The Gateway

The Gateway
The separation between life and death

Monday, November 7, 2011

Final Travels

 Installation numero tre in this blog of my travel week~ Except that this time I'll probably end up adding more to the end of this before I get a chance to post it. Internet has proved to be rather scarce ever since Venezia, as you will soon learn.
We left the coffee shop planning to explore Venezia a bit before finding a different place for lunch...which was such a good idea. Venezia is easily my most favorite place in Italy now. It's beautiful, the weather's nice, it's not that crowded, and it has so many pretty things to look at. If I didn't know its reputation, I almost wouldn't believe it's a tourist town. It doesn't smell like anything other than a little town, so I have disproved all of the people who claim they dislike it because it smells. Tsk. Our Venezia day isn't going to be particularly detailed really...if you ever want beautiful jewelry or fantastic blown glass, that's the place for you to go. But I can do little to begin to describe to you how much fun it is just to walk around in. As dark fell, we got lost for a while, though we eventually managed to find our way back to the train station with time to spare, as always. I will say that the entire day had been rather cold though, and the night was no exception.
While we waited around in the train station, we uncovered a mountain of difficulties pertaining to the train tickets we had left to reserve for our nightly travels. After a lot of stressing and financial debate, we managed to pull through it, though things were tense for a bit. We also had another two or three hours to wait until our train even arrived.
Once again we all spent the night in different compartments, so I made my way to mine. I found that the curtains had been pulled, the door shut, and the lights turned off. Baffled, I opened the door to find a slightly scruffy man standing inside. We talked for a second, and then he pulled down the case he'd been preparing to lift moments before that, before I walked in. It turns out he was a musician, and he unwrapped a cello and began to play it, blues-style, like a guitar or a bass. It was amazing. We were the only two in the compartment for the first two stops, so we talked about music and he told me he'd studied music and lived in New York for eight years a while back. His English was very good, and he also told me his name was Bruno. Once people started to fill up the car though, he was forced to put his cello away, since they didn't particularly appreciate him taking up so much space with it. He hung around playing with his ipod for a little while, and then left a little before his stop, I guess to get out of the silence. I don't blame him. It was too cold for me to really sleep, and the other silent members of my room didn't seem particularly cuddly. I managed to catch an hour of sleep or so pretty early in the morning, and then woke up in time to get off the train at Napoli. From there, about half an hour later, we caught a train to Pompei, which took little to no time.
We spent majority of today in Pompei, you might be thinking. Well, I wasn't aware either. However, maybe ten minutes after we'd entered the ruins, we noticed a white and brown bundle on the ground behind a gate down next to the ampitheatre. Curious, and thinking it was a pile of cats, we made our way down to it...and discovered it was instead a pile of puppies. PUPPIES. They crawled under the gate and played with us, and there's a good possibility that we played with them for a good fifteen minutes to half an hour. We also debated the logistics of bringing one through customs. They were so adorable~ Probably the highest point of my day was sitting there with those bundles of carefree fluff. We then, well....wandered the ruins. We noticed a very large number of dogs there as well, which was fairly interesting. Apparently they recently started a program to tag, microchip, and care for every dog that lives within Pompei, which I think is a wonderful idea. From there, we attempted to get to the internet at lunch, only to find we had to pay for it. However, there were kittens at the place we ate, so I patted one for several minutes once we'd finished eating and started just talking. Afterwards, we left Pompei to see if we could find some internet back in Napoli. We did not. And currently, I'm sitting in the Napoli train station again, waiting for a train...again. Our next train leaves at 21:50, so we've still got a good two hours of waiting left. However, I will conclude this incomplete entry with: You're waiting for a train. You hope you know where this train will take you, but you can't know for sure. But it doesn't matter. Now tell me why. (Props if you recognize it.)
And now it's time to add a summary of our day in Verona! Verona, while being well known as the site of Romeo AND Juliet, is also quite a lovely town~ The weather, while being a bit chilly, was also pretty mild and we managed to find Juliet's Tomb first off. However, we had no proof we were students, and decided to go see Juliet's House instead, thinking it would either be more worth the money or else cheaper. Along the way, we stopped at a rather nice little cafe, with the coolest tables I've ever seen. They were made of some kind of clear resin, with themed items embedded in them, like the pieces of a violin or a fully deconstructed clock. After we left, we grabbed cups of hot chocolate to go. By the by, Italians don't make hot chocolate like you're thinking of hot chocolate. They give you a cup of very hot chocolate pudding. It's phenomenal, and perfect for cold cities like Verona. We walked over to Juliet's House shortly afterwards and were quite shocked both at the number of locks attached to the iron gates outside as well as the number of names written in the tunnel leading up to the house. The locks might be baffling though, so I'll explain for those of you who don't know about it. It is apparently an Italian thing to put a lock somewhere either romantic, difficult to reach, or both, when you marry, and to get rid of the key. If you want a divorce, you must find the key and unlock it. It's not all that romantic really, since it puts the husband in a pretty awful situation, but I think it'd be sweet if both the husband and the wife placed one~ At any rate, now you know. We bummed around in the courtyard outside the balcony on Juliet's House and then decided to very lsowly make our way back to the train station. We shopped through a small market on our way there, and I myself gained a beautiful flatcap and a gift for the last person on my shopping list. My comrades were equally successful in their purchases. We then managed to make our way back to the train station, and now I am currently sitting in first class, across from Becca, updating you, my readers. There's no internet on the train though, so I doubt you'll hear about this before tomorrow. We have about an hour once we get back to Milano, and then our night train will see us traveling back to Roma, where we'll catch a train to Firenze in the morning. I'm incredibly excited to return, and also equally excited to finally be done with traveling. It's fun, but I miss taking showers, sleeping in beds, not having to always pay for meals, having access to outlets and the internet know, the usual conveniences. Until tomorrow!
This is clearly not tomorrow, but eh. Details. I'm writing this entry from the comfort of the couches back at the villa, as Ben plays guitar in the background, completing the picture of the villa as complete perfection. I'm so happy to be back~ There's only a little more to cover, and then my travel week will be officially closed on this blog.
We were in Firenze the full day, shopping and enjoying ourselves. Much laughter and nostalgia happened, and we made some good deals. I managed to get a suitcase for exactly what I was hoping to pay, and everyone else finished their shopping for friends and family back home. There's...actually not a lot more left to say. You've already read my assessment of Firenze, so I assure you it has not changed.
Then came today. The worst day of our travels I believe. We took a night train from Roma to Bari, trying to kill some time the next day so we'd arrive in Perugia at a time when we could get a ride back to the villa. However, I woke up and my compartment mates informed me that I had just barely missed my stop. So I ran to wake up my traveling companions, and we got off in a tiny town called Monopoli. After exhausting our options on how to make it back to Bari in time for the train we needed, we got a cab back to Bari, trying to find something else to get us back to Perugia. From there, we finally caught a train up to Bologna, after a good hour or so of debating and planning desperately, and from there we got another train to Firenze and then Perugia. There was a lot of exhaustion and stress hidden in there, but all of our trains were first class. We finally got back to Perugia and got a cab back to the villa, arriving home at some time between 22:00 and 23:00. And now? I'm here! And sitting around casually discussing our trip and writing this up. I'll actually post it tomorrow, but for now I'll at least be caught up.

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