Monday, May 13, 2013
Last Travel Weekend - Going Out With a Bang
Within a timespan of 24 hours this weekend, I stepped foot in 7 different cities. But I'll get to that in a bit. Friday I had a field trip with my Italian cinema class to a town called Chioggia which is close to Venice. A recent film called Io Sono Li was filmed there and we were meeting with a photographer who worked on the film to explore the city for a day to get a feel for the setting before watching the movie. Once again, our professor Guilia is awesome, so I told her that I could tour two more churches just for her. But after the churches we went to a fish market which was awesome! All sorts of fresh seafood and the vendors would joke with you and try to scare you with fish...but come on I'm not scared of a shrimp sorry. One guy gave me a star fish though which was awesome. The photographer, Massimo, who's this crazy hippie-ish guy took candid pictures of us all day which was really cool. He also suggested that we go to this restaurant for lunch. Except it's not really a restaurant. There's no menu and no prices. You just go to this guy Jackie's house and he cooks whatever he has caught for the day. Guilia warned us that it was a strange place, kind of looked like a crypt, but the food was good. Strangest. Experience. Ever. Words can't describe, but we all made it out alive...and better than that...decently tipsy - because only in Italy can you go on a field trip and get slightly drunk around your professor. But she said the only rules were we couldn't drive the boat or fall in the water. After lunch we went on a boat trip around the lagoon! It was a beautiful afternoon, sunshine, music on the boat, and just so much fun! We stopped at a beach and I put my feet in the Adriatic Sea!! After the field trip, Amanda and I got ready for our big night train adventure. We had a minor freak out when we thought we had lost a train ticket, and after frantically looking, realized that one of the tickets was for two adults. We were then ready for journey from Padova to Verona to get on the night trip before switching in Rome at 6 am to arrive in Napoli at 8 am. Unforunately we had this horribly mean lady in our cabin. When I sat down, she put her smelly feet on my seat and didn't move them all night! And at one point when I was all curled up in my seat because the seats were so uncomfortable and freezing cold and my neck hurt - I kid you not her foot were fondling my ass. Like put yo feet on your own seat lady. You do not own this cabin. But, since the night train was such a low point, everything could only get better. Once in Napoli we explored for a few hours. The guide book described it as a city of contradictions and indeed it was. It was a pretty dirty city, and many times when I felt uncomfortable, but then there would be random beautiful buildings (okay we went inside one church, but only one) and scoured the streets for a pizza place that would be open at 10:30 am. We sort of succeeded, but it was definitely only first lunch. We then hopped on another train and proceeded to Pompeii!! So cool to finally go to a place that I have studied so much. It was quite serene and so interesting. Eerie but nature-y. We placed don't touch the lava and jumped from rock to rock. Too soon? Maybe. After Pompeii, we finally headed to Sorrento (the 7th city in 24 hours) and arrived in our little camp site. We stayed at this adorable little bungalow. The campsite had a pool so we chilled there for a bit. We headed into town for dinner and checked out the port etc. Here's the thing about the South. Everyone is SOOO friendly. We made so many friends in all the little shops on the street. Everyone wants to talk with you and it was so nice to use our Italian so much. I bought some pistachio cream from a shop because it's my favorite and I had never seen it in a purchase-able form!! We went to bed as early as we could to prepare for our next epic day. In the morning, we rose and had free breakfast at the campsite. Then we hopped on a boat for CAPRI!!! My first time to an island. It was amazingly breathtaking. I obviously can't put it into the words, and the pictures can't do it justice. We started off our day haggling with cute boys for the best price for a boat trip around the island to see the grottos and cliffs. Beautiful indeed. We then pleaded and pleaded with Mother Nature to keep the sun out so we could take some beach time and go swimming!! The water was gorgeous and so refreshing!! We explored the center town - so ritzy. Beautiful hotels though. Expensive. One was 1000 euro a night. But crazy beauty everywhere. Then comes the interesting part. While we were walking we saw a sign that said danger falling rocks, with a little sign underneath that said "the last paradise of Capri" soooo we started walking down this cliff on this narrow little trail and essentially stumbled across this little nudist colony. It was such an interesting experience. They were very nice and the guy in charge let us going swimming (we kept our suits on don't worry) and we jumped off a cliff and then the guy gave us a CD with three songs that he's written throughout his life. So intriguing. So bizarre. We then headed back to centro and climbed up to Anacapri, which I guess is a different town on the same island or something like that. Then we got on our boat and headed back home. Important things that then happened: caught up with all of our friends in the street shops. Purchased a limoncello glass, and had a limoncello cream crepe. Oh man. It was so deliciously ridiculous. Wow. Wish I had an endless supply. Ok best part. We were walking back to our campsite along this windy road that climbs up this cliff and has amazing views of the port. We heard this loud noise. I hesitated for a second and then thought "oh man" and slowly turned around to see a huge firework explode over the harbor. That's right. Italian fireworks over the Sorrento harbor to end our last excursion of the semester. It was so unreal. I definitely shed a tear or two. I wish Dad could've been there to see it. We had a lovely dinner at the restaurant at the camp site. We made great friends with the waiters. Omg I stumbled across this crazy ugly mini-mechanical bull, but was quite excited obviously. Then we went to bed because we had an early morning with a 6:50 train to catch. But one final story. We were walking along the rode to the train station and some guy in his driveway asked if we were going in centro and needed a ride. In the U.S. I would never get into some random dude's car, but man, the South just makes you trust people. He was so incredibly nice and dropped us off right at the train station so that we had enough time to get coffee before starting our long trek back home. Luckily we used Italotreno instead of Trenitalia, which is such a far superior train company and we actually have a love affair with them. I'm so happy that my last train ride was with them instead of Trenitalia even though we were 20 minutes delayed (I still think it was somehow Trenitalia's fault) so I missed my entire class instead of part of it, but oh well. It was a memorable weekend and I'm glad I was able to experience the South because I'm taking a whole course on it next semester! I can't believe I only have two weeks left. It's krazy times indeed.