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Tarin: The final days

July 1, 2010

I wanted to write another post wrapping up my trip.  I plan on keeping the blog up so I can look back on my trip, almost as a journal as well…

I miss Rome a lot. It was a truly amazing experience that I will never forget. I met some great people, and even though I didn’t speak Italian often or step too far outside of my comfort zone, I learned a lot.

The course itself was great. Having a combination of lecture and site visits made learning interesting, and Professor Stoughton was really terrific—hugs and tears definitely made an appearance at our farewell dinner.

During the latter half of the trip, I spent a lot of free time organizing my notes and planning my paper. We had 15 pages due the last day of class. The group of people I tended to spend time with (about half the class) included my roommates, the only apartment of boys, and another apartment of girls. We all got along really well and had similar interests, especially in terms of what we wanted on the trip. We spent several evenings at the Piazza Navona and Campo di Fiori. Nightlife in Italy is something that I miss a lot. People are outside, enjoying the weather and being social—and you can walk from one hot spot to the next. On one of our last nights, we went to all the places we enjoyed going to over the previous 3 weeks, and visited the Trevi Fountain in the evening (we had seen it that morning in class). I think the most frustrating part about seeing all these amazing places is that everyone is doing it! Tourists everywhere, especially at the Trevi. We didn’t stay long after taking a few pictures and enjoying the scene.

The highlight of my trip was spending a weekend in Sorrento and Capri. I was really impressed with how smoothly everything went, considering all the planning had to be done while we were in Italy, with none of us really knowing what we were doing. Professor Stoughton proved very helpful for us, even giving us restaurant suggestions. In general, his suggestions were always wonderful, and I never doubted him for a minute. The ACCENT staff were ok. They pointed us to some books and handouts we could look through. Sarah and I figured out most of the logistics.

Saturday morning (6:27 AM to be exact), we took a train from Rome to Naples (I think it was around 2 hours) and then from there, took the circumvesuviana (basically a subway-like train) to Sorrento (another hour or two). We stayed at Hotel Il Faro in Sorrento, after hearing that Capri was very expensive and crowded. Staying in Sorrento was what really made the trip so great. It was such a different scene from Rome. Everyone was so helpful and friendly. We even ran into the brother of the hotel owner who gave us directions! As soon as we saw our hotel, overlooking the bay/Mediterranean Sea, we decided that Capri would wait and we were going to spend our first day in Sorrento. We rented chairs and layed out and swam in the clear salty water. It was so refreshing and relaxing. That evening we walked around the city and found the restaurant Professor suggested to us. It was amazing and affordable. We sat on a pier overlooking the water and had fresh seafood. For my second course, I ordered fried fish—and that’s what I got. Literally, fish that were fried. Scales, fins, head still intact. Tasted great, but I could only eat a few. Luckily, I was full—I think having to rip the head off my dinner may have ruined my appetite otherwise.

The next morning, we went to Capri. It ended up being a little more stressful and more expensive than I had hoped, probably because we had time restraints. We took a hydrofoil (boat) from Sorrento to Capri, but it only left at certain times so we had to plan accordingly. If we missed the one coming back from Capri to Sorrento, we would have missed our train and would have been stuck there—not that I would have complained too much though. Once on Capri, we first went the Grotto Azzuro. SO beautiful, but kind of a rip off. You pay to take a boat to the grotto, and then you pay again to get in, but they don’t tell you that part. So, once you’re there, you aren’t going to be like oh, nevermind I’m not paying. I always feel a little exploitative when I have to pay to see nature. I’m not necessarily the one exploiting it, but I’m still paying for someone else to!

After that we had to go across the island, which is very tall. So we took a tram and a bus to get to the Mariana that the Professor suggested. Definitely a good choice, because there were NO tourists there. That was a big problem with Capri—tourism. I mean, that’s what we were doing too… but there were just too many! The beaches there were rocky, there was no sand. At first it was cool, I don’t like sand anyway… but when we tried swimming it proved difficult because of the huge boulders under us. As we layed out, we watched yachts park out in the water and people would jump off and swim. Reminded me of being at my cabin, only we were on a lake and had a pontoon—not a yacht, haha. After spending the day on the beautiful island, we headed home. We got to sit in one of those cabin style train cars, like Harry Potter. It was pretty cool. I didn’t bring my camera, for two reasons. I knew it was going to be so beautiful, and I would want to take pictures the whole time—so I thought maybe it would be better if I just took it all in with my eyeball lens, not my camera’s. And I’m glad. I also didn’t want to worry about my expensive camera getting wet/sandy/ruined/stolen. Honestly, pictures don’t describe the beauty there. I will go back to Sorrento. And I’ll probably go back to Capri.

Coming soon:

  • Visiting St Peters Basilica
  • Private mansions and other exhibits
  • Gelato and my feelings
  • Crazy flight experience
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