So we’re well into May and I’m super behind with everything!
Been crazy busy!!!
Italy Italy Italy
Where do I even start?
Well from the beginning I guess eh?
Monday 28th/Tuesday 29th of March
Started off the day by getting driven to the train station. Excitement levels were off the hook and I couldn’t even imagine what being in Italy would be like. Had to wait 15 minutes for the train which seemed like 10 years. Once I got on the train I also had a 30 minute train ride. Which if 15 minutes felt like 10 years well this felt like 20 years. Time was passing too slow and I just wanted to get on the bus. Oh and also my train was late. I finally made it to the meeting point at the Brussels train station. With a good 10 minutes to spare. We left at 9am. From Brussels we drove to Liege and then Arlon to pick up more students. Once we were finally on the road it was a huge party…… For about 3 hours, then we all realized this bus ride was gonna totally suck. We drove through, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and then Italy. Did I manage to sleep on the bus? No. I think I was able to get 1 hour of sleep on the bus. It totally did not work out. Between being really uncomfortable and super excited no sleep at all. I had fallen asleep around 5am on the bus only to be woken up at 6am with Rotary yelling in the bus microphone saying hey guys we’re stopping to eat, you have one hour and then we will go back on the road and arrive at our destination in one more hour. So yea we spent like 24-25 hours on a bus. Our first stop was in Rome. We did a whole ton of walking around the city even as tired as we were. But everyone was super excited and ready to go so it was okay. I followed the group around taking pictures of cars and bikes I saw along the way. Maybe some monuments too but the motorbikes were better. 😉 We all had stopped in a giant plaza to walk around for a bit. Leave it to me to get lost. I went to get a coffee and 5 minutes later everybody was gone. But I had a map that said when and where lunch was so I was golden. I made it to lunch with no worries. Just had to do some tourism of my own. Our first lunch was pasta, salad and some type of pork. Not gonna lie the pasta was good but the rest was lame. Still good though! After lunch we all made our way to Vatican City. Vatican City is a state inside Rome. It’s considered its own country and is where the Pope lives. It is like the headquarters for all roman catholicism. It is filled with magnificent artwork and stunning buildings. But of course I managed to get lost there too with some friends. We were all lined up to go through the Sistine Chapel, a very famous chapel where you have to get ushered through because people around the world are trying to get in to see inside. Meanwhile my friends and I were ahead of the group a little bit and we got ushered out by security. We saw that our group was allowed to stay with special permission but security didn’t care and they had a job to do! We exited back where we started but the rest of the group exited out another door. So my friends and I went on an adventure with the map again to find out where the bus was gonna pick us up so that we didn’t get left in the town! We ended up finding the bus before everyone even got out of Vatican City so all went well. Unfortunately my camera died that day so I only have a few photos of Vatican City. After our long and exhausting day with very minimal sleep on the bus we were all very excited to get back to our hotels to eat supper and go to bed! When we got to out hotel it was on the coast of the ocean. It was too late to go swimming by the time we got there but dont worry we eventually did. Again for dinner we had pasta, some meat and salad. After dinner rotary said we were allowed to go get a drink at the bar. How could we say no to a nice cold beer after a long hard day right? We all slept like rocks the first night.
It’s not the Paris love bridge, but hey.
A cool building which I believe is one side of Parliament. Gothic era church.A wall with Latin on it.
Couldn’t tell ya what it said.
A Mercedes Benz parked in front of a fancy hotel not caring how much space of the road he took. Doesn’t matter because he’s rich?The grand place where I got lost.Dreaming…Vatican City’s entrance.
Morning view of the ocean from my balcony.
Our cute little hotel in the middle of no where.
Wednesday 30th of March
So this day. Probably one of my favourite days of my trip.
Started off with waking up to amazing sunshine and the view of the ocean. My room was on the 3rd floor so I had quite a pretty view. (Photo shown above) The sun was just rising so the photo looks a little dark. We lucked out and had sun every single day in Italy. One we all rounded up on the buses we headed off for more driving. Gosh darn did we ever hate that bus already. It was practically our home. We got off on some random road totally confused. We walked about 500 metres and voila! The colosseum was right there. To see this in person is the most spectacular thing ever. Like of course you’ve seen movies about it and like photos about it. But standing beside it really gives you a sense of “Holy F***!? It’s huge!!” Definitely a highlight of the trip. Unlike the first day in Rome, the second day was ancient Rome. We got to visit the more ancient parts that have been discovered around the Colosseum. Many parts of Rome were found by accident. Italians would go to build roadways or buildings and run into ancient buildings and artifacts. This day we got to do a lot of exploring and walking around. We also got to have a guided tour of the Colosseum. This day wasn’t too jam packed but we definitely enjoyed it! After the guide we had more free time and went to get a cold beer in the hot 25 degree Italian weather! (rotary said we could) After free time we all went for supper and headed home.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Colosseum is huge.Fontana di Trevi.
I found an orange tree but was too high up.Inside the Colosseum.
Thursday 31st of March
Off we went once again on the bus! We had to leave early in the morning once again. We headed for the Royal Palace of Caserta. Spent the whole day at this palace walking around the amazing interior, and seeing the amazing gardens and back yard. The tour guide that we had had a super non emotional voice but still told funny jokes. He wouldn’t crack a smile. After the day of just walking the palace we headed to our hotel.
With the scorching hot weather the walls were at least nice and cool!Italian sculptures.All the ceilings had paintings. Fancy that.
Backyard/Gardens of the Palace. The big mountain in the background is actually a volcano.
The giant pond of the palace featuring Canada.
Friday April 1st
Another one of my favourite days of the trip! It all started off in the morning with changing buses. We didn’t know why we were changing buses but oh well. They were kinda older and weren’t too comfortable either. Our first stop was Sorrento. One of the more popular cities because it is famous for its lemons! Yep lemons. We got a couple hours to just walk around and explore there for a bit. Was a good excuse to get gelato. Which is by far the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever had. Just sayin! After Sorrento we went on a scenic bus ride/tour to the City of Amalfi. How we got there I have no idea! The mountain edge road could barely fit two cars side by side never mind a couple greyhound buses and add sharp blind turns into the mix and you’re just asking for trouble. The bus driver was extremely skilled and I could tell it wasn’t his first rodeo. And from hearing it out of the bus drivers mouth when someone cut him off… Yes, Italians do actually say, “momma mia!” while waving there hands around.(If you havnt seen the video I made of the bus driving its on my facebook and I’d encourage you to watch and see the skill he has!) The town of Amalfi was very tiny but very nice. We got free time when we got there to go for lunch and explore. I had pizza for lunch, because ya know, Italy. Duhh. After Amalfi we started heading to another little mountain town. Ravello. In this town there is a brewery for the drink Limoncello. Which is probably by far the best liquor in the world. Especially homemade out of real lemons.
Sorrento doing a little photo shoot.
You could say we almost succeeded.Alleyways of Sorrento.Bus ride view. Straight drop beside us.A little rest stop over looking a village.Me and my friend from the Sault.The modeling dog at the rest stop.City center of Amalfi.
Lunch didn’t last too long.The store didn’t actually have drugs. I investigated.Our group.
Saturday April 2nd
We got to go for a boat ride. Had to get up nice and early to get the docks. If you missed the bus you’d have to take a taxi to the docks or just end up not going. (Yes there were a few Canadians that missed the bus and ended up running. Surprisingly not me!) Once we got one the boat it was quiet for very little. The 84 students started singing and dancing together. Who needs coffee when we start our own flash mobs! The other Italians on the boat seemed quite confused at first but before we knew it they started singing songs of there own like we were. Was definitely a fun boat ride. When we arrived on the coast of Capri we headed straight to another smaller boat. We got to circle the island and get a tour. We sometimes got as close as a couple feet to the island seeing different opening off the cliff faces and seeing red coral growing up the rocks. After the Tour we got onto a bus and went to the town of Anacapri. A smaller town on the Island. We walked around for a bit then got lunch. Guess what I ate… Yep… Pizza! After lunch we got to ride little chair lifts to the top of a mountain. From there we got to see the whole island. Also the weather was beautiful and sunny! After the mountain visit we got a little bit more free time before our boat showed up. Then we headed straight back to the hotel.Crystal blue ocean and crazy cliff faces.Lunches were always a blast.Caprizza Special.Just out for a lift are ya bud.View from the top of the Mountain.Swimming with the fishes.
Sunday April 3rd
On the road again. We started heading towards the ruins of Pompei. Pompei was ancient city of Italy that got destroyed and preserved by a volcano that erupted not too far away from it. The city was buried in ash. We spent most of the day in Pompei until traveling farther by bus to our next destination.Some Pre-Pompei limbo to pass the time. Never a dull moment.Preserved bodies from the volcano’s ash.Preserved food like bread and even a cake!People of Pompei were smart when it came to roadways. Like this road here, they carved grooves in the roads for horse carriages to follow and if the road had only three stones that meant that was only a one way road. Only one buggy could pass. If it had 5 it would be a two way road. Also considering Pompei doesn’t have much for plumbing, when it rained the water that ran down the streets weren’t very pleasant. So you could take the road dividers across to the other side.This was a fancy bar where they would eat wine and honey. Wine was stronger back then so they would often add honey to sweeten it up. (make it drinkable)In richer families houses they would have family portraits. But made out of stone! Preserved also by the volcanic ash.
Monday April 4th
We walked the streets of florence. We spent almost the whole day walking the streets here and just visiting different buildings and churches. Every building has it’s own unique history and character. After florence we hit the bus once again to see the leaning tower or Pisa. Of course right? If you’re in Italy you gotta check the tower out! When you see it in person it really makes you go holy crap is it ever leaning. Because it is! It used to lean around 5-7 degrees but restoration was done to it and it now leans at about 4 degrees. That still makes the 60 metre tall building look pretty unbalanced! The centre at the top is 4 metres (12 feet) from the centre at the bottom.
Tuesday April 5th
More Boat rides!!
We got on private boats to the islands of Burano and Murano. These little touristy islands were great and one even had a leaning church tower. Apparently Italians choose the wrong places to build things all the time. We walked around these two islands all day eating gelato and getting sun tanned. When we got back to our hotel we all sprinted to the beach right beside our hotel to go for a nice freezing swim! After the swimming Rotary threw a party for our last night in Italy.Murano. Mean mugging.Burano’s Tower.
Clearly they are aware of this problem.Italy had me going upside down for adventure.How could we not take an awesome group picture?Crazy Canadians have arrived.
Wednesday April 6th
Wednesday was the downer day. But at the same time it was awesome we got to finish off the trip with Venice! We got on a boat again and made every moment count by singing and dancing even more than we did before. We started off the the day being guided around by Rotary but then we got like 5-6 hours of free time before dinner. We got to go on those little tippy boats down the little rivers and got to explore the whole island. Who knows how many kilometres we walked. At the end of the day we got to eat at Hard Rock Cafe which really isn’t that Italian but hey they got good burgers so I’m not complaining. After supper we all had to gather back up at the boat to hear’er home. This was when the trip was over and we had to go back to Belgium. It was a full 24-26 hour bus ride back to Belgium. But let me tell you how happy we all were to get off that bus for good at the end of the trip though!
I know I’m behind on my blogs but I still have a couple more to post in the upcoming week. I’ve changed host families and I’ve been actually busy with school and rotary! Yes I have presentations to do for school 😉 3 of them. Also I got distracted by my parents coming down for a week which I will blog about soon. Like in the next week or so. So those are my excuses. I wish I could’ve explained Italy in more detail but we truly did do so much that its hard for me to remember!
Pardon my broken english, slowly but surely it’s getting pretty bad!
Next Blog (soon)
-Parents Visit in Belgium