Pompeii | My Family Travels
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            There are few moments in life when your jaw truly drops to the ground with amazement. Those moments, when you are honestly consumed in your surroundings, are very tough to come by. I had the opportunity to go on a twelve day Mediterranean Cruise with my family that would change my life. The Royal Caribbean ship set sail and took us to seven breathtaking stops in several countries such as France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece. It was a once in a lifetime experience to share with my immediate family and my aunt who I rarely get to see. Among the various ports we stopped at, Pompeii, Italy was the most intriguing place we visited. I knew that it had been buried by a volcano but I wasn’t very interested at first. I wasn’t excited at the thought of walking around a bunch of ruins all day, in the hot sun, looking at abandoned stones that people used to call houses. When I got there, walking among the ruins of a city that was once a home for so many innocent people, it hit me; it was much more than a bunch of rocks. I was pretty surprised to see sewer systems in a city I expected to not be very advanced. These “rocks” that I initially had no interest in seeing were covered in impressive mosaics and paintings that I’d never witness anything similar to.  I also realized how fortunate I was to visit a place with so much hidden history. It was like I was entering a world completely different from my own. Walking down those desolate streets, listening to the tour guide’s stories, you could just imagine what it was like to live there so long ago. The truth is, when you visit a place where such a tragedy occurred, you can never escape that feeling no matter how long it has been. The sadness lingered over me as I witnessed the plaster castings of a man praying and a pregnant woman buried in volcanic ash and debris. It meant so much to me to be allowed to enter this buried world with so much history. It truly is a miracle that this evidence can be preserved and people can still step into the reality of Pompeii’s ancient civilization thousands of years later.
            Unfortunately, many people just leave there with little souvenirs and awesome pictures, but I left with a whole lot more. I had a new understanding of an ancient culture that I would have never cared about had I not gone there and saw for myself. I walked through those houses and imagined the pain and panic that they felt. It made me remember how important life is and how small we truly are in this world. To some people this is a forgotten city but it will always remain in my mind as an experience I could never replace. It also brought to my attention how important it is to preserve ancient artifacts and culture. If someone hadn’t taken care of this place, I would have never had the adventure I had. This has shown me how crucial it is to respect natural beauty and take the time to learn about it and respect it. Overall, my trip to Pompeii meant the world to me because it was life changing. It made me a better person because I don’t take life for granted and I know the importance of preserving natural things. Pompeii may be the buried city but its culture is still very much alive when you visit this amazing place.
                     Emily Egner

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