When I was in the fourth grade, my mom, Meg, and I went on a trip to Williamburg, Virginia with two of our friends and their moms. One day we went to Busch Gardens. My favorite ride that day was "Escape from Pompeii." It was a log flume ride that took you up to the town of Pompeii where you were put through the experience of living through the horrific heat, lava, and panic of a volcanic eruption.
I found a clip on YouTube of someone taking the actual ride. Click here to see it. It might not look scary on this video, but to a fourth grader it was pretty scary. haha. I remember it being really hot in there because of all the fire effects, which I think were meant to be like lava. Then, going down and splashing into the cool water was really fun and such a thrill. I loved the ride so much I bought a keychain at the souvenir shop. (I was in my keychain-collecting stage - where I collected a lot of keychains and put them on my bookbag and clanked around and thought I was cool. haha.) Anyway, a little over ten years later, I was actually standing in Pompeii, Italy! It wasn't a ride at an amusement park, but the actual place. I was amazed.
Other than the fact that the ride was just a ride and by all means "pretend" - the largest misconception of that ride and among what most people think happened at Pompeii is that lava never reached the town, therefore it was never the lava that killed the people of Pompeii. Another misconception is that everyone in the town was killed by the eruption. Actually, of the 20,000 residents of Pompeii, 2,000 died. Most people were able to flee because the start of the eruption made an earthquake and many people got scared and left. Those who stayed died from the intensity of the smoke and ash of the volcano.
It was an ordinary summer day in southern Italy on August 24, 79 AD. Pompeii, near Naples, was a rich and lively Roman town full of activity. The shadow of Mt. Vesuvius they lived under was never given a second thought - life was good for the wealthy Romans basking in the power and prestige of the Roman Empire. Today, we see evidence of that lifestyle. Their lives "frozen in time" by the molten rocks and ash that buried them. The excavated town offers a snapshot of Roman life in the 1st century. Here are a few pictures from my day in Pompeii.
Casted skeletons of people buried in volcanic rubble
"Beware of the Dog" sign
Abbey Road - Pompeii Style
The Forum; you can see the bottom of Mt. Vesuvius on the right
The group in front of the Forum and Mt. Vesuvius
We watched a video before we left on our field trip. The dramatic/cheesy last line was "Mt. Vesuvius erupts every 2,000 years. It is due."
In that case, I'm glad I really did "escape from Pompeii..."