In Sorrento, at the end of a week’s walk along the Path of the Gods I looked out over the darkness and into the sea to find a shadow rising from the depths: Vesuvius, one of history and imagination’s most famous volcanoes. Its shoulders sloped with volcanic majesty – but to my surprise it wore a bright shining necklace of shimmering city lights.
This image, this glimpse was all I managed to see of the stony symbol that suffocated 16000 lives and destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum nearly 2000 years ago.
Perhaps I’d expected to see it preserved from that time as well, wrapped in isolation and folded into a toga with a wreath of leaves flung onto the side for good measure.
Perhaps I hadn’t expected the sky to flame, burning with the reflected life of a modern Italian city.
Or perhaps I just longed to get closer, to peer into the geological fires of history.
I’m not sure. The only thing there’s no perhaps about is that one day I hope to return.
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com