Well I’m officially ill… and not in a good way. I noticed a hard spot on my neck a few days ago which quickly progressed into the side of my face and neck being swollen. The helpful Italian doctors say that nothing strange is happening, but my glands are inflamed and infected because of a virus. I’ll find out exactly what aliment I have this afternoon when I see the doctor again, but until then I’m in a sort of quarantine… no class, no friends, no fun. :(
First of all, the internet in my apartment is on the fritz so I haven’t been able to update as much as I wanted, but here’s the low down on my trip this past weekend.
We left Friday morning at 6 am to head to Sorento, where we were staying for the weekend. We took a break from the 5 hour bus ride and stopped at Mount Vesuvius. I was so ready to see some gushing lava and maybe a sudden eruption from this infamous volcano. It turned out to be a little less exciting than I expected.
We hiked up the volcano, not an easy hike, I was constantly slipping on little volcanic pebbles in my toms (not the smartest choice of footwear). When we got to the top it was so foggy that we couldn’t see more than 10 feet into the crater. So our accommodating tour guide showed us some postcard pictures of what we WOULD have seen, if the clouds weren’t there… cool. It was still neat to be on the Volcano that destroyed Pompeii, but a bit of a let down coming all that way to look at a postcard.
We then got to Sorento and checked into our swanky hotel, 4 stars, with the biggest tub/shower I’ve ever seen. I could actually straighten my legs in the tub… i checked haha. We then walked around Sorento, a beautiful costal town on the Amalfi coast, famous for limoncello. We actually got to sample some at a shop after dinner one night, my favorite flavor of limoncello isn’t lemon though, it’s melon… weird.
The next morning we took a ferry to the island of Capri. While we were walking to the ferry it began to drizzle, then rain, then rain harder, then thunder and lightning… and we were about to get on a ferry in the middle of the Mediterranean… it was a little nerve racking. The ride over was rough, but we made it and luckily the sky cleared as we took a boat tour around the island. We saw natural arches, grottos, caves, and some celebrity houses of course.
We were given the entire afternoon to wander around the island and my impecable sense of direction (haha) led us down what seemed like thousands of steps to a free beach on the opposite side of the island. The water was so clear and the rocks on the beach were so smooth, I felt like Angelina Jolie on holiday, the only thing missing was an asian baby.
The highlight of the day was definitely my base jump… well I at least considered it a base jump… it was definitely higher than a diving board… maybe. There were big rocks scattered near the shore where you could jump into the water. I think they were mostly for italian bambinos, but let me tell you it is scary when you’re actually standing up, about to jump. It was really an amazing experience, once in a life time, and I’ll probably never to it again.
We just relaxed on the pebble beach for the rest of the afternoon, catching some rays, and getting some highlights (seriously I think I’m a legit blonde). It was an incredible day for sure.
The next morning we packed up and headed to Pompeii… hot, dusty Pompeii. It was interesting to learn that a penis was used as a sign of good luck and was represented on houses and in the streets. Those crazy Pompeii-ens. You could also find male genitalia, in various forms, on an assortment of postcards at the souvenir tents outside the city… Mom, sorry if you wanted one… I couldn’t bring myself to buy it haha.
This weekend was GREAT, as all my weekends have been, and I can’t believe I only have one more weekend before I come home! It has flown by.
P.S. Mom & Dad - I got an A on my Art History paper on tarot cards! Renaissance art agrees with me :)
This past weekend I went on a field trip to Monaco, Nice, and Cannes, along the French Rivera. It was an interesting trip for sure… don’t get me wrong, I had a great time, but there were some challenges along the way.
First we stopped in Monaco, an independent principality between Italy and France. Monaco is most famous for Monte Carlo and its casinos. Unfortunately we were not able to go to Monte Carlo like I had thought :( but Monaco was beautiful and the views of the Mediterranean from the hilltop/cliff/rock (whatever we were on) were gorgeous.
Then we continued on to Nice where there was a beautiful beach with incredibly clear blue water. Again, unfortunately, I did not have my bathing suit, but sitting in just my t-shirt and shorts was bearable haha. The beach was made up of smooth rocks and pebbles instead of sand so I was a little unstable walking on it and almost took a few tumbles.
The next morning we departed for a small artisan town called St. Paul de Vance (not sure about spelling… our guide’s Italian accent made the French names even more confusing). Although it was overcast, walking through the tiny walled town was incredibly relaxing and led me to imagine what my life would be like if I could live in a small house there… then I realized that these houses started at 1 or 2 million dollars and I snapped out of it real fast. The town was gorgeous nonetheless. I loved looking into all of the gallery windows at the art, inspired by the beautiful landscape around the town.
Then we went to Cannes, the place I was most excited to visit! When we were about 15 minutes away, it started pouring down rain. Thunder, lightning, and all. Then we arrived in Cannes. We sprinted of the bus, dodging the aggressive umbrella salesmen, to the closest cafe for lunch. All I had was a short-sleeved shirt and a sweater, but I thought that surely it would let up and I didn’t want to waste 5 euro on an umbrella… well looking back that was a really dumb idea… we tried the best we could to go see the red carpet and handprints of the stars, but the rain was getting harder and harder. We finally sprinted all the way back to the bus and by the time we got on, I was soaked head to toe. Wet jeans are the WORST feeling in the world. And little did I know, I was about to embark on a 9 hour bus ride in bumper-to-bumper, French Riviera, weekend traffic.
I would rather not remember the traumatic bus ride back to Florence… I must admit I frequently utilized the handle bars in front of my seat. Hanging on for dear life around curves, I felt like I was on the Bolivian death roads.
The great parts of this trip were really great and the bad parts were really bad, but overall I’m glad I got to see some of France and experience what I did. But next time I’m checking the forecast before I pack… and I’m also taking a train.
Today I took a day trip to Rome with Caroline and Jamal. The train was a breeze and I had such a relaxing ride. I was even productive and finished most of my class reading of the Alchemist! Although Jamal missed the 8:10 train, the 8:40 train served just as well and we met up at the Rome Termini.
After dodging the extremely aggressive umbrella and hat salesmen outside the trian station, we departed on the hop-on hop-off, open, double decker bus tour. We hit all of the important sites… I mean all of the important FREE sites haha. The best of all was definitely St. Peter’s Basilica. The massiveness and detail of the Basilica was incredible (my favorite part was the altar). And of course I threw a coin in the Trevi fountain :) I’ll be sure to find my way back to Rome!
Walking around, we didn’t have a guided tour so we were left guessing at the history, importance, and even the identity of the ancient ruins we saw. One in particular (below), I tried to think of my own history of the ruin and this is what I thought…
This is called the Triple Arch, or in its original Latin “Tri Arches.” This was built on the spot where St. Nicholas was beheaded. After his beheading, St. Nicholas collected some candy canes, melted the down, and used the sugar to glue his head back on. Once his head was on straight, he hiked all the way to the North Pole and today is called Santa Clause…
I guess it was a bit hot outside and I was thinking of colder weather. My history of the arches served as some entertainment on our scorching walk around the colosseum, circus maximus, and what we think was the roman forum… maybe… still need to do some research on the pictures I took to know for sure haha.
Overall it was a very successful day, I’m so glad I saw Rome… you can’t come to Italy for 4 weeks and not even see Rome! Although I would suggest a tour guide, or at least a guide book. Otherwise you’re left to your own (in my case wild) imagination.