Monday, September 14, 2009

You live, you learn: A weekend in Sorrento, Pompeii, & Capri

I’ve returned to Rome yet again, and I must say that it was quite a trip. I think we all underestimated how complicated planning the logistics for traveling was going to be, which this past weekend definitely taught us. Don’t get me wrong—I still got to see lots of amazing things and had a good time, but it was certainly a learning experience.

On Friday evening, we took a bus to the subway to the train station, where we took the train to Naples. Once we arrived in Naples, we had to buy yet another train ticket to get to Sorrento where we stayed for the weekend. Once arriving in Sorrento, however, our hostel was an approximately 25 minute walk from the train station. With our backpacks. At night. On tiny, winding roads. Uphill.

Needless to say, we were all exhausted and rather relieved when we finally arrived in at the hostel! It was a pretty nice place, just in a very inconvenient location.

This was also only the beginning of the various transportation methods we employed throughout the trip that included more trains, buses, ferries, subways, cars, tons of walking, and even a rowboat!

On Saturday, we went to Mt. Vesuvius. We took a shuttle most of the way up the volcano and then hiked the rest of the way up. Seeing the crater was amazing, as well as the fantastic view from the top. It was also very appropriate considering that we went to Pompeii afterwards. Just seeing the volcano that caused all of that was really impressive.

Pompeii itself was fantastic. I loved it. Seeing an almost completely preserved Roman town was just so compelling. The history major in me was basically thrilled. However, walking around Pompeii after hiking at Mt. Vesuvius basically wore us all out so we were again extremely tired by the time it was over.

Sunday morning, we got up early and took the first ferry over to Capri. At Capri, we visited the famous Blue Grotto and did a little bit of shopping. The Blue Grotto was wonderful! It definitely looks like something that is man-made, which makes it even more miraculous that it was solely created by nature. (You have to ride in a rowboat to get into the grotto, if you were wondering where the rowboat came in.) Capri itself was a beautiful island, but it was also a little bit too crowded and touristy for my taste.

After spending some time at Capri, we took the early afternoon ferry back to Sorrento. We planned on riding a bus back to Rome, but it unfortunately ended up being full, so we were out of luck on that account. Instead we ended up taking the train back the way we had came, which was a bit stressful. However, we all got back to Rome just fine, even though we were exhausted.

All in all, it really was a good weekend, even with frustrating things that happened. There were a lot of things I learned that will be very useful on future trips, so even that wasn’t all bad (for example, I overpacked—that backpack got really heavy after awhile).

And then, I had to get up and go to class this morning! School doesn’t stop, even when I’m gone traveling for the weekend, but I really can’t complain. Afterall, I’m still in Rome!


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