Let’s start at the beginning…

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About two weeks ago I left Orvieto to start an adventure throughout Europe! The first week was spent with my classmates in the north of Italy, on our first day we boarded a bus and headed to Verona.

On our way to Verona we stopped at the Chiesa dell’Autostrada, it was a beautiful modern church that basically looked like a bunch of concrete trees forming a canopy, really breathtaking.

We had only one stop in Verona, Castle Vecchio which was renovated by Carlo Scarpa. It was definitely interesting, a well done combination of the original architecture and the renovations done by Scarpa. The best thing I like about Scarpa is his attention to detail, as a whole his work looks amazing but is even more incredible when looked at in detail.

After touring the castle I decided to take a nap in the sun near some water on the grounds, best decision ever! It was glorious and wonderful, and then a group of us played hacky sack before we left..

The rest of the day was left to us to do what we wanted, so we headed to Juliet’s balcony. Now I am not big on the story of Romeo and Juliet, I personally think they were a bit moronic. I still appreciate the classic story and Shakespeare so I wanted to at least stop by and its free so why not?

The balcony was……gross. It was cute that the balcony had soft lighting and was hidden away and that couples had left locks on the gate nearby. But what they also left was chewing gum….everywhere. On the wall, on the tree, pretty much any surface possible….bleck.

This day happened to also be Lindsey ( one of my roommates and best friends) birthday!  We of course decided to have a nice dinner and just walk around Verona.

The next day we headed to Vicenza….

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So I’ve been traveling for the past two weeks and I have a lot to write about! So look forward to loads of adventures to read about the upcoming weeks!

Amazing Amalfi and painful positano

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On our free day we went to Amalfi and Positano! The day started out well because the four of us, my roommates and I, made it to the bus station and got on the right bus to Amalfi! I know that doesn’t sound like much but most of the time we are told where to go and what to do so we were all quite proud of our moment of successful independence!

The bus ride was…..windy…I haven’t had a good track record so far with motion sickness ( see Assisi) so I was armed with bonine to help and it did, so I made to Amalfi with my breakfast!

Amalfi was unexplainable, it was such a well needed breath of fresh air!  We wandered around the town basically the entire day I think we spent a good couple hours at the beach and on the pier just looking at the water and searching for sea glass!

There was a really beautiful cathedral we found and spent some time in as well. It did start to rain so we needed to spend some time inside so we sat down and shared a bottle of wine.

We got on the bus back and stopped in Positano, where we had heard there was a nice beach along with a lot of stairs to get to the beach.

We got to Positano and immediately started down the stairs to get to the beach, how many stairs you ask? About 500-600……one way…

getting down there was one thing getting back up was another, the beach was worth it though, the water was awesome and we got there right around sunset. I also made friends with a dog who friends before us had named Socks 🙂 he was cute and adorable and sweet. I kept this in mind as I made the trek back up the cliff, literally pretty much a cliff with stairs. Woof.

We survived and made it back to Sorrento in one piece, and the next day we headed back home to Orvieto! We did however stop at a Villa in Castera, while it was a short visit it was enjoyable.

We were all pretty tired and cranky so the last thing anyone wanted to do was tour a villa. The villa was beautiful and was the backdrop for a scene in a Star Wars movie, how cool is that? The crown jewel however was the “backyard”. It was a long spanse of Italian gardens with water features that went on for at least a mile. We had an hour before we needed to leave so a lot of us chose to rent a bike for 4 euro and ride around the grounds…BEST decision of the day! It was wonderful and awesome and the perfect ending to the south trip!

 

The following weekend we spent some time in Florence and in about a week we will head on our North Trip and then Spring Break! Busy times ahead and lots to share!

 

Sweet, sweet sorrento with a dash of Capri

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For the end of our trip we stayed in a fairly large coastal town called Sorrento. There wasn’t much to do in Sorrento other that eat and shop, so most of our time was spent adventuring outward!

Our first adventure was to Island of Capri! For those of you that live in Kansas City, no I am not talking about the casino, I am talking about the beautiful island off the coast of southern Italy.

To get to Capri, we had to take a ferry, it took about twenty minutes from Sorrento. It was fun because the water is beautiful and I love boats and the open water and also because my entire class was like kids in a candy store with the ocean we were all just giddy with excitement!

We arrived at Marina Grande and from there took a bus up to Capri. The island itself has two areas, each one designated by a mountain/hill/landform whatever you want to call it. Anacapri is  on one side and Capri is on the other. We went to Capri to see the Villa San Michele that was the home of Axel Munthe. Of course it started to pour once we got up there so it was quite the soggy hike to the villa. It was worth it though because although it was very simple and small, it was obviously designed with a love for Capri because the main focus is taking in the views and climate of the island. After our tour we had a few hours left until our boat left for Sorrento so we ate lunch and waited for the rain to stop. We had desperately wanted to see the blue grotto but unfortunately it was closed due to high tide so we had to miss out:( Overall Capri was beautiful and was a much needed dose of the ocean!  The next day was a free day so we headed to Amalfi…..

Pompei and such

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The second day of our trip we went to the ruins of Pompei. We had a personal tour guide and we spent around four hours walking around and seeing the amazing ruins. For those of you who don’t know Pompei was a fairly large town with fortress walls, two watch towers and nearly 12,000 people. In 79 AD a nearby volcano, Vesuvius, started showing signs of eruption. By the time the volcano actually erupted, the entire city was evacuated except 3,000 who perished under 30ft of volcanic ash and pumice. Archaeologists began excavating around 1500 and now have excavated 2/3 of Pompei. The other 1/3 is waiting to be excavated for the future generations when there is hopefully better technology.

There were beautiful frescoes and mosaics, and also some stray dogs haha. On a side note, there were an oddly large amount of stray dogs, but they were incredibly sweet, well-behaved, and not aggressive at all! I have found most dogs, stray or not, to be extremely well behaved here, its an interesting observation I have made and one I enjoy because I will always choose petting a dog over anything.

After admiring a large part of Pompei, we left and headed to Naples to see the Archaeological museum where there were mosaic works from ancient civilizations and from Pompei as well. We did not stay in Naples for very long, honestly it is not the best place I’ve seen so far, I am glad I just stayed in the museum.

From Naples we headed to Sorrento where we would stay for the next few days….

Paestum

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This past week, as a class we took a five day trip to the south of Italy, we left on Wednesday and returned yesterday evening. We left bright and early at 7:30 from Orvieto on a coach bus and arrived, after a few rest stops at Paestum around noon.
Paestum is very tiny and really the only thing to see are the ruins of a small town with a few temples dedicated to greek gods and goddesses. It was a really gorgeous day and the grass of the ruins was a brilliant green. Although nothing except the temples reached above me, I thought the ruins were amazing!
 
You could see the foundations of shops and homes and in some places the mosaic flooring was still there! There were so many wildflowers growing up and around these fallen structures. We had fun walking around and climbing over walls even though that wasn’t always allowed 🙂
 
The temples themselves were astounding, once again I was in the presence of something I have only seen in textbooks and my mind was blown!
 
We spent around four hours there and then we headed to Pompei……