I got up this morning and left my crazy-nice roommates for Paris. I had lunch before I went to the station to catch my train. Waiting waiting waiting, I finally hear an announcement that my train is delayed. So, it was 40 minutes late making me miss my TGV connection to Paris. Not only were the trains not air conditioned, but also I was trying to figure out different routes the entire time, so there was no relaxation. My Italian improved with this dilemma. Anyhow, I reach Torino, Italy and have to book a night train due to the delay of my train, and have a good 7 hours before it is time to board. So I buy a phone card, and call as many people as I remembered numbers. I got onto the train finally at 11:55 and went to my compartment, which had to Arab speaking passengers, and then I went to the top bunk and got my bed ready.. That night I slept pretty well, considering I didn’t feel the trip took long, and I remember sleeping.
Today, I met up with Alex, Daniella and all of her friends for a day of fun in the sun. We all went out to the rocky beach, had lunch, and headed for some cliffs to dive from. The water was a little chilly, but it was really nice once you got used to it. Anyway, we spent all day on the water, and it was so nice. The views are amazing. This town, Riomaggiore, is the first of the 5 Cinque Terre towns, and you hike from each to each. So I will head for another town tonight just to see what its like. CIAO.
This morning I got up to head to the station in Naples to catch my train for La Spezia up in the north of Italy. It was a VERY long ride, and I hadn’t had much sleep the night before so I was really tired the entire day. So, I made a connection in Rome, and then headed for Pisa, to see the Leaning Tower. I got out and made it to the tower, and took the picture of of course me holding it up, and my finger pushing it up and such, so it was nice. I then made it to La Spezia to get to Cinque Terre. So after a full day of train ride, I started the hike from the station up hill to find a place to stay. Unfortunately, right when I arrived I went to the reservation area and they said, no rooms in Cinque Terre, go back to La Spazia. I was NOT about to get on the train to make another journey with all my stuff. So, I went to the street, found an American, and was asking if they knew how to get a room. Then a girl in front of us said, is it just you? So I said that I was the only one needing a room and she offered their apartment, because there were 6 beds, and only 5 there. I said if that was fine with them, and she said of course, because none of them knew each other before either. So, here I go into this apartment which is absolutely amazing. Leslie is from Colorado, and will be a freshman. Melissa is a sophomore at Colorado State, then there’s a guy from Atlanta who goes to Georgia Tech, and two Seattle people who are 27, and traveling for several months. So, it was nice to have been saved by them, and the apartment is 2 stories, has a terrace that looks out to the Mediterranean Sea, and all floors are tile. It is a sweet deal for just â‚¬21.50.
So, after dinner with my flatmates, I decide to get stuff from the grocery store like water and juices. On my way to the grocery store, I see Alex, who studied at UT on an exchange program. It turns out that he lives in this paradise!! So, we talked for a while, and he was meeting one of his friends, Daniella, from San Francisco. So, Daniella has 5 friends from San Francisco visiting with her, so I got to meet all of them, and hang out. After I met all of them, we decided to meet the next day to go to the beach together. After I left them, I headed for the grocery store again, and then I hear someone whistling at me. At first I wasnâ€™t sure it was at me, because I usually am not whistled at, but I turned around and saw Brian, who was in my Logistics 411 class with me this last semester. How random is this.. So, anyhow, I decided to hang out with him for the evening, and we sat out at a pub just meeting people and chatting. I love Europe.
This morning I got ready to visit the ruins of Pompeii. While I was sitting outside with everyone having breakfast, the bus stops, and my friend from Florence, a guy from Holland who stayed in the hostel with me, steps off the bus. How funny. Neither of us knew that we would be going to this place, so it was cool to see him. Anyhow, I leave and get on the train and head for Pompeii. With Mt. Vesuvius in the background, you come across these ruins right next to the station.Â â‚¬ 10 entrance fee was quite steep, so I opted to deny any invites for oral tours. I did however, the scammer that I am, follow around a Japanese tour for a good hour, learning about how the Romans used to use certain materials, live, and work. Little things like holes in the water fountain to prevent overflowing or something may not be obvious to the regular beholder unless someone points them out. Good thing no one suspected this white boy from Tennessee to be scamming out a Japanese tour. Anyhow, this place was amazing. I mean there were still signs for shop names, public spas and baths still with lockers and benches, a brothel with stone beds and pillows with a menu of services painted above. Tick marks along the wall also were easily seen, along with a bakery, and several fast food restaurants. You see a pizza oven and it looks the very same as those ovens they use today. The fast food marts had counter tops with circular holes in them for the pots of fresh foods.. So cool to see how preserved this place was, and I felt like I had stepped 2000 years back in time. I also met up with some guys that were in the hostel with me in Venice randomly in Pompeii, so we all headed back to Sorrento for lunch.
Talk about amazing. This place was something that looked like out of a fairy tale. Now, I consider myself to have seen some of Earth’s most beautiful places, but this one has come close to being the best I have seen.
The bus ride is one of the scariest too, for you must go on these tiny ledges to weave your way across the mountains to get to the town. It is located right on the Mediterranean and is absolutely breathtaking. This town is perched up on the cliffs and weaves all throughout the hills. The houses are all covered in pastel colors along with magenta colored flowers, and the entire town will cheer for the World Cup at each point for Italy. Even the boats on the water were honking their horns in participation of the excitement. The water was still a little bit too cold for me, but I got in anyway just to float around, then sat on the shore and enjoyed everyone’s company. These people are really cool, and one of them knows Anya Miller, from an exchange program they did in Australia together. How random!
This morning we headed out for the island of Ischia where the Talented Mr. Ripley was filmed.. Absolutely charming and beautiful, and non touristy. Everything was really cheap there, food, water, fruits. So we went to the beach with our lunches and hung out and relaxed. The water was a little too cold for me to get in, but it so was clear and blue. We then walked around the island and to the castle on the eastern side. Lounging and hanging out was really cool with Jason and Taegin, the two kids from FSU that I met at the hostel. We are having a blast and I cant believe how fast my time in Europe is going by!
This morning I got up and got on the train for Naples. This was a nice ride just because you go along the coast for part of the way. Weird thing was we stopped at some random stop (It was supposed to be nonstop), and I saw a lot of smoke coming from our car. So I went to the window to try to see what was going on, and more and more smoke just shot out. The Italians were like, oh its ok, but I don’t think everything is ok when the use of a fire extinguisher is necessary. Anyhow, they put out whatever was going on, and continued along our way to Naples. At the station there, I changed to a private line and headed for Sorrento, a little village perched on the side of cliffs on the Mediterranean. Sooo beautiful. When the train approached the station, it was going through a tunnel of trees bearing oranges and lemons. So awesome.
I made my way from the station to this hostel, seemingly the only one in Sorrento, but its cheap at a mereÂ â‚¬14 a night. So, once I get there I meet Japanese people, then others from the states. The Americans of course all hung out and we all went out for some nice dinner. I had my first try at gnochi, which is funny because it reminds me of the Japanese MOCHI, its a dumpling that is kind of sticky, and is put in tomato sauce and eaten like a pasta. Dinner was nice, and then we headed for GELATO! I cant get enough of this ice cream here!
This is a nice place to sit, so I decided to come there again this evening to hang out. There was a big marching band doing some type of parade on the steps, so it was cool to see. I then headed to a Japanese restaurant and had dinner. SUSHI. I thought it would be good to get something that wasn’t completely fat in my body for once. So, I spoke in Japanese and was asked by the chef if my mother was Japanese. I said, do I look like half-Japanese? ha. Anyhow, it was a good dinner, and I then went home to do laundry.
This place was really cool. It is a church that is simply decorated with bones from the bodies of monks. All over the walls and such were really cool designs made by the bones. The last one was a grim reaper looking guy with a reaper that was made out of scapulae. Really cool.
This morning I got up early to go wait in a never ending line to see the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. I don’t know about other travelers, but I really do get tired of Museums. I mean it’s not that it isn’t nice stuff to look at, but really, how long can you look at a picture. Also, after paying Â¬ 7 for almost every museum, it gets to the point where you would just rather enjoy yourself watching people outside in the city. Which I did, last night. I went to the Spanish Steps, and watched people get portraits done, and a really nice sunset. It was nice just to relax. Anyhow, back to the museum. After tromping through crowds and crowds following signs to the Sistine Chapel, I felt like I was going in circles, and each room you enter you wonder if it’s the chapel yet or not.
Anyhow, I find the chapel, and I must say it was impressive to think he painted all that stuff on the ceiling. The coolest picture of course is that famous one where God is reaching out to Adam I think and touching each other’s fingers. Cool, but I think it is a little over rated. Anyhow, I left and headed for some lunch and to the internet cafÃ© to look for some apartments and do email…next I am going to the Bone Crypt in Piazza del Barberini!