08 August 2008

Italian Excursion...

Oh the joy of visiting friends!! Pure bliss!!

Vicki has been studying abroad in Rome for 6 weeks, so her last week I went down to visit! And oh, the adventures that were had....

I got in incredibly late on Saturday night, so Vicki and I just sat up and caught up, repacked to get ready for our trip and then crashed. Early Sunday morning we got up and took a train down to Sorrento. Since Sorrento is rather expensive, we stayed one train stop away in San Angello. Upon dropping off our bags, we went back to Sorrento and explored. We actually came across a processional, and evidently it was a celebration for the Virgin Mary. They came past the restaurant we were eating in, and so afterwards we happened upon the church they ended up in, so we got to listen to a little bit of the teaching. The rest of the evening was filled with simply enjoying the sights, people watching, and trying to figure out why there were fireworks at random times during the evening! Oh, I almost forgot, on our way down to Sorrento, we stopped in Pompeii and explored the archeological site!! We actually wandered off the beaten path and truly enjoyed getting a feel for the city.
On Monday we got up early and took a boat to Capri. What an absolutely gorgeous island! The cliffs, the water, the rock formations! Since there really is nothing to the town you arrive in, we decided to try to see the Blue Grotto... and ended up getting a full boat tour of the island. When we got around to the Blue Grotto it was actually too choppy to get in. So, we finished our boat tour, and ended up renting a boat of our own to explore!! We tried renting scooters but the guy wouldn't rent them to us... he basically said that it was too dangerous for two girls. :( Sadness. Oh well, we had a blast out on the boat by ourselves!! Just Vicki, me, and the open sea!! That pretty much ended our day... we meandered around the town, but our boat adventures captured the majority of the day.
Let's see... Tuesday we got up and headed to Amalfi! Again, we took a boat there, and spent a few hours just walking around. We did some shopping, enjoyed lunch, and of course, tried Lemonchello. I can say I've had it, and did not enjoy it! ;) The taste was too much for me. As the afternoon came around, we made our way back to Rome. Where Vicki introduced me to the basics of Rome... the Vatican, gelato, and the Colosseum at night! AMAZING! I was giddy with excitement walking down the street towards the Colosseum. Almost to the point of skipping! I absolutely adore Rome at night!!
Wednesday and Thursday were filled with sightseeing in the fabulous Rome!! Saw the Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, Capitoline Hill, Palantine Hill, Roman Forum, Colosseum, Trajan's Forum, Piazza Colonna, and Villa Borghese. Oh, and we went out to Gandolfo, which is where the Pope's summer home is!
Friday I spent the entire day between the Vatican Museum and the Vatican. That evening was the study abroad programs final dinner... so we enjoyed dinner out and walked the hill to a fountain overlooking the city!
Saturday we headed up to the Cinque Terre area. We had a campground in Deiva Marina. That afternoon we went swimming in Monterosso, then enjoyed dinner on the shoreline.
Sunday we hiked the Cinque Terre... from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, which is the harder way, and I must say, the most enjoyable!! The first two sections are the toughest, but oh do they provide incredible coastline views!!! That evening we headed back to our favorite of the 5 cities, Vernazza... it's a cute little fishing town on the water, there were locals out with their children, fishermen out on the jetties,... it was too picture perfect! Vicki and I had dinner and then went and layed down on the jetties ... the sky was crystal clear and the stars were out in masses! We actually saw quite a few shootings stars too!!
Upon going back to Rome on Monday, we spent the evening at a festival in Castel S. Angelo. There was live music, incredible views of the city, and all around good times.... and from the top of Castel we could see one of the markets that we frequented. The market was much larger this particular evening and they were playing ping-pong/fussball, and all sorts of games in the street. So, we played ping-pong in the streets of Rome at midnight, just for fun!!! We had so much fun!!!
Our last day, Tuesday, we took it easy. The morning was spent shopping and buying last minute souveniors, and the afternoon we spent at a local park, Villa Pamphili. We took books and some wine out to the park and rested. It was so peaceful! The people watching was wonderful too... seriously, there were grandpas playing cards in the park! That evening we went to Piazza Navono and had dinner. This quickly became my favorite piazza! It's filled with street musicians playing for those eating dinner, artists selling their work, and it's visually the quentiessential Italy! After dinner, as our last thing in Rome, we went to the Trevi fountain. We threw our pennies (Euro) in, took lots of pictures, and then said our good-byes to Rome!

This is definitely an abbreviated version of our trip... but Vicki and I had an incredible time!! Good times were had by all!! :) I will post pictures just as soon as I can.... I took almost 9 gigs worth, so be patient!

Highlights for me: boating in Capri, Colosseum/Vatican in Rome, the hike, and Vernazza!

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