserve any body warmth. Newspapers were wrapped around the weakest. Everybody in the shed was covered in big red sores and welts from the hail – we all looked like we had contracted some sort of weird tropical disease. My nerves disappeared.
Eventually, and after what seemed like hours, a 4x4 made it’s way through and was able to start rescuing people from the volcano. The sight on the way down was incredible. Holes had appeared in the ancient road (nearly 2000 years old) and these were being plugged with wooden patio benches, allowing the 4x4’s to ride on.
I am not one to believe in premonitions, but I wish I had listened to the messages my belly were giving me this morning.
This time last week I was in Buckingham Palace, sharing quails eggs with the Queen. What a difference a week makes.