A Travellerspoint blog

O Sole Mio!

Not sure if that is the correct Italian heading but you get the point! Mom and I took it easy yesterday since we had to get up EARLY for Rome today. Didn't sleep for some reason, got up at 4:00 a.m. and then took a series of trains to get to the Rome airport. Stayed with mom until she went to her departure gate and then I darted back to the main Rome train station -- a virtual hornet's nest -- to get a refund for the mistake with my railpass....

That was an adventure...I did not take NO for an answer from the first 3 employees and I think I finally wore them down! I got my money, but didn't have time for the Vatican since they close early....so I went to another (quiet) place. I went to a church called St. Peter in Chains. It has the actual chains that held Peter when he was imprisoned, according to the Vatican. They were in a glass ark type thing that was set up as an altar, with these little tree-shaped candle holders so you could light candles for people. I lit one for my three grandparents that passed on and Alton and Mania and my great-grandmother....you get the picture. I'm not Catholic, but it seemed to be a nice thing for remembrance...besides, I want someone saving me a seat up there!!! :)

Then, I went back to the train station, caught the slowest, hottest train in Rome and headed home. (No, I didn't know it at the time, silly.) It was over 30 minutes late, which made me almost miss my connecting train. There would have been a meltdown heard 'round the world! (Picture the Peanuts cartoon strip where they throw their head back and cry....) Anyway, I rode to the ends of the earth with a window that didn't go down.....finally made it back to my stop...had a healthy dinner of ice cream since I was too tired for anything else...and now I am ready for a shower and sleep......

Oh, I met a girl on my last train who was listening to country music....Sammy Kershaw singing about a doublewide trailer.....so I KNEW she had to be American and from the south...Sure enough, she is from North Carolina.....where I want to move back to....small world.... She is staying near here so we may see each other at the train station....

Ok, here is my disclaimer: Sentences that I write on this blog are to be considered correct grammatically. I am usually too tired when I write these things to care much about that until I return home....then my writing, spelling, and speech will be impeccable again!! ha ha

Posted by thedcgroup 12:57 Comments (1)

Procida and Ischia (two islands)

Today, we tried to do too much and it backfired! First, we went to Procida...it was very small with hardly any tourists. We couldn't go to the abbey because it was closed, so we snacked, killed time and got on a hydrofoil (a boat on steroids) to Ischia. We arrived there so late that we couldn't go to the hot springs, the beach, and shop like we wanted. We also had communication problems with several busdrivers so we never made it to the thermal springs that this island is known for....They are supposed to be able to cure what ails you!

We hopped another bus and drove all the way to the other side of the island because it is supposed to be a white sandy beach. All of the beaches here seem to be grey dirt, but I guess it is actually volcanic rock since there are several volcanoes around here....Mt. Vesuvius is one of them.... We never saw any white sand and the beaches are all so crowded...plus we didn't want to miss our boat back home....and my head was hurting...so we left...it took over 2 hours to get back to the mainland....

We were disappointed that we didn't do more on Ischia, but the busride was incredible! The island is very clean and has a lot of beaches and ports which were full of yachts...maybe even mine one day!!!! ha ha There were mountains so tall on the island and so green that it reminded me of Hawaii....not that I have been there.

We got back to our town and had gelato again. Mom had one of those mini cones that I swear they call "miniblob" and I mixed two flavors...coffee (this IS Italy!) and one that I can't pronounce. I had it before..it is like fudge ripple. At the bottom of my cup, when I was almost done, I panicked! There was an oval shaped black object in my ice cream....since I am always the one that winds up with the dirty silverware, or a hair in my food, or a bug...I was grossed out...I examined the specimen only to find it was a COFFEE BEAN!!!! OF course, that makes sense...I was soooo relieved it wasn't a roach...which, by the way, we haven't seen any of these lovely creatures here.....

For dinner, we had pasta and Mom made fresh "squealed" lemonade...she was tired when she said that....but I imagine they would squeal if they could as she was grinding them on a juicer.....obviously, we are both tired...

Tomorrow is Mom's last day here so we'll see if we can ride another train without paying!!! We are getting used to wearing these "lost and confused tourist" looks on our faces anyway....

Posted by thedcgroup 11:26 Comments (0)

Slow day....

Today we had the best weather so far! It was overcast this morning, but it never rained. However, this made incredible breezes all day long....for once, I didn't sweat to death! :)

Well, Mom and I planned to go to an island today, but the early ferries were not running and we didn't want to wait until midafternoon, so we decided to go tomorrow. We chose to check out the shops in a suburb near our house....I found a great pair of sandals for 10 Euro...about $12.00!! We had pastries (again) and I had another cappuccino. (When I get home, I will need an espresso I.V. drip....and I was totally off of caffeine before I came here!!!)

We bought our train tix for Rome and this time we actually paid for the WHOLE trip! ha ha We shopped in an open-air market where you get to bargain for the price of what you want...interesting....Lunch was an incredible sandwich, like a panini, with fresh warm bread, chunks of mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, oregano, and maybe even garlic...oh, and ham...aparently he forgot the "NO CARNE" part!! Of course I picked it off!! We also had french fries...French fries are very popular here...they even put them on a pizza with slices of hotdogs! Gross!

I can't believe I actually eat tomatoes here! Never in my life have I liked the slimy things, but here they are so tasty...maybe because in the states they are shipped before they are ripe and they are full of pesticide and chemicals.....

Then we went back to the house to rest (reposo)...Mom napped and I got some sun on the terrace whie reading. I am still working on my knitting...I think my scarf is now 18" long! I am impressed since I had my first knitting lesson 5 days before my trip. I haven't forgotten how to do it, so maybe when I return, I will have a 5 foot neck scarf!

We decided to walk to some shops when they opened again and ended up going to the grocery store. They do not have the variety we are used to in the U.S. and finding health food is impossible...I found soy milk for the first time today...I had to resort to the nasty stuff that comes out of a cow this past week!!! We bought 6 2Liter bottles of water and I carried them about 1/2 mile back UP the hill to our house...what was I thinking???? My arms are so numb that typing is difficult....my spelling (on which I have always prided myself) is growing worse the more I study a foreign language...pretty soon I will be spelling things incorrectly in 3 languages!! Remember to email me privately if nobody else should see it...or make general comments here... Ciao!

Posted by thedcgroup 12:20 Comments (0)

Rome in a day!

Well, you can't actually see everything in Rome in one day...we haven't been to any islands yet as planned...but we did make it to Rome yesterday (Saturday).

It was an adventure in more ways than one! We had problems with my railpass when we bought tickets so the man at the train station told us to get a refund for them back home. He had to call the Rome terminal to try to use the numbers. Mom and I waited for over an hour, then checked back with him, and he gave us the seat reservations, telling us the railpasses were basically not working. blah, blah, blah....

Thinking we paid for the trip on the train since he gave us seat assignments, we got on the train Saturday...two hours into the trip, when they checked our tix, we were informed that we hadn't paid afer all!!!! We had to visit the train officials in the main station when we arrived. The English was translated wrong when I originally reserved our seats and then again on the train because it went from our railpass numbers not working to my railpasses being stolen! Not true! Aaaargh!

One girl at the station was very helpful and said she was getting off of work soon but that she would tell her friendliest coworker our story to help us when we returned later on...as fate would have it, the coworker didn't come in and we were on our own again to explain this horrible story to several more people in a mixture of English, Spanish, and Italian...

Later we had to report to the station an hour early to figure out what to do since we apparently hadn't paid to return home either (according to their computers)....Well, that is not exactly true -- we paid $600 back home....believe me, I will be on the phone for a refund with STA travel!!!! We had to buy tix for the Eurostar, their fast train at 300 km per hour, but it was a comfy ride back home..and we got back early!

Now, on to Rome itself....We chose to see the Palatine Hill, Forum, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps....Trevi Fountain is beautiful, with a marble Neptune between 2 godesses...it is massive and the legend says that is you throw 1 coin in, you will return soon to Rome, 2 coins means you will fall in love there, 3 means you will marry ....so Mom and I threw in one each!! It makes sense -- we are returning in a few days for her flight out!! :)

On to the Spanish steps, which are basically steps that are a great meeting place for people..they are even featured in a famous commercial (I think) about "asking her to marry you all over again"....

Then we went to the Ancient City part of Rome, beginning with Palatine Hill, where Augustus lived. That overlooks a lot of Rome, including the Forum....this is where the Vestal Virgins lived, keeping the flame lit, the Curia, where Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C., many temples, graves proving Rome was founded around 753 B.C., places where they voted, their first sewer, the oldest street in Rome (hard to walk on since it is so uneven!)....then to the Colosseum where 5000 animals were killed in it's 100 opening days!! 50,000 people could file in and watch the show back then!!!!

Many blisters later, we headed to the train station and the cooler underground....When I return, I will go to the Vatican, but mom will be flying and can't go......

Posted by thedcgroup 02:26 Comments (2)

Castles and gelato!

Today, Mom and I learned how to ride the bus...you have to go to a tobacco shop for tickets and NO ONE tells you that....then there are no bus schedules or times posted, so it's a crap shoot as to when the bus will come by, and if it will be the one you need...then you have to flag it down...they are not keen on stopping for you!

We ate at the same place as before with all the vegetables and then we shopped a little. After that, we hopped aboard a bus and just enjoyed the winding road along the coast...went to a castle that overlooks the bay and then waited in the sun for a bus to appear for over 30 minutes....

Now sunburned with sore feet from all the stairs around here, we stopped in the next town to see the Roman ruins...everyplace here has ruins....but we got in free for these because we paid to see the castle....If it's free, it's for me is my motto so we went here as well! These ruins were the remains of a summer palace for the rich...not much left to see but the outlines of different buildings and yet another naked male statue...Mom noticed that naked statues are everywhere here...not much different from the beaches -- where you see toooooooo much if you know what I mean....

Then we had our first granita (frozed lemonade) and it was refreshing but tart....They make them since lemon trees are everywhere...in fact, we picked some from where we are staying and they are almost as big as my foot!!! Then we finally got picked up by another bus...haven't figured out all the meaning of the various colors of buses here....made it to our town, had our first gelato (ice cream)....mom ordered lemon and it was like a lemon sherbet slushy combination...mine was like fudge ripple....very delicious!

Then we dragged ourselves with our 4 liters of bottled water up the 100 steps to our villa...cooked a little pasta with our fresh veggies, showered, and sat down to write this...we are tired from all the walking!! OH, mom practiced her Italian today to order some water....I forgot to tell her to say "senza gas" or you get fizzy water...which she says is awful...when she went back in to order correctly, the lady laughed at her.....tomorrow we plan to visit an island....not sure which one yet....how do you like that????

Posted by thedcgroup 10:02 Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 18) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 »