Rome Travel Blog› entry 12 of 18 › view all entries
So here I am about to leave Rome, with 2 cities, 1 country, and little more than a week left in this crazy adventuring. Reading through the past couple entries, I realized that they are all woefully summarized, so please, when I talk to you all after returning to my home continent, please ask. There is not one place i visitied in any of these cities that doesnt have some story attached to it and i only included a very few. In an effort to change that, I submit the following amazing tale of yesterday's adventures:
I was just finishing up morning Shacharit prayers, when I hear a knock on my door. I open it, and there is my friend Ryan, who I met at the hostel and have been spending a good deal of time with in Rome. He tells me that I need to drop my current plans to go see the Great Synagogue and instead come with him on a day trip to Pompei. It sounds really great and they are supposed to be some of the best ruins in the world, so after a moment's thought, I'm ready to go.
Fast forward 10 minutes to the 2 of us sprinting toward Termini station in order to catch a 10:27 train to Napoli, which then leads to Pompei. We get on the train, after talking to the conductor who eventually assured us that we could buy tickets on the train and we're off. Because, however, we dont actually have a seat, we're forced to sit on the floor in the little walkway between the front car and the conductor's cabin. As we're sitting there, thrilled to catch the train (the next would have taken another hour and put us in Pompei at the hottest time of day) we start talking to the other two people in the compartment with us. They were two Italian ladies, one an artist and on an actress. They were both friendly but after a couple stops the artist got off the train. The 3 of us who are left begin talking and the Italian launches into a history of her current relationship with her actor boyfriend, all of the ups and downs, what she is doing now and Ryan and I trying to give advice on the future. It was a pretty hilarious scene.
After getting to Napoli, we got onto a local train to Pompei. Believe me when I tell you it was the most aweful mode of transportation ever...and I've ridden a rickety bus with no shocks for 4 hours down a mud path in Nicaragua! It was a horribly crowded subway-like train, with terrible smells emanating from God-knows-where, and some of the sketchiest people I could have thought up. But we get to Pompei, happily disembark our railed Alcatraz, grab a panini and make our way to the ruins.
While waiting in line, a very old Italian tour guide recruits us to join his very inexpensive tour. He was a riot, speaking heavily accented English, and pointing out, in graphic detail, every possible sexual side to life in Pompei. But he really knew his history and the experience was wonderful. The ruins were like nothing else I have ever seen. The technology of the road system was so advanced, with sidewalks, white stones to illuminate the roads at night, hitching posts built into the stone for horses, and all the architecture, frescoes, and mosaics were astonishing. I got some great pics, as did Ryan and 2 friends from our tour group, Brian and Sarika. There's an amazing amphitheatre, which looks eerily similar to the bullfighting arena in Sevilla, Spain. While we were there, we started the wave with some Spaniards across the way, and 2 preteen girls raced each other around the arena, prompting everyone there to clap and cheer for the shirt color of their favorite "gladiator". We also found a secret tunnel in the floor of the amphitheatre, which I happily crawled into and explored (i have pics) while everyone else looked on very afriad for my safety, even thought it was only about 8 feet deep and tunnelled for about another 10 ft. There were a number of amazing buildings and the 4 of us had an amazing time looking around everywhere.
On our way out, we found the night guards' barracks, and one of them, and elderly italian man named Raphael, started talking to us in very excited Italian. Those of us who could tried to adapt our spanish or portuguese in order to understand him, and he went on a hilarious rant about Pompei, the men and women of Napoli, his own family tree, and how we need to come back soon. After about an hour, we exchanged email and Skype info (which he pronounced Ska-ee-pei), and started to leave again, only this time we got sidetracked by the sunset behing this amazing building, one of the largest in the ruins, near the forum. We took a ton of pics, which Ryan is thankfully sending to all of us in a few weeks, and had a fun time dodging the guards, who were legitimately trying to throw us out, as the ruins had technically closed an hour before. Oh well!
After hoping back on the crap train to Napoli, Ryan and I, both beyond exhausted, realize that the train leaving for Rome in 15 mins is the last one until 4 am! So even though it only stops at a station on the other side of Rome from where we were staying, we take the train. After 2 hours, and many odd conversations with italians, spaniards, brazileros, and brits, we end up back in Rome. The next problem is how to get back to our side of town. The metro is closed, and only one night bus can get us there, and we dont ahve a schedule. So we try to get a taxi, but after a couple of jerks stole the first 2 that came along, we finally get another one. The only problem is we want to help out the brazilians we met on the train, but there's not enough room for all of us. After 5 mins of debate, the bus we need finally arrives, so we give them the cab, hop on the free bus, and head out. Finally back at the hostel (at 1:45 AM) Ryan realizes that he has no room, as he's been paying day to day and forgot to confirm a room for tonight, his last night. So after much looking and prodding, the manager finds him a bed, and we say our final farewells, as today, thursday, I'm off to Nice and he's off to the eastern coast of Italy to stay with his cousins. It was a little sad, as he is one of the few new people I've met on this trip that I'll actually keep up with at home. He was a lot of fun, an easy travelling buddy, and we got to meet more people and see more things together than I ever would have been able to or couldve planned on my own. He really helped take Rome from great to amazing. Just goes to show you that cool people and good friends are everywhere if you bother to take the time to look.
Well I hope you enjoyed that story. Now I know why I dont include them in such detail, as that took forever to type just now, and will probably take u just as long to read. I suspect only my parents and people who are very bored will be reading this whole entry, but those who have, I hope you have enjoyed.
Just as a brief update, I'm currently in the Jewish ghetto area of Rome, after having seen the Synagoge and connected Museo Ebraico. They were marvellous, and it was nice after sooooo many cathedrals and chuches and Pope cities to be somewhere really old and Jewish. I'll be grabbing lunch shortly, then heading back towards the terminal (eventually) as my train leaves in about 7 hours for Nice, where I'll be spending the weekend before heading to Paris sunday night. So as I say goodbye to you, oh lovely blog readers, I must also say Ciao to Italy, a coutry that has treated me to adventure, beauty, excellent food, sights, and the hottest weather in my recent memory. Arrivederci Italy!!!!!