An Unexpected Hen Do Among Ancient Ruins

March 2, 2016
italy
An Unexpected Hen Do Among Ancient Ruins

During the summer before my wedding, I traveled to Italy to work for a couple of months. I considered this adventure my personal farewell to singledom. With friends back home who were mostly married with children, I didn’t expect an extravagant hen do. Besides, I was just glad to be marrying a great guy.

After an intense six weeks in Rome that culminated in a grueling final exam, I was happy to relax. I headed to a region called Campania in the south of Italy.

An Unexpected Hen Do Among Ancient Ruins

Beautiful and a little rugged, Campania is the location of Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, of Herculaneum and Capri. It is a volcanic region that simultaneously smells of sulfur and the sea. Meeting me in Campania, in a small town called Cumae, were other professionals. We were a group of Classicists—Latin and Ancient Greek researchers, students, professors, and teachers. We were, in fact, a bunch of nerds.

By day, we explored the places like the subterranean world of the Roman cistern Piscina Mirabilis. We climbed Mount Vesuvio in the hot Mediterranean sun, applying sunscreen liberally. We purchased too much perfume on Capri and paid for tailor-made sandals. We ticked off everything one can do in Southern Italy. In the evenings, we enjoyed the best of meals. Our food was prepared by the villa owners—fresh bread, hand rolled pasta shells, and local table wine.

With friends back home who were mostly married with children, I didn’t expect an extravagant hen do. Besides, I was just glad to be marrying a great guy.

We cracked nerdy jokes in Pompeii while visiting the famous brothel and stood in awe at the beautiful frescoes in the Villa of Mysteries. One site that surprised all of us by its beauty was the archaeological remains at Pestum. A former Greek colony, Pestum boasts three gorgeous Doric temples with “pillow-like” capitals. Whilst walking among the ruins and giggling at the name of a Roman temple, “Mens Bona,” I realized how special this experience was.

Then, my new friends forever cemented a place in my heart by throwing me a surprise hen do! In a villa. In Italy. After indulging in mozzarella di bufala, fresh bread and fiori di zucca (fried corgette flowers), we gathered for an impromptu bash.

An Unexpected Hen Do Among Ancient Ruins

The standard toilet-paper-wedding-dress design contest seemed more stylish with Italian toilet paper. The designs were nicely done and the photos were hilarious. A couple of friends gave me gifts that included a local ceramic dish with Mount Vesuvius depicted on it and small trinkets from historical sites. They gave me marriage advice and we laughed whilst filling our souls with prosecco and locally made wine. We were only slightly hungover the next day.

It was the greatest hen do I could have imagined—and one I certainly didn’t expect. And the best part is that each time I teach my students about Italy, I relive that magical night.

An Unexpected Hen Do Among Ancient Ruins top photo credit: Renaud Camus

This article was written in collaboration with Expedia.

 

About Rosina Khan

Rosina Eileen Khan is an award-winning classicist, Fulbright recipient, and historical architecture enthusiast. She seeks to help readers appreciate their built environment. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana (USA) and throughout her travels stops to marvel at the architecture around her. More of Rosina’s work can be found at www.rosinakhan.com, and she welcomes communication at: rosinakhan@icloud.com.

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