Rome, Amalfi, Sorrento, starting Venice
27.09.2010 20 °C
Rome, days 22-24
Rome was very interesting. It’s very dirty and crowded, and it’s sad to see so many majestic buildings full of graffiti and rubbish. We stayed out of the city in a really lovely campground, but to get into Rome we had to catch a train in from a seriously dodgy area called Prima Porta. Wow, very scummy. We got to do loads in Rome though, the Spanigh Steps, the Trevi fountain, the Forum, and of course the Coloseum, which was so amazing! We spent hours wandering around. On day 2 we decided to do the Vatican, which turned out to be mental because the Pope was speaking. So we decided to be clever and go through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel while the Pope was speaking as all the people would be there. We were wrong, it was still busy but not as bad. We had lunch near the Piazza Navona & the Pantheon, then went back in the afternoon to go through the Basilica. The queue stretched the entire way across St Peter’s Square, but luckily only took about 35 minutes to get in. Rome is definitely so different to what we expected, but fascinating nonetheless. It’s quite small as well, so you can pretty much walk everything which helps with cost as well.
Sorrento, Naples, Amalfi, days 25-28
Next stop, Naples. We actually stayed out of Naples, in a suburb of Sorrento called Seiano. Tiny, tiny, tiny village, right by the sea, with a tiny little harbour, a church, 4 restaurants and 2 campsites. The couple who owned it were so delightful, and it was 6 days before they were due to close for the season, so it was lovely and quiet.
We took a boat trip out to Amalfi the first day, it is the most spectacular coast. Huge, towering cliffs, then tiny villages perched on top of them, or squeezed into tiny bays on the shore. Amalfi itself is a fabulous little village, loads of shops for just about everything, and lots of pizzerias and restaurants squeezed into tiny little alleyways. The Cathedral is amazing, vast contrast to say St Peter’s Basilica, and sadly not as well taken care of, but more beautiful in its own way. St Andrew is buried there and every year on St Andrew’s holiday, a vial is placed on the tomb which fills up with a mysterious liquid, and has done so for the last 750 years. Very cool. As usual we had bad luck getting back, as the ferry was cancelled (nobody lets you know, you have to figure it out for yourself) and then we had to get the bus (2 hours to go 30kms) and then the train back to Seiano. Wow, what a crap way to end an awesome day. That and I got hit in the bum by a freak wave to was wet for the trip back.
The next day the heavens opened but as time was running short we decided to carry on and go to Pompei as planned. It was so interesting, but unfortunately we couldn’t really appreciate it as we were drowning most of the time we were there. Luckily it was free entry for the day, so we didn’t feel too bad that we couldn’t see everything. It’s so hard to get your head around the fact that people were doing such similar things to what we do today, going out to ‘cafes’, decorating homes, but just 2000 years ago.
After lunch (when it finally stopped raining) we went into Naples for about 20 minutes. It is the most disgusting place I’ve been in in a long time. It makes a South African squatter camp look like a posh suburb. We just had a quick look round and while we were there were warned by a lady who had been robbed there that morning, which was noty surprising as we felt very unsafe. So we thought ‘not worth it’ and went back to pretty, peaceful Seiano. We went for a walk to find a restaurant for dinner and met the sweetest lady who couldn’t speak a word but was so cute, and could say ‘Nuevo Zealanda!!!!’ so we came back for dinner. She grabbed my hand and led us to a gorgeous table overlooking the stormy sea. We could feel the waves breaking underneath us. We had the most fantastic (and cheap!!!) pizza ever, they don’t lie when they say that’s the best area for pizza.
Venice, days 29-?
We have had to stay an extra day here as this morning was pelting down with rain so we decided to take a day off and just chill out. We went to a small mall to do some shopping, watched the Godfather, had a coffee at the camp cafe and tidied up all our bags. Tomorrow the weather is looking to be loads better and we will spend the day in Venice.