Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Italian Job

You would think that hiking up Mt. Vesuvius would be the great story I had to tell from yesterday. In actuality it was the drive down off the volcano that gets all the credit. One, there were so many people making the trek to the top it didn't really feel adventurous. Although it was super cool. The trip down off the mountain is the story that needs telling and I'm happy to say I'm still here to tell it.
The bus driver now, he was a character. He came rolling up the hill, hand on horn and threw open the doors  while chanting a chorus of (with thick Italian accent) Pompei, Pompei, Pompei! Pronounced: Palm-Pay-UHH! Palm-Pay-UHH! Palm-Pay-UHH!!!  Those of us who were waiting scurried over, jumped on the bus, and took our obligatory places. We didn't get the last ass in the seat before he closed the door and began this three point turn in this tiny space with tourists milling about paying no attention to the fact they were about to come face to face with the Dirty Harry of bus drivers. He backed up, pulled forward, and seemingly sideways all the while yelling, Oh! Hey! Oh! Aay!! And making what I gather was the sound a person makes when squished by a bus filled with tourists.This had the back of the bus giggling with laughter, for now. After some expert manuvering, we left them all behind in a cloud of ash, most of them pressed against a wooden railing with a look of terror on their faces. Here's where it gets good. This guy didn't give two shits about anything. Literally, we took out some guys side mirror and missed other cars and buses by mere inches as the bus tossed us to and fro, side to side. At
one point there was an audible gasp from the entire bus as we damn near came up on two wheels around one of the 100 or so bends in the road which switchbacked down the mountain side. The giggling disappeared to be replaced with strong grips on the seat in front of us and a few Hail Marys and Our Fathers. We did finally make it down into the city where he
stopped on occasion to talk to other old Italian guys. There was a lot of hand waving and Ohs and ayhs! It looked as if they were all angry with one another, but he always pulled away smiling, so I'm guessing its just a thing in Italy. Genghis Khan finally dropped us at the station near the square wherein we all filed of the bus thankful to be alive and, whether you were religious or not, crossing ourselves as we passed in front of a cathedral that I'm sure God put there intentionally to gather any lost sheep that made it off bus in one piece...and scene.


  1. Crazy experiences make great stories. Thanks for sharing, Kristine. Safe travels!

  2. Yikes!! Yeah, I've most certainly left my fingerprints imbedded in numerous seat backs and arm rests over the years. Our race to the Entebbe airport in Uganda from the Virunga Mountains, an 8-hour drive along mountainous one-lane roads for much of the way, was one of them. This pic was made by me, leaning out the bus window and looking back at the road we just traveled. . Glad you made it down in one piece. But, what a trip!! ~Di

    1. Pic won't show. We'll share images when you get back.