I don’t even know where to start, this has been the longest I have stayed in a country since leaving AUS and it’s sad to leave. From shopping in Milan (who am I kidding, shopping everywhere because of the saldi), to walking on water in Venice, to dodging the beautiful chaos of Naples and tying it all up with the monuments of Rome. Genuinely the only thing I am grateful for is to get away from all the sales, my bank account or bag for that matter cannot handle another pair of pants.
At first I couldn’t believe how different each of the cities were, but than I began to think about how the different cities back at home are, for example how New South Wales is better than Canberra. In saying that, they are all linked by a few important features, a. Aperol Spritz, b. Pasta and Pizza, c. Gelato, d. Espressos… and probably a lot more that have been lost in the craziness of my two weeks here in Italy.
Sitting down and writing a recount of such a blur was hard to do, because each day I have new moments of ‘holy crap I can’t believe this is real.’ Being able to remember them all is a hard task, especially when I haven’t been writing as much as I would have liked too (sorry to disappoint, but I’ve been a busy bee (did you know that saying comes from Italy)).
I did really sit down and think though, so here you have a little summary of Italy.
Starting in Milan, we didn’t spend long, but a day was enough to spend 300€, drifting from shop to shop. It was easy to find me in any shop, generally admiring the long coats and thick leather jackets, whilst mum was lost in the sweater section (generally looking at a shade of green). I can confirm I’m still a size small, even to the shop keepers disagreement. A full day of shopping does come with a lot of hard work, getting in and out of jeans, skirts, shirts… its sweating business honestly. This is where I also found the full extent of my packing abilities as I came home and managed to fit all my new goodies into the backpack I left home with. *I still think I can fit another jacket. But I’m holding out for a nice vintage one.
Moving along to Venice, which was an emotional stop knowing that it as mum’s last adventure with me, but what a beautiful city to end in! This is where we began to learn what happy hour meant in Italy, got a feel for the food and bartered with different leather bag shop keepers to find the best price. It was a relaxing and came with no real plans than to explore the little island. It’s beauty could be found down every skinny street and large stretch of water. I will not forget the amount of stairs over each canal, and the rickety cobblestones that would kill an ankle or two. I am still yet to see food markets like the ones in Venice. It was just amazing to stand in the city and imagine what it would be like to be a local, growing up on an island that you can run around in a few hours. As mum kept saying, “does anyone actually live here?”
The train going to Naples was where the reality of being solo again set in, not that it was a bad feeling. It was just different to what I had been experiencing for the previous three weeks. So my adventure changed tune again, especially being met with the chaos that cannot be described in words, just go and you will understand (don’t drive in Naples). This is where I found my absolute adoration for margarita pizzas, they are beyond life itself. Who knew that basil, tomato and cheese, married together on a crispy dough base would be the reason to put Naples on the map. My hostel was genuinely the best I have stayed in yet *Secret Gardens Hopstel (if you are wondering because this blog post sold a trip to Naples for you) I met some amazing friends in my hostel, and its where I really experienced what I imagine a share house would be like. I think some of my fondest memories of this trip may be from that hostel. Check in on Feb the 9th to see if I can confirm this information.
I would lie to say I spent much time in Naples itself, rather I did many day trips: Pompeii, Sorento and beautiful Amalfi. Pompeii, as described in a previous post on Facebook, really made me think about how life would have been like millions of years ago. (Is it millions? please no one fact check that). The brilliant inventions of the Romans, that were found in Pompeii are still used all over the world today. Being in Pompeii gave me a different respect for how largely the Roman’s played a part in today’s world.
The day trip to Amalfi coast had me utterly speechless the whole time, I had mostly thoughts of just passing away there and then (because nothing could bring me more contentment than drinking wine on the beach, looking up at the rock formation of that beautiful coastline). I ate the most amazing pasta in Amalfi, but the highlight of the day was the bus ride from Sorento to Amalfi, the old single street road (that looked hairy to drive) held the most breathtaking views. I could have sat on that bus the whole day (even with the angry old Italian man). I think my trip to Amalfi is running in contentions with one of the most memorable days on this trip yet. Again check in on the 9th.
After Naples, of course we tied Italy up with its capital city, Ancient Rome. I say ancient because walking around you can see the brick work that was from the Romans, and how it has been reused and remade into more sturdy buildings for modern day use.
I learnt on the walking tour that the Roman Empire loved to recycle and that when a building fell down, they reused the rubble for another one. There are bits of the Colosseum throughout all of Rome.
I did another day trip to the iconic Pisa, and tied it in with an afternoon in Florence. Both cities opened my eyes to Tuscany, something that I didn’t give too much thought before coming on this trip. The quiet towns were like a deep breath after the busy streets of Rome. I was blessed with the beautiful sun on all of my day trips in Italy which made these places really come to life.
In saying that, I am now sitting in a garden in Rome, on a very overcast day but its beauty is all the same, the moody sky brings a contrast to the green forests and blue fountains; one that wouldn’t be found on a day full of sunlight.
Leaving Italy also means my trip is nearing its end, I know I have a few weeks left, but when I started this adventure I thought this journey would never end. 11 weeks away feels like a long time until you only have three weeks before you’re on a plane.
But I won’t think on it too much now. Something tells me Spain will be a blur, I’ve been requested to party it away. So I guess I’ll go shake some ass in Spain.
Go visit Italy! Eat some pasta, drink some wine and walk for miles around its tiny streets. Get lost because that is the only way to find the secrets of a city.