The end of the semester ended with a whirlwind of essays, packing and good byes. The RAs and I attended an insanely fancy high tea with champagne and waiters who place your napkin on your lap for you. There was a lovely bbq on a rooftop and finally once all the other students went home – hide and seek in the giant empty dorm building. After all of that I headed off to a week in Italy.
I know this is a little lame but it’s my last post so I know you’ll forgive me for naming each day by the flavor of gelato I ate.
On Sunday morning Julia and I got on the plane for Naples. After a pretty easy flight we arrived in the beautiful yet slightly unsafe city of Naples. We were pleasantly surprised by the warm temperature and after looking around a bit we got on the train to Sorrento, where our beautiful Hotel Florida was located. It took us a while to find it but while searching for it we glimpsed the sea and took a detour. The water was perfectly blue and we both were supremely happy. We didn’t do much sight seeing wise but spent the day reading near the pool. Later that evening when Julia’s friend and my friends Shelby and Erik arrived we had our first delicious Italian dinner.
We got up fairly early and made our to Pompeii. The ruins were so much bigger than I pictured – it really was a city! We walked around for several hours peeking in at what was left of the old shops and villas. My favorite was the amphitheatre and any bit of painting left on the walls. Vesuvius loomed in the background and I found it very easy to imagine that day in history. We got tired and thirsty after a while and we split up for the day. Julia and Ariel went to explore Naples and Shelby Erik and I went off to explore Sorrento. That night we met up with another friend, Danny, and ate dinner by the port. I had the best pizza I have ever had. It was covered in shrimp, mussels, clams, and octopus.
On our train to Roma we sat in one of those cars like in Harry Potter and attempted to speak to an old Italian man. I’m pretty sure I convinced him that my friends are married by accident but that is part of the fun of communicating with very few words. Rome is wonderful! I really do love ruins. The big piles of rocks are like props for my imagination. I could imagine Ceaser striding accross the forum, or a lion strutting around the colosseum after some poor gladiator. We explored the city and had a funny dinner in which our table was at a severe angle in a a sort of alley next to the restaurant. We ended the night by making a wish at the trevi fountain and eating gelato on the Spanish Steps.
It was a holiday so not much was open, but we did get into the Colloseum which was pretty impressive. We tried to find a concert but didn’t have any luck. We did walk around most of the city which, in my opion, is the best way to get to know any city. That evening we got dressed up and went to a fancy dinner at the resteraunt owned by family friend’s of Shelby. It was delicious and we had fun pretending to be fancy.
We left Rome in the morning and got on another train to Florence. We had the best bed and breakfast with a view of the duomo and funny little trees painting on the walls and tissue paper “clouds” hanging from the ceiling. We walked around the city and saw most a lot of the sites. We walked along the river and eventually picked up some supplies for our dinner. We ate bread, salami, wine, cheese, and nutella-to-go in our funny room. It was a great feast.
Friday: Pink Grapefruit/Azteca
I made everyone get up really early because I just had to see the David. We drank excellent coffees while we waited in line to get into the art gallery. It was really impressive. I heard it was beautiful and that it seemed like he might come alive at any moment but there is really no way to describe what it is like. After we spent some time in the gallery we ate lunch at a market suggested by the woman who owned our bed and breakfast then climbed up a big hill to get a good view of the city. We walked around sort of the rest of the day just wandering and eating more really good Italian food.
Saturday: Opera Italiana
I said good-bye to Shelby and Erik as they got on a train to Germany and I got on a train to Pisa. My Hostel in Pisa was not the worst but it was pretty bad. There were a lot of creepy older people and secret fees, which I did not appreciate. I dropped my bags off and walked around Pisa until I saw the leaning tower. It was pretty weird and honestly looked pretend from a distance. As I neared it however it really is pretty impressive. I ate gelato in the shade of the tower and people watched for a while. Afterwards I walked along the river and explored the little streets. In the evening I went to a really cool farmers market in a square near my hostel and ended by trip with one last delicious pizza made by an arguing old couple. It was a lovely end to a wonderful week.
I am now on the plane about one hour out of JFK. I’m sad to say this is my last post but not so sad to be home with family and friends. I want to thank you so much for following along on my adventures!