Friday, May 22, 2015

italy diary: naples/pompeii/sorrento...

after 2 days in rome, our next morning started at 7am and we would eventually make our way to sorrento where we would spend 2 nights. along the way, we drove through naples and had a guided tour through pompeii.


naples was...interesting. very industrial, busy, and pretty run down. we were driven around for almost an hour and only got off the bus for about 15 minutes before we continued on to pompeii. maybe it's a little more neighbourhood-like once you get more inside the city, but from driving the outskirts, it's nothing i would really recommend.

from a distance it's pretty.


after a quick blip in naples, we continued on to pompei (the new city) where we had lunch. this lunch was one that was included in our package and it was just bad. the pasta was pretty average, the pizza was ok, but the mains (fish or roast beef) were terrible according the dylan and others at the table. i ordered a salad because i don't eat either of those and it was basically salad with water dressing, boiled carrots, corn, and green beans. very odd. after the disappointing lunch, we started our tour through pompeii (pompeii with the ii is the old city that was destroyed by mount vesuvius and pompei with one i is the current, modern city).

 this was actually dylan's birthday! happy birthday dyl!! turning 29 in italy, not too shabby.
we were told there was no shade on the tour so i had to buy a hat, which i felt a little stupid in. i don't really consider myself a hat person!
the ruins of pompeii. it's about 170 acres and we were told not to get lost from our tour group or we may not find our way out.

we were told all about how the people lived, shown their original paintings, saw brothels, and so much more. this was something i wasn't totally interested in going into it, but i will say, i definitely enjoyed my time there.


at about 5pm, we got back on a bus and headed towards our next destination for the next few days: sorrento. a coastal city along the sea, i really didn't know what to expect with this place, but we loved it.

 view from our hotel balcony.

bellini by the pool before going out.

 more alleyways. lots of shops. very quaint. 

we loved walking the streets and seeing it come alive as the sun was coming down. the restaurant options are limitless and everywhere you look is another beautiful site. we somehow managed to stay out until about midnight that night, but knew that we had to go to bed eventually, even if still wanted to stay out, because the next day was our trip to capri, the place i was maybe most excited for.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

italy diary: ROME...

italy!! where oh where to start!! it was an absolutely incredible 9 days and i'm so glad we finally bit the bullet and booked a big trip like that. we have so many pictures and i guess the best thing to do is just start right at the beginning. our path started in rome for 2 nights, followed by 2 nights in sorrento, then 2 nights in amalfi, and then back for 1 night in rome.  we packed pretty light, only bringing one big travel backpack and a smaller (regular size) backpack, and our camera bag. how we did it, i'm not quite sure, but it made it easier when travelling between hotels to only have 2 backpacks to worry about. may 8-16 were probably some of the best days of my life so far.


i survived my first long-haul flight (~10 hours) and we landed in rome just before noon on saturday. we were driven to our hotel, got checked in, and basically went out walking right away. we found a pizza place right around the corner from our hotel (of course) and chowed down on our first real italian pizza. after that, we made our way to the colesseum and looked up in awe. we didn't go in because the lineups were insane, but we were still able to enjoy it. our days in rome were so incredibly hot that we only lasted a few hours before the heat and jet leg kicked in and we went back for a nap at the hotel. i woke up around 9pm and figured if we went back to sleep, we would wake up in the middle of the night and be awake. so instead, we got ourselves freshened up and went out on the town. we made our way to the spanish steps where dylan grabbed a beer and gelato and i had just gelato. we sat on the steps just taking it all in and not really believing we were really there.

let's do this!
 hello rome from the hotel roof.
 first: beer and pizza.
 wearing my sneakers like a proud tourist.

 mind boggling to think what went on here all those years ago.

sweaty selfie.

day two started bright and early with a half day guided tour around some of the big monuments. we were able to see the pantheon, the trevi fountain, all of the government buildings, the beautiful pizza navona, and finally, we finished in vatican city.

unfortunately for us, the trevi fountain is undergoing restoration and will continue to be in this state for the next little while.

the fact that these streets are older than canada is just crazy.

 the pantheon.

 unbelievably large and beautiful.
 piazza navona - a place for artists and tourists alike.

our tour ended in vatican city, where we were actually able to see pope francis give a small speech. 

he's about to show up!
he really draws a crowd.
that tiny form in the window? the pope!
now, we're two non-believers, but it was still a surreal experience to be standing in the square, listening and looking at the pope with thousands and thousands of other people.
afterwards, we set out on a hike to find a particular pizza place that had great reviews online: dar poeta.

i still can't get over how narrow everything is and how the cars and vespas and people all just share one super narrow 'road'.
we walked by this alleyway a few times looking for dar poeta, and even took this picture, and then we realized that the cute little alley restaurant was actually what we were looking for.
checkered tablecloths, vespas, beautiful old buildings, eating on the side of the road - does it get more italian?
our first of many caprese salads.
really tight quarters.
some of the best pizza of the trip. hands down.

while eating our pizza, dylan started talking to the guy sitting next to us. tom was travelling from france on his own and started telling us what his plans were after the meal (he was trying to find this street festival or something) and dylan asked if we could come along. he took us all over the city following his trusty guide book.

our explorations took us really far away from the hotel, and unfortunately the wine, food, and heat were really catching up to me and i was feeling incredibly sick. we left kind of abruptly and we both wish we had switched some kind of contact information or something. but, thanks for letting us tag along and show a few things we wouldn't have otherwise seen, tom!

our day ended somewhat early, partly because i was feeling sick, and partly because our next day started at 7:30am! next up: naples and pompeii.
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