Friday, April 18, 2003

well, campers. i think this is going to be my very last post. which is exciting and sad. i'm ready to go home, it's been a long trip and i'm looking forward to some of the comforts of home, a kitchen, a refrigerator, my own bed, a shower shared by less than 8 people, a couch, tv in english, the x-files, free internet, people who speak and understand english.... i'm looknig forward to many things. i'll miss cheap wine, sunshine (unless summer has arrived in NE in my absence.... i doubt it), and the excitement of seeing new things.

yesterday and today i've pretty much been kicking around sorrento, taking it easy, napping in the afternoon, and finishing my book. my big purchase for today was a pair of sandals, which i got to choose the heel, the style of the straps, the color and *then* (as if that wasn't enough) they were fitted to my foot. very cool. and i'm so pleased.

so a lazy afternoon today, maybe a nap, and tomorrow morning i start my trek home. i'll see you all soon.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003

oof. so the computers at my hostel are completely unreliable AND have very old, very buggy browsers that crash when i try to: 1.login to my e-mail and here. so needless to say it was a little frustrating to be paying for not being able to do anything. but here i am at a real computer that works and stuff. so exciting. who knew such fabulous things existed. anyway.

so i've been taking it super easy so far. lots of sitting around and spacing out, i'll give you the highlights of my last few days:

sunday: when of course everything is closed, and transportation is unreliable (doubly so, because there was another train strike this weekend) i had the perfect day planned. i walked out to the capo del sorrento, where there are some un-impressive roman ruins and i sat in the sun for a while, being careful not too burn on the first day and thought about going for a swim (the water was too cold, even for this northerner) and did lots of reflecting on my trip so far.

monday: took a bus to the town of positano, which is built into the side of some cliffs with a little beach. needless to say, i sunned. and then had a lovely meal (i like to take myself out every so often) and walked up and down endlessly, exploring the town and its' shops. sat up late chatting with a welsh girl and an australian girl from my hostel.

tuesday: went to capri. which should have been great. but capri's only redeeming quality is it's beautiful coastline. on the ferry ride over they were trying to sell us drinks, souvenirs and tours the whole time (this was a 25 minute ferry). when i got on the island the guy at the ticket booth ripped me off on my ticket for the funiculare to the top of the cliff. so that really pissed me off. there were far too many people and only expensive shops. so i took some hikes in the less touristed parts of the island which were beautiful, thoroughly tired myself out and then got the hell off that island. had a huge pizza for dinner.

wednesday: hump day. and i'm glad of it. am very tired today.... honestly quite ready to get home. so after today the week should fly by, i'm hoping. despite my laziness, i am in amalfi today, where it is lovely. will most likely lay on the beach for a little while. am too tired to do anything else.

sigh. so there it is. i'm not sure how long it will be before i find another computer on the entire coast that actually works, but i will try to post at least one more time before i come home on sunday.


Saturday, April 12, 2003

seems like forever since i've posted! and it might have been longer, they guy at the desk earlier told me the computers were broken, and the internet cafe is only open in the morning on saturday and not at all on sunday.

so after my initial, rainy, crappy day in naples things got a little better (because i left naples). thursday i went to pompei, despite the forecast of rain. when i first arrived it was quite windy and i thought it would be a miserable day. but soon after it stopped raining all together and the sun came out for a little bit (!). so it rained off and on and was actually sort of warm while i explored pompei. which i though was FANTASTIC, by the way. better than the ancient ruins in rome. maybe because it seems so much more personal, you can really see the roads and houses and shops. it was very, very cool. plus i kind of dug the petrified people... :P

friday i took a day trip to the island of ischia, which through my hostel i got a little deal. see the ferry costs 12 euro each way and i got a package through my hostel that i paid 28 euro for and it included roundtrip ferry and a full meal at one of 4 restaurants. only i didn't get to spend as much time on the island as i wanted to... there was some confusion about the ferries... the annoying man at the hostel (who kept giving me creepy-man-on-the-street looks) told me i could take this certain ferry and so i thought i would be able leave naples at 10:30 and stay on ischia until 6:40. but when i arrived at the port i learned that i was mis-informed and the next ferry wasn't until 12:30, and the last ferry back was at 5:10. so after getting to the island (it's an hour ride) and taking a local bus to the center where the restaurant was, actually *finding* the restaurant and eating, i had barely enough time to get back to the port and take a short walk. so a little dissapointing. but ischia was beautiful.

today i arrived in sorrento, which is a million times lovely-er than naples. though my room seems like it will be a little... cozy? it's pretty small, and i have to be on the top bunk - which i hate. oh well. so today i just explored a little bit and bought......


very exciting. so tonight i'm going to paint my toenails and tomorrow i'm take a walk to the point of sorrento and hopefully get some sun for a change!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

sigh. so i think i can say with certainty, despite having only been here for 24 hours and despite the cold weather and rain, that sadly i do not reccomend naples.

it's just kind of a dirty, crowded city with crazy drivers and not a whole lot to see or do. so i'm pretty disapointed, and looking forward to the day trips i've planned to take from here.

so i'm off to get some true neopolitan pizza, and i'll go back to the hostel to eat my ciocolatta con peporocino, chocolate with chilis, and cozy up in my bed to read for the afternoon. oh well.

Sunday, April 6, 2003

even having seen pictures of the colleseum and the roman ruins, i was not prepared for what i saw when i stepped out of the subway station - wow. much the same sort of wow i had stepping out of the train station in venice, you know what it's supposed to be like, but you have no idea...

so today i explored the ancient city of rome. i started at the roman forum, which is the site of many temples and ruins of old civic buildings and arches and such. after i went to the palantine hill, which is supposedly the hill on which romulus and remus were raised by the she-wolf and the site of the original city of rome. it became a very posh neighborhood in the early 100's and later was solely home to palaces of emporers, so now the ruins of those palaces are there. then the colleseum. which is cool, the biggest amphitheater i've seen, but i think the best part is the area that used to be under the main floor, where the animals were kept and stuff. then i went to see the fountain of truth, which was made famous by audrey hepburn in "roman holiday", so if you haven't seen that movie, you should.

so that was a lot of walking.... and i am quite tired. someone left a book near the tv, so i took it and left the books i've been trying to unload for a little while now. so i'm reading "jackdaws" by ken follet. could be interesting, at least it's long. it's sad when something i look for in a book to read is how long it'll last.... ;P

tomorrow is my final day in rome, and a pretty laid back day, i'll be doing some people watching and some shopping (it's really time for sandals now)

Saturday, April 5, 2003

my first full day in rome. i really like this city, and there's so much history to it, which is great. although there are also a lot of people on the streets trying to sell you the same old crap everyday all the time. some of the most common are - ball on a string, sunglasses, watches, knockoff designer handbags, and a bubble gun. although today i was approached by a man who was holding some string in his hand... i'm not sure i understand what he was trying to sell, and actually speaking to these people just encourages them, so i didn't find out.

i went to the vatican museums this morning (well, morning is a relative term, i was *forced* to go out to the pub last night with some people from the hostel....) which were kind of cool. it was rather amusing actually, because it's all very orchestrated, sort of like herding cattle, you just sort of follow the roped off path. and from the very beginning the signs say (top to bottom) this museum, that museum and always at the bottom is sistine chapel. so there are of course people who are just racing through to get to the chapel and not even looking at anything. but for what a ticket costs, i was going to check out the museum as well. what i found the most interesting was the "modern" religious art. i've been seeing so much classical, medieval, and renaissance religious art it was cool to see some really modern stuff, there was some stuff by salvador dali, picasso, and a lot of traditional subjects (the crusifiction, crowning of the virgin, etc.) in completely crazy and modern styles.

by the time i finally got to the sistine chapel (and that was really spectacular, it is just so intricate and beautiful) and moved along the path to the exit it was 1:30 so i took off to find the place i was planning on taking myself out to lunch at, which happened to be on the other side of the river, so i left st. peter's for later. had one of my all time favorite dishes for lunch, spaghetti alla carbonara... yum.

i checked out piazza navona, which is a place where in ancient times they would have horse races around it, or fill it with water and have mock naval battles, but now it just has three really cool fountains. and near there is the pantheon, which was a lot bigger than i had imagined, and has (i think) the largest half-dome on a building that isn't supported by any beams or arches. very cool. st. peter's is just humoungous - i think it's the biggest, or second biggest church in the world and wow, it is indeed big.

so tomorrow i'm planning on spending the day exploring the ancient city, which is luckily open on sunday(!) unlike just about everything else.

Friday, April 4, 2003

yesterday was supposed to be my day in a charming tuscan, hilltop village - montalcino. and indeed, that's what i did yesterday, only it was raining. all day. so i got no photos of a place that is supposedly terribly picturesque. i actually i did take one photo, of myself, in the fog holding my umbrella. just to say i was there.

and i was there, and i had a really great lunch - gnocchi in truffle cream - which was oh-so-divine, i have never had anything with truffle before, and now i think i'm hooked. :) and my main course was tuscan sheeps cheese, baked in honey, which was terribly good and i slathered it all over some bread. though i think later i came to the conlusion that cheese as a main course was a mistake.... and of course i had a glass of brunello. it's the famous wine of the town, supposedly the best italian red wine. and it was good. and i had more! after my lunch i wen to an enoteche (wine bar) and did a little tasting with an amusing american couple from the northeast. i got to try three different brunellos, and one "super tuscan". all very good, and all VERY expensive, especially for me!!! but worth it. :)

today i had to get up very early in order to get to my hostel in rome by the check-in deadline. ugh. but obviously, i'm on vacation, i'm getting plenty of sleep. ;P so after a change in chiusi, where it was freezing, i arrived in the humoungous termini (this train station is more like an airport!!! it's huge!) and at my hotel where it is warm and lovely. so now i'm off to go sandal shopping!!! ciao!