We had our last Wednesday trip this past week. It was much more relaxed than all of our previous trips because we had a lot of free time to relax, explore, and not listen to lectures the entire time. This isn’t to say the information we hear is not wanted at all, but when you are touring the ruins of a villa with this huge private grotto on the beach, you sort of want to wander around. Lunch/soccer on the beach and the town was pretty awesome as well.
[pictures are below]
Friday and Saturday I went on a trip to Pompeii, Sorrento, and Positano. It was pretty awesome, aside from my camera lens being destroyed as I was checking my bag with the porter before entering the Pompeii archaeological park. I set it on the counter behind me so I could get my lunch out of my bag as well, and as I was rummaging through my stuff on the floor for a little bit, I heard it hit the ground and the lady at the storage area yelped. My heart dropped. I didn’t see what happened, but the other person traveling with me at the time was the only one in there, and the woman taking our stuff was standing in front of me and kept pointing at her elbow and saying stuff in Italian. Nothing much can be done at this point because the other guy says he didn’t knock it over, and I didn’t see it happen, but unless Casper is real, I don’t think I’ll stand corrected on this one. I have a warranty on the lens, which is nice, so I’m not upset, the weekend was too great to stay mad for long.
After seeing some petrified bodies, we hopped on a train to Sorrento to check into our bed and breakfast. We stayed at this amazing place overlooking Sorrento, and the man who ran the place with his family, Luigi, easily made the trip worth it. We walked in, and there were postcards from people all around the world who stayed there and sent him stuff. After two days, it was easy to see why people like that guy so much.
I woke up around 7am on Saturday morning and was sitting in the main room reading my book and checking emails and such. Luigi came down around 7:15 to get breakfast prepared, and asked if I would like to join him to go buy some fresh bread for the morning. We got to talking about his time in the U.S. and why he came back to Italy. He said he left the country so late in life, and all the other Italians who worked with him in Jersey always talked about missing home. He loved living in the States, loved traveling around the east coast, but didn’t want to always feel the longing to return home. He says it would have been easier if he were younger, but he is glad he is back running a bead and breakfast. This way, he meets people from all over the world who keep in touch, living his stories through the people who stay with him in Sorrento. That man was really encouraging, and is genuinely content with his life. He misses America and traveling in general, but he said it made coming home back to Italy something more amazing. I think it’s because he appreciates Italy more than he would have if he had not left at all. Donald Miller would be smiling right now, leaving can be a great decision.
The whole rest of Saturday comprised of bus trips to other parts of the coast, namely, Positano. The bus ride there took about an hour, and the driver was all over the place. There weren’t enough seats, so Alex and I had to sit on the floor. The whole time the bus would swerve around, slam on breaks, and jolt forward, we thought we were going to be sick. I have never been so happy to touch land. Positano was beautiful, though the beach was less than impressive. I think the amount of American college students acting like complete idiots helped contribute to this, and I am beginning to see why people don’t like Americans so much. Anyways, we had some lunch at this place on the beach that Denzel Washington has been to, and then bummed it around before heading back to Pompeii to catch the last train to Roma. It was a perfect day to be outside, and the trip was certainly a highlight of this semester. These small Italian towns never cease to amaze me.
The train ride back was also pretty interesting. These two guys thought I was Italian, and started talking about how they are glad no one could understand them in our cabin. What did I do? Kept my mouth shut of course, it’s not so often these chances come around. To start off, the conversation was hilarious. They were the standard: “I can’t wait to get completely trashed, go find some hot Italian chicks to take advantage of, and then hopefully not feel like crap the next day.” Hilarious is a loose term here, but it’s pretty funny to me that this is the side Italians get of American students who travel. Italians love to drink their wine, and there are no open container laws, but they do it socially and responsibly. So, it gets annoying to be grouped by national association, but it’s interesting to hear the conversation turn into who is the “manliest guy who can hold the most drinks and not get beat up by other people.
After a while though, the conversation got strange as one of the guys said he was marrying some girl to get her money. She is apparently in a wealthy family and he has been leading her on to get back at the rich people in the world. Then the conversation went to how many people they have beat up, and that one of them chipped a girl’s tooth playing pool and laughed the whole time. From there, it went to talks about gangs, guns, and that’s when the headphones got turned up really loud. Where the conversation was mildly funny to begin with, as it went on, it became pretty sad. A lot of things aren’t right, that is becoming pretty evident. Anyways, they got off the train and couldn’t figure out the bus system as I passed them later, so I told them which bus they needed to get on. Their looks were pretty shocked, but I just nodded and told them to have a great rest of the trip and got on the H bus to Trastevere.
I have a little less than one month left in Europe. We have almost two and a half weeks left here in Rome, and then the rest of that time will be spent traveling up to Stockholm. I have a lot of drawing left to do, so I think it’s time I get up to the studio and do just that. Ciao.