Campania Weekend

Trip Start Aug 28, 2005
Trip End May 25, 2006

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This last weekend was our first overnight trip with CEA. It was a blast, as we headed to the Southern coast of Italy to Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri. We left early Friday morning by bus, and arrived first in Pompeii. Pompeii is actually an old city that was completely destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted thousands of years ago. Now, it's just a bunch of old ruins that are continuously maintained and studied since the eruption, and tourists are able to tour the old city, see the art, and also some bodies that were recovered from the ashes of the eruption. It was a really neat place to be. The weather definitely matched the mood of the old town, the rain barely holding off for us. It was a really interesting place, seeing how they lived thousands of years ago. And they were incredibly smart - running water and all! After Pompeii, we ate a traditional Italian 4 course lunch - once again, amazing! After we were all full, we got on the bus again and headed to Sorrento, our destination for the night.

Sorrento is a really cool little city. Placed on the rocks and cliffs above the ocean, it's amazing to see this little fishing village come to life at night! We stayed in the nicest 4 Star hotel that any group of traveling students will ever stay in...and the shower and TV availability made the trip worth it! It was the best shower since I've been in Italy (shower head actually attached to the wall), and it was nice to be able to watch CNN and catch up on everything happening in Louisiana. I feel so far removed from the US and all the happenings over there, it almost doesn't seem real. We siesta'd from the long bus ride, and then hit the town. We were on our own that night, and it was a lot of fun to eat dinner and just hang out with other CEA kids. We walked around Sorrento, which was incredibly touristy, and then made it an early night, ready for Capri the next morning!

Capri was also amazing (It seems like the theme for this year is "amazing"...but it really is!) We loaded a ferry to take us to the remote island of Capri, off the Almafi coast of Italy. I wasn't quite sure what to expect of Capri. I had heard a lot of different things, from how celebrities own houses and vacation there, and how it's this amazing tropical paradise, but on this little teeny island. I didn't quite know. Once we got there, we hiked from the harbor town up to the actual town of Capri. It was a very steep hike with a rumored 900 steps, but I didn't count! The views on the hike were, once again, amazing! The turquoise water, looking out over the entire coast..sigh. When we made it to Capri, we decided to wander around the little touristy town, and had a good time. It was really touristy and expensive, but it was still fun to just wander and look to the side and see this amazing view. After Capri, we took a bus up to the higher town of Anacapri. It was about a 5 minute bus-ride up the littlest roads on the side of this mountain, but we made it. After the bus ride, we had lunch and shopped some more in Anacapri. Then, the best part of the trip came - we took a gondola ride up to the very top of the island. It was incredible! The gondolas were only single person, and a little sketchy - just a bar over your lap! We went up, and it seemed like we just went up and up and up, but the view was totally worth it. I took lots of pictures (which I will load later this week) but I know that they are not going to do the place justice. I literally felt like I was on the top of the world. The clouds were so close, and land seemed so far away...the serenity up there was equal to like a week of yoga. I had been tired and exhausted and frustrated up to that point from the long days prior, but that view and being up there was so refreshing and rejuvenating. The ride down was a little scary, but still a lot of fun. It was really steep, just as if you were to ride a ski lift down instead of up the mountain. But, we made it down. After we came down from Anacapri, it was time to swim in the ocean in Capri! It was not really a beach - but filled in rocks, and the water was also really rocky, but I can now say that I swam in the ocean in Capri! We left for the long journey home on a ferry to Naples, then a bus back to Rome. It was really weird when we came back into Rome - it was the first time that I felt like I was home. I saw the Vatican, and Trestevere (the neighborhood that school is in) and it was a weird home-coming kind of feeling. I know I've only been here for 2 weeks, but I already feel kinda attached to this place. When we got back to our apartment, I was back in familiar territory, and it felt good to be back on the confusing and frustrating bus systems, to meet people who didn't speak English (unlike the touristy places we were at the weekend before) and walk by the Vatican everyday. I'm starting to feel comfortable here, as weird as that is and as much as I miss things about home.

That's about this week, and wine tasting tonight. Should be a lot of fun to learn all about the wine that I've been drinking since I've been here. I'll hopefully get to put my knowledge to test when we go to Tuscany the beginning of November! This week ahead includes class, homework, a trip to the beach on Friday, and Notte Bianca on Sat. night. Apparently it's this huge festival all throughout the city of Rome, where no one goes to sleep, and nothing closes - the city just stays awake all night! The past couple of weeks have been the time when the city starts getting busy again with actual Romans, not just tourists, and this is the first big celebration with Romans. Should be a lot of fun, but sounds like it'll be tiring, since we might not go to bed at all. Well, when in Rome!

I hope all is well in the US, and wherever else this finds you. GU Florence kids...hope your flight over went well, and I will see you soon - welcome to Italy!
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