Friday, August 20, 2010

Ca Ca Ca Capri!!!!

Monday March 22nd, 2010
Monday morning Emily and I met with a new tour guide that usually drove the city bus, that was Sorin’s friend because Sorin had already had a tour booked before us. So we met both of them outside the hotel in the morning and they acted like our body guards when we went to the ATM’s to get money for all of the entry fees for the monasteries for the day. It was funny. I felt like I was the President with someone casually watching out for me leaning on our car and the other around the corner. :) Usually an entrance fee to a monastery was 3 leu (lion) which was about a dollar, and most places in Romania charge you to take pictures which costs more than the entrance fee sometimes! :)  We said goodbye to Sorin and headed out for the day. 
One of my favorite things today was that we got to drive through a lot of little towns and really see the Romanian people - outside of the touristy towns. It was interesting to see the pockets of Gypsy people (which were originally slaves taken from India) and the roles that different demographics took. It was a real eye opener to how blessed I am, when we saw some of the houses that Romanians lived in, in the more rural villages. I think one of the largest shocks was when we came out of the Probota monastery and we saw  a school of children at recess and their “playground” was a run down house and yard. It broke my heart. The most impressive thing when we visited Probota Monastery was most likely the fact that the dome ceilings were so beautiful. Probota has been restored much more than many other monasteries so it was fun seeing the bright and beautiful paintings inside the monastery. Something that always surprised me was how cold the insides of the monasteries were. It had to have dropped at least 20 degrees from the outside temperature! I could never imagine sitting through a few hour long service in the chilling cold in the middle of the winter!

After Probota our driver took us to a little restaurant that he grew up enjoying, Han Maria. He helped us order, as we had no idea what anything on the menu was. He and Emily decided on polenta (kind of a mix between corn mash potatoes and grits) and garlic chicken, and I got the sampler plate that had an egg, sheep cheese, pork, and polenta. I have never had such a “from the back yard” meal in my life! It was all so fresh and you knew that the animals had been in the back the night before and that the cheese was super fresh. I do have to say tho, I am not the largest fan of sheep cheese! It was interesting because our tour guide told me that the meal I ordered was very Romanian and that it was what the workers often took to the fields. Looked like a well balanced, filling meal to me! He also suggested for us to start our meal off with a yellow soup with a bit of cream in it - it had so much more taste to it than I expected! He disclosed to us that it was what they considered a “hangover recovery soup”. Lol. :) At the end of the meal we went to pay and Emily and I came were taken a bit by surprise when he expected us to pay for his lunch, but we split it and considered it his tip for the day. :) 

Our second to last monastery for the day was Rasca Monastery. Once we walked through the gates we came upon a special cultural experience. We had walked into a funeral of a bishop of the monastery. As had approached the gate we had seen a large black cloth hanging over the door well, which signifies a death and a period of morning. When we walked into the courtyard of the monastery was saw lots of people that we assumed were from the nearby village listening to the clergy men (dressed in beautifully bright blue robes) recite the service in an elegant gazebo. It was really amazing looking in on such a cultural event, especially since I had never seen a Romanian Orthodox service before. It was interesting because by the gazebo were a few men that were holding braided breads on sticks, I never did find out what significance they held. Further away from the main gazebo sat another gazebo with a water well in it where a few old ladies and gentlemen were holding a passionate discussion. :) It was fun watching the hands flail in the air! The outside paintings of the Rasca were ever so impressive, but I would have to say that the cultural experience was the highlight. 

Then we visited a beautiful 1400 stone tile monastery, Neamt Monastery, that had colored bricks from Venice! It was really neat to see a stone building with color after all of the painted monasteries. :) It was one of the most important and oldest monasteries of its kind because of the Moldavian architecture. It was really unique with its large gothic windows too! We were not able to go inside because we could not find the Nun or Monk, but we snuck a peak inside the windows. 
Another interesting thing we saw was that at one of the monasteries there was a cemetery in the back and a room designated to skulls. When the grave yards became too full, the families would take the skulls of their loved ones and paint on their skulls and write their names and dates. It was a little different walking into a room full of skulls and other bones, but I am glad that they could remember their family members in some way. 

After that we went to the Cetatea Neamtului or the Neamt Citadel. It was a medieval fortress, that has a very foggy history as many groups believe it had different histories. But in the past few years there has been a lot of research into the sight and coins from Petru I Musat were found, meaning it existed around the 1300. I could not believe that I was somewhere that old, a fortress that I was walking in that was over 400 years older than America!? :) In order to get to the fortress we had to walk up this intensely steep and long winding road, (like up a mountain!) with lots of beautiful tall trees up to the ticket booth. I have never felt more out of shape in my life. I was huffing and puffing the whole way up - even after I thought I had gained some endurance with walking with my backpack often! Our tour guide was not even out of breath when we got to the top! Once we got there we had to cross this winding walkway that was on really high stilts - a little nerve wreaking! Once we got into the fortress it was such a breath taking view over the village below! If I was King I would definitely love looking out on this landscape! Petru was smart man because it was so high on the hill and he could see anything coming his way!
After the fortress our driver really wanted to show us Romanian buffalo because “America has buffalo too!” lol. So he drove us to a “zoo”. It was very different because it looked more like a farm, it had regular farm wire between us and the animals and just a trail type of walking path! We saw some deer, caribou looking things, and buffalo along with some storks! We went up to the buffalo area and one of them charged at me! It was a bit worrisome because the wire was not that sturdy! They were suppose to have a brown bear too - but it was missing... lol. The brown bear is Romania’s animal because it has a very high population of them. After that we headed back to our hotel where Emily and I crashed into bed without even getting dinner. :) 

Tuesday March 23rd, 2010
Our driver for Tuesday was the same as Monday. He decided to take us to a Polish community in Cacica where one of the most significant salt mines in Romania exists. It was interesting because when we came into the town you could tell that it was a community primarily of a different ethnic background just by their facial features. :) The salt mine was put into place when Romania was under Habsburg rule, because the Empire needed the salt resource from Romania and stayed for many years after. We got a personal tour down into the depths of the mine. You could just feel your lungs filling up with the dust and dirt as you traveled through. I don’t know how the miners did it! We got down to the first level and I was so surprised to find a full chapel! There was a beautiful wooden cross, a podium and a few benches. It was beautiful to see this church deep down, hidden in the ground; and knowing that the miners came here to pray before and after each shift. We walked further down and found a place where the miners use to take their breaks, playing sporting games and such. They had just put in a modern basketball court in and we saw to men sitting on a bench talking. We later discovered that they had been miners years ago in this mine! We kept walking further and found an underground pool, and carvings in the walls of Mary Magdalene etc.! It was amazing seeing all of the salt crystalizing along the walls in huge clumps, we could see our foot prints on the floor because the floor was coated so much with salt particles! 

After the mining town we went to the Dragomirna Monastery (a nun monastery) was the last place we stopped before we headed off to the train station. It was special because this was the monastery that our tour guide had grown up going to. There was a large iced over lake outside the “fortress walls” that surround the monastery that his family use to go to and fish and eat lunch at on the weekends. On the bell tower there is an inscription that around 1627 the Turks and Tatars invaded often so they built walls to protect the monastery. Inside the monastery I bought some more beautifully painted Easter eggs! The paintings were spectacular inside because the halos on the walls of all the Saints were 3-D carvings of wood mounted onto the paintings! It was also interesting because in most of the churches there were podiums for the Bishop, that you would see in the Orthodox churches. We later found out that during the Habsburg rule all of the churches had to be created or modified to be in Catholic style and it simply remains in the church even though it is not used. You could often even find a beautiful wooden carving of the falcon (the Habsburg symbol) on the podium. The monastery is the tallest medieval monastery in Bucovina.The next monastery was Avbore which was an architectural wonder for the Moldovia region because the walls made space for the steeple. 
We had extra time before the train arrived so our driver showed us the old fortress ruins of the Suceava castle and “the largest Romanian Easter egg”! lol. We then took a detour because Emily and I had seen a beautiful church on our way into town that had circular colorful bricks on it. We stopped and took pictures, finding out unsurprisingly that the bricks were from Venice, it was a modern take on the 14th century Venice brick church we had seen earlier in the day. The only difference was that the colored bricks were on the ceiling on the new one, they were more like round ceramic tiles, and they had more vibrant colors. After that we said goodbye to the Sorin and our driver the past few days and headed to Bucharest.

We took the train from Suceava to Bucharest (8 hours!) and got filled our time with creating “Bucket Lists” because we decided that there is too much that Emily and I want to do so we have to start now to fit it all in! I consumed a whole liter of peach tea and realized what a poor decision that was because the Romanian train bathrooms were not spectacular to say the least! :) 
Once we got to Bucharest it was about 10pm and that train station is really sketchy outside at night - actually even during the day. We called the hostel - Happy Hostel, and they sent a cab to pick us up, as you cannot trust the cab drivers. While we were waiting we had to keep moving around because we were just waiting to be pick pocketed. It was really sad because there was a homeless boy that was walking around asking for money who I think was also mentally disabled. It was hard just to see him alone and desperate. Our taxi driver finally arrived and drove us to the hostel - taking a different route than we had gone before to our hostel. I started to get worried that he wasn’t taking us to our hostel or that he just wanted to drive further and charge us more. I was hoping for the latter and it was thank Heavens! 
Our fabulous hostel manager met us at the gate of the hostel and welcomed us in. We had called the hostel on the train to see if he would let us stay for a few hours at the hostel to shower and nap before we took our early morning plane ride to Rome. We were lucky he said yes they had room, and he was so sweet to give us a whole room to ourselves with our own bathroom! We napped and got up at 5am to go to the little airport in Bucharest. We had met two guys from America before we left Happy Hostel for Suceava, one of them studying in Rome for the semester. It ended up that all four of us were going on the same flight! 
Wednesday March 24th, 2010

Emily and I took our cab to the airport and walked into the airport, checked in, went through security (where I got wacked in the head by the hardest plastic security bucket by the guard! - surely on accident...) and finally got to the waiting room. To find out that the place was completely full to its gills by 6am! Emily and I bought overpriced muffins and juices and found ourselves a set on the floor while watching the truly international gathering of people walk around in chaos of trying to figure out what door to line up in front of to catch the right bus to the plane. When we tried to get to our bus we had no idea if it was ours or not so we had to do a lot of hand gesturing with the other lost soles to figure it out! :) We finally got on the plane and I slept the whole ride to Rome! 

We arrived in Rome and took a bus to the main train station. We grabbed lunch while we waited for our next train to Napels (Napoli) where we got on a ferry to go to the island of Capri! Once we were at the train station in Napels it was quite a task to try and find the buses to the ferry district and then find the right bus! We had to walk in a horse shoe in order to find the well hidden bus depot - through a thousand street vendors from Africa trying to sell us socks and such. We finally made it to the depot and then had to wiggle our way around asking which bus went to Capri! Finally got the bus, and asked the bus driver if we could buy tickets from him (like you can in Austria) and he said that we had to buy tickets from a booth across the street but hurry he was leaving. So I ran to the booth and bought two tickets and bolted to the bus and the driver left right after I got on!  
We got to the ferry dock and went looking for a  line to buy a ticket when this lady with a baby came up and told us to that we needed to get into this line for the tickets and that the office will open up in fifteen minutes because the office was at lunch. As we waited for the office to open we noticed that the lady and her baby and her husband, and preteen son were all “helping” people find where they needed to go and then asking for money. You have to be careful who you take advice from! Luckily the lady just stood by the counter once it opened with a cup so we just dropped in a few pennies. We have heard horror stories how people are stocked down until they pay the people say twenty five euros. 
We got on the boat and were surprised when the ride took almost two hours! Once we got to the beautiful island with all of the beautiful colorful boats on the dock, we got our tickets for the bus to take us to Anacapri where our hotel was. Somehow tho we missed our bus and discovered that in off season that the buses only go to Anacapri every hour instead of every 15 minutes! So in the meantime Emily and I decided to devour some delicious gelato and watch little kids playing in the water. :) 

We finally caught a bus up to  Anacapri at 5pm and asked the bus driver to drop us off near the hotel - thank Heavens he was nice and did. Except that the island is mostly a walking island and so once we got dropped off we followed the information ladies directions - ask people how to get there, eventually you will find it! So we did exactly that as we wandered through the cobblestone thin walk ways until we found a St. Maria church square we asked for directions from a lady who pointed us down more ally ways! We thought it would never end and that we were getting more and more stuck in a maze! We finally found it down the hill away - Hotel Bussola - beautiful with a sunset over the water from the balcony. We checked in and met Rita the receptionist and she just welcomed us in like we were her new family. :) Telling us we could walk safely at night on the island and where to take the best hikes, and to get the best pasta that night. We settled into our first HOTEL during our trip and we felt that we were living in a luxury sweet even though we were only spending 35 euros a night with breakfast! Emily and I had decided that Capri was going to be our “spoil yourself” place. :)

We set off for an adventure to get ourselves to dinner that was on the main street, weaving in and out of streets hoping we could get ourselves back in the dark! We finally found it after asking a police man. I had the most delicious lemon shrimp pasta (Capri is known for their lemons and the alcoholic drink lemoncello)! The waiter was so fun and he helped us practice our Italian and we laughed a lot! Once we were done Emily and I strolled home, stopping by a little fruit market that was open late, to get somethings for our picnic lunch for our hike the next day, then crashed into bed!
Thursday March 25th, 2010

In the morning Emily and I enjoyed croissant and a delicious coffee for breakfast and then we headed out to discover the island by catching one of the bright orange buses that headed towards Capri. When we got out we walked around the small town square looking over the lemon orchards and beautiful blue water below! Emily and I started walking down the other side of the island and promptly found gelato that we could simply not pass up - even if it was before 12am! We wandered down cobblestone ally ways lined with the most beautiful yellow flowers! 
We discovered a garden area with trees that had the most extensive above root system we had ever seen, and in the garden we found the middle or high school for Capri! I wish I went to school there because it had the most beautiful courtyard and orange and lemon trees around it (we looked in the windows and saw them all hard at work)! We wandered into a part of the school that was open to the public - the island’s historical art museum. :) The fun things we tumbled upon, we also got to see some great paintings being restored with rice paper! I never know that was what they used to keep the paint from coming off of the canvas! 

We kept wandering (honestly we were pretty lost - but had a whole day to get unlost) and found a tour group that we followed to the Capri perfume factory/museum where we discovered that with all of the beautiful lemons and flowers Capri was famous for their perfumes too! It was cool seeing the large canisters where perfume is made! Then we ventured to a little garden that was up on a cliff that gave an impressive overview - but we could tell that it was one of the touristy check points so we continued down a winding, cliff hanger path down to the beach so we could eat our lunch. The view was so indescribable - it was perfect on the walk down. Out from the island there were some smaller islands that I swear that “Spy Kids” was filmed at! I think the most impressive thing was that the water is so aqua blue (yah yah I know it should be aqua cause it is water - but I am talking about the hue). 
Emily and I eventually found a little rock beach where a little Italian boy was playing basketball while his grandma sun tanned. Emily and I dipped our feet into the water (which was bitter cold in March!) and ate our classic American PBJ while laying out on the rocks. :) The grandma came over to me and handed me a rock from the beach that she had picked out, it was so nice but I have no idea what was so special about that rock. Maybe she wanted me to take home part of the beach with me. :) I dozed in and out and took pictures, while Emily (being the artist she is) looked through the rocks for broken and smoothed colored pieces of tiles to make a mosaic out of. I loved that Emily collected them to make something because she use to collect rocks with her mom when she was alive, and her mom always wanted Emily to go to Europe, so it was really special to her! I can’t wait to see what she creates! Emily got stung by a really little tan jelly fish so we had to find some clean water to wash it out with and then we decided that was probably enough beach for us for the afternoon. We were setting out for our large hike back (uphill of course) when we perfectly stumbled upon an orange bus headed for Capri! 

We jumped on and then switched buses to get to Anacapri, timing everything perfectly for once. On our bus from Anacapri to Capri we met our hotel “mom” and her daughter and mother. She was so sweet and talked about our days with us and we learned that she had gone shopping for shoes for her daughter because she had started to dress herself for school. It was so funny because this Italian mama was getting worried what the other mothers would think of her daughter and her because of what her daughter looked like when she left the house. So she went to buy her “appropriate” shoes today, and had a big fight over blue versus pink shoes. But of course the pink shoes the girl chose were just about the most adorable Italian leather flower shoes you could imagine! We got to the hotel ate an entire jar of olives on our balcony, watched the sun set, and collected our clothes from air drying (after we hand washed them in the shower) and agreed on a nap before dinner. Except the next time we woke up it was morning. lol. 
Friday March 26th, 2010
This morning I awoke to our room phone ringing at 6am. I answered it and it was my mom on the other end sounding completely terrified. While I had been traveling I had had contacted her every day or every other day. But when I arrived in Capri my international cell phone did not work to call America and the hotel’s internet was being upgraded and “the newspaper stand” with internet had been unfindable by us for the last two days. In the morning I had planned to search out a pay phone to call my family. But too many hours in America had passed and my family and friends had been worried about not hearing about me as I traveled out of Romania. Sorry everyone! Mom and I talked and we clarified that I was ok and that I would be contacting her the minute I could when I got to Rome my next stop. I felt so bad! It was a little hard for everyone in America to understand that Europe really does not have all the wonderful and reliable cell phone and internet services as America! Things to be thankful for. :) After telling Mom and Dad and Reid I loved them Emily and I enjoyed our last Italian cappuccino (yummy!) together and she went off to Salzburg to meet her aunt from America. :) 
I went back to the hotel and and our hotel “mom” told me how to get to “the most beautiful” place on the island. It was a three hour walk along the coastline! So I headed out to do the famous Blue Grotto and the leave from there on my leisurely walk!

Our "hotel mom" : )

I visited the Blue Grotto and it was impeccable! I could not believe that water could get any bluer than what I saw outside the cave! I bought my ticket to go on the boat tour which involves boarding a rowing boat with a handsome Italian driver, being boated over to the “pay boat” where you had over eleven whole euros, then you are propelled towards the cave opening where it is so low that you must lie down into the laps of the other passengers to get in! Once you are in the completely dark cave you see the water, the brightest blue, glow in the dark! Our boat man told us that the King of the island use to have his private entrance to the island in this cave and we got to see his stairwell! The reason the water manages to be so blue inside the cave is because when the light hits the water outside the cave there is a chemical filter that absorbs all of the red pigments leaving only the brilliant blue to be reflected into our eyes! This is the case for most of the water around Capri but especially exciting seeing even brighter inside the cave! Apparently, most other coasts where the water is a similar blue is because of volcanos nearby - but not Capri they are special!
After the Blue Gratto I started to walk up the street the bus came down in endeavors to find the beginning of the path and luck struck upon me and I found it after only a few yards! I am surprised that I did not just walk past it because it was not a large trail head and did not have any big signs! I walked along the path that was basically a cleared path - and enjoyed seeing the chalk like rocks against the blue water, the green foliage and beautiful yellow flowers! It was such a peaceful walk consumed by thoughts and drinking in the beauty and nature. I was amazed at how different the landscape got over my two hours of walking, I got to see chalky rocks, beautiful prairies, and walk through what felt like the rain forest! I even found some adorable goats and an old fortress! 
I was getting a bit tired during my second hour and came to a fork in the path that lead five different ways, with a sign to Capri not distinctly pointing at any of them! So I tried a few of the paths out a bit just to see if any were more promising and realized that I was just going to have to go for one and hope it took me home! Before going I took some pictures of these huge plants that looked a bit like a yucca cactus by smoother that were honestly almost the size of me! It was soooo cool! :) So I kept walking and was getting quite concerned that I had taken the wrong way because the path was becoming more unkept and I REALLY felt like I was walking through the jungle - I was in fact ready to meet a clan of gorillas... until I found a road - thank Heavens! Except... that it was super steep and I was exhausted. I did meet a nice tourist on his way down the street and asked me if the trail started down the road which gave me confidence that I was not completely lost! 

But once I got to the top of the first part of the road it forked in two directions - both uphill of course. So i decided to sit at the fork and ponder which direction I would take (learning that maybe it is not always the best to take “the road less traveled” when you are alone lol) and ate my lunch. A few cars drove by and at this point I was seriously debating trying to get one to drive me to Capri. The third car stopped and asked me in Italian if I was ok and I of course had no idea how to reply so I pointed at the fork and asked which way was Capri. He pointed to the right and then invited me to ride up to the bus station in Capri. I gratefully accepted (he seemed genuinely nice) as I was so exhausted and tired and it was a good thing too because it seemed like the hill to Capri never ended! I thanked him and caught the bus to Capri glad to be knowing where I was! 

Once I got to Capri I decided a refreshing lemonade and a “The Kiss” (it is about Gustav Klimt’s painting “The Kiss”) book were in order while watching the tourists and locals outside a cafe. I paid a ridiculous 7 euros for a lemonade (silly tourist) but at this point I just needed something refreshing! To of course find out that the lemon island would be squeezing fresh lemons and handing you two sugar packets. It was so sour even after two sugar packets that my jaw is still locking as I type this! I also bought a British newspaper and was super impressed by the coverage and topics, way better than many America papers I read! :) On my ride back to the hotel I saw our “hotel mom” again and she told me that she had gotten a call from my mom last night on her voicemail and to make sure to call her back and let her know that her baby is ok and safe. Lol. Oh Italians. :) I watched BBC (the only English channel) and saw that the regular news for Italia always had a sign language translator for the news! How cool is that? America needs to step it up a notch. I also packed for the morning and fell into bed!
Saturday March 27th, 2010
In the morning I headed out to travel to Rome where I would stay by myself for a few days before meeting up more of the students from Salzburg College in Florence. I had planned to catch the 11 o’clock ferry to Napoli but had been just a few minutes late after some confusion over bus times, so I sat down and enjoyed a Cappacino and people watching until the next one at noon. That was one thing that I really learned while traveling was that if something did not work out it is not a big deal; just enjoy what you have there otherwise you will just spend the time being upset in a foreign exciting place!
Our “hotel mom” had drawn me a map of how to get to the train station in Napoli from the ferry - but I was a little nervous about getting there, as when we arrived I did not feel completely safe even with Emily there! So I got off the boat and of course the boat did not dock in the same area as where it had departed a few days ago! So thank Heavens I can acquired my location most of the time by sight so I wandered myself over to the original docking port. The problem with being in a foreign city and public transportation is that when you get off a bus it does not mean that the bus stop going the opposite direction will be across the street. So I had to find the bus back to the train station which involved following directions to cross the street, find the large fortress in the distance then take a right, walk down past a “few” lights and then go to the middle of the road and wait for the R1 bus. I was so lost and looking like a complete tourist with my huge backpack so I eventually surrendered and went into the first hotel that had an American flag hanging outside it! (It is a great travel tip, cause someone always speaks English, and they will be more patient with you!) They pointed down the road one light, so I did and did not find a bus stop ... until i looked at a little strip of concrete in the middle of the high traffic road where people were standing by a sign. 
So I joined them and had a hard time figuring out if a R1 bus would arrive, as I almost stepped onto a wrong bus! It was so lucky the drivers were so nice! Eventually a man came up to me and through our huge language barrier he expressed he would take me to the “central statione”! Knowing your basic vocabulary really can come in handy! So we got onto the bus (that was busting at its seems with people) and when my guardian angel had to get off the bus he took my hand and went to the bus driver, put my hand in the drivers, talked to him and then said “central statione!”. lol. I was officially handed off to the bus driver to make sure that I would get to the station. They were so nice. The driver was completely fine with it too! He got me off at the right station and made it very clear how to get to the station from the stop. I walked through the street vendors with a fast pace and a know where I am going attitude to the station. Unfortunately, the station is under construction so there is only one entrance and it is super hard to find, but with the help of an officer I got to the station and boarded my train to Roma!
Once I arrived in Rome I had to find my hotel. (I was staying in a real hotel just to be safe while traveling alone in Europe for the first time in this huge city!) Lucky for me I walked out of the station and there was an information booth giving out directions! So the lady gave me directions to go down the street seven blocks and then turn left - and I did except I did seven blocks the wrong direction and I was getting into a less nice area of town. So I decided to get a water and a ham and cheese sandwich and gear up for my next 14 blocks of walking with my backpack. I finally found the right area of town and had to call the hotel three times for more directions, visit a hotel with an America flag where I acquired a map (I had tried to look at a map at a vendor - but my street was not even on the map!) and THEN I found it! No wonder it took me so long because the hotel was only one floor of a building and the sign was only the size of my finger! 
I got checked in and the room was beautiful (like what you see in all the Italian movies!) and I settled in. I called my mom on Skype and talked to Seida a little bit. I ran out to get dinner from a pizzeria down the street where I ordered a Napoli pizza (because that was where I just was right? I should try it.) to discover that means it has anchovies on it! Yucky! The young man that was cooking pizza had one of his friends come over to tell me I was beautiful in English. Yah I am a tourist but hey keep talking like that and I will come back for more pizza. lol. I talked with mom while I ate and she could not believe how fast I ate the pizza - she said I looked like a teenage boy - but I was sooo hungary. The only thing slowing me down was picking out the anchovies! 
Sunday March 28th, 2010

Today I went to Pompeii! I took the subway all by myself back towards Napoli to the town of Campania. Unfortunately I had forgotten that it was daylights savings time, so I was a bit off with my schedule when I arrived at the train station. But Napoli is a popular destination so I only had to wait an hour. I met some girls from the east coast on the train and we talked for the ride down. The train was pretty sketch, but at least they made the touristy Pompeii stop obvious! :) We got off and were trying to decide whether we should pay for a tour or go by ourselves with the handbook we were given. I decided that I wanted to do Pompeii right so I took a “private” tour with six people - the tour guide had been trying to sell us while we were in line. He told us not to tell anyone but since we were students he would not charge us 12 euros but 9. Eventually I told him I would do the tour for 7 and he accepted. Victory was mine! haha. :) All of those poor souls that paid the full price. 

Anyways the tour ended up being wonderful and very educational. Our tour guide absolutely loved his job and it was fun seeing him be so excited. He told us that the town had been developed into two sections, the first being the rich and the second being the working class. The wealthy side had founded themselves on the side of the town where they had more sunlight to enjoy themselves, while the workers would have to work in the dark at an earlier hour. Also the streets had bits of while marble in them so that the moon would reflect against the stones at night and light the way! So clever! :) 

Also Pompeii use to be on the shore line and a very popular port. And because it was a very popular port they had a lot of prostitution for the sailors. They called the prostitutes the “she wolves” so when the sailors came to the Pompeii all they had to do was howl like a wolf and they would get a reply that sent them to the house. Creative right? lol. Also you could find engravings on the road of the male anatomy and it would be pointing towards the house! When we got to the prostitution house our tour guide said that we can all come in except that I might want to be cautious because it dealt with adult matters. lol. But it was funny because the way the system was set up was that you come in and choose one of about three pictures on the wall of positions, then you would choose the girl and go to a stone bed. So crazy. Then we saw the famous dog and little boy huddled up that were petrified because of how quickly the ash and lava came down upon them from the eruption. It was uncanny because just based on their posture you could tell how scared they were. I wandered around for a while just looking at the ruins and then headed back to Napoli as I wanted to try to go the world famous Archeological Museum that houses many Pompeii items. But the once I got out of the train station at 4pm in Napoli I looked around and decided I did not feel comfortable walking around the town to find the museum or trusting a taxi so I just went back to Rome for the night. :)