Since I’ve written last, a lot has went on.
It’s honestly a bit hard to keep up, especially to go back and write it all. But now that I stayed in Perugia this weekend, I had some time to reflect on how busy and fun my last month has been here.
My first trip outside of Perugia was to Pompeii, Ischia and Capri. My school offered this trip to about 40 or so students. Of course it was first come first served, but I was lucky enough to have a place reserved and already paid for courtesy of Quinnipiac (…but not really because I’m sure it was included in my way-too-expensive tuition, but that’s another story for another blog post).
Pompeii was even more amazing than I could have imagined. I learned so much about the tragedy of that little town and got to stand in places where citizens of Pompeii once carried out their daily lives. Seeing Mount Vesuvius in the flesh was a bit scary, but completely mesmerizing. Our tour guide told us that Mount Vesuvius is really unpredictable; although scientists predict that the next time the volcano erupts (which it definitely will), basically all of Pompeii will be ruined forever. But not to worry– I mean, the city gets at least a weeks notice before the volcano actually bursts… that’s enough time, right? My favorite part of the tour was going inside Pompeii’s “Red Light District,” complete with phallic symbols on the walls and streets pointing in the general direction of the brothels. Yes, you read that right… it was totally weird, but so interesting to say the least. The grooves in the streets leading to the brothels were so worn down because carriages would constantly be in and out of that area.
After our guided tour in Pompeii, we hopped back on our bus for another two hours of traveling to a volcanic island on the coast called Ischia. After settling in our hotel, our group went to a typical four course dinner provided by my school. We were all so tired after eating so much; I still haven’t gotten used to the four, sometimes five course meals. But we still decided to go out anyway to a bar across the way from our restaurant, where the DJ played old school 50 Cent and it felt like good times in my dorm at QU.
The next day was an early start, as we had an entire day to ourselves to explore Capri. After a decently long ferry ride to the island, I was feeling a bit seasick which is extremely unusual for me. But of course I had to take a boat tour of the grottos, so I had to get on another ferry a few minutes after I got off the first one. The majority of the tour was spent with my eyes closed and heavy breathing, but I still managed to take some great pictures!! After the tour, my friends and I had lunch at a quaint little bistro and I had the most delicious gnocchi sorrentino. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s simply gnocchi pasta with tomato sauce and lots and lots of mozzarella cheese. Perfetto. After lunch, we took a taxi up to Anacapri, which is a comune on the island of Capri. While there, I legit took a chairlift up to Monte Solaro, the highest point of the island. The view was literally breathtaking. As you got higher up the lift, the more beautiful the view got. And once you get to the top… wow. Just wow. I don’t think I’ll ever experience anything more beautiful in my entire life. On the way back down, I started crying to myself. I mean, how did I get so lucky? What good did I do in my life that I’m allowed these life-changing experiences? Of course my parents have a lot to do in that equation. But really, man am I lucky. This entire experience is something I intend on fully taking advantage of.
After the chairlift, we did some shopping and got gelato (of course). We took a taxi back down the mountain; you know when the right music is playing and your life is so surreal that you feel like you’re in a music video? Well that’s exactly how I felt. After the taxi ride, it was time to get back on the ferry to Ischia. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy Ischia that much so I’ll just leave it at that. I did have half of a day in Ischia the next day, but not much went on. It is a beautiful island, but it didn’t really do much for me personally. So I’ll fast forward to the next weekend I had, which was spent in a private villa in freaking CROATIA. Yes, Croatia. My parents weren’t too thrilled when they heard I was going there, but this was something I just couldn’t pass up. Plus, I was going with 14 other people so that definitely eased their nerves.
After what seemed like a long week of classes but really was just a mere four days of study abroad classes… I’m sure you can picture how that dynamic is… we finally embarked on our epic journey to Hvar, Croatia. I say “epic journey” because that is exactly what it was: we had to take a train (and switch stops), a 10 hour ferry, another hour or so ferry from Split to Hvar and then a taxi to get there. Flying was way too expensive for this budgeting college girl and there was really no other option. So about 15 hours of traveling later, I finally arrive at my private villa. It was even more amazing than the Airbnb pictures. First of all, there were so many of us and we had three full apartments to ourselves… so much room for activities. The villa was split into smaller places and we each had a kitchen area and balcony. For only 77 euro a person, this whole vacation was more than worth it. The landlord of the villa owns a restaurant on the bottom floor of his place, so he cooked us a delicious Croatian meal the first night we arrived for 20 euro a person. It was sooooo good and he was such a nice guy! Plus he had two cute little dogs… I really couldn’t ask for anything more. At dinner we ate an array of different things; it was honestly too much to remember but my favorites were the steak, tuna steak, grilled vegetables and bread with Croatian olive oil. It’s honestly better than the olive oil I’ve had in Perugia… but keep that on the DL. Oh, and the homemade Croatian wine. Can’t forget about the wine.
The next day in Croatia was a typical day of relaxing in the water and hanging out with my friends. The water was the saltiest I’ve ever been in and so clear that you could see the bottom of the ocean. It felt nice to relax and take in the experience I was having. I really couldn’t believe this was my life; I say that about everywhere I go and everything I do here but it’s true.
At night, we went to a place called Hula Hula Beach Bar to watch the sunset. It was going to rain so the sunset wasn’t too extreme, but it was still so beautiful nonetheless. After that, we perused Hvar for a little bit before making our way to another bar called Kiva Bar. We were initially attracted to it because we heard Jack Johnson being played from the streets. Come to find out, they played typical American music the entire time we were there and we were all in our glory. It was cool to listen to music we were familiar with and on top of that, the majority in the bar were Australians and British people. It was nice to not have a language barrier for a little bit; although I love learning the Italian language and being around locals, it can sometimes be extremely difficult trying to communicate simple sentences. But that is why I have Italian class everyday!
The next day we had to get on another ferry to Split to make our way home. The trek back was fairly smooth, so I will skip over that. This past weekend my friends and I stayed in Perugia and took a small break from traveling. We did the typical dinners out and bar hopping at night so we still had a lot of fun! I even went out for sushi and gelato with my new Italian friend, Lidia, and her boyfriend and best friend. My friends and I knew we were in for more consecutive weekends of non-stop traveling so staying in Perugia was a good choice on our part (and our wallets). Tomorrow my friends and I will be getting on a bus to Munich for a weekend of tours and Oktoberfest. Despite the 12 hour bus ride, words cannot describe my excitement! It’s just another thing I’ll be doing abroad that I can finally cross off my bucket list. Arrivederci for now, amici. Stay tuned for my next post!
“Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people…” –Nick Miller