We drove out to the beach last Thursday, July 21, and swam in the Mediterranean. The beach is only about 20 minutes away from where we are right now (which is still in a hotel waiting to get into a permanent place.) Here are a few photos from our evening.
On Saturday, July 23, we spent 12 hours in Rome! Last week we were looking into going to Rome for part of the weekend and we didn't know if we wanted to stay the night or not. Everyone just kept saying to do day trips because by train Rome is only an hour away and it's not going anywhere. So we decided to just do a day trip. I was looking online at train times and I saw one that got into Rome at 9am and left Rome at 9pm. I was like 12 hours in Rome seems like a good amount of time for our first trip. I asked Clark if that sounded good and he said yeah! It should be noted about 8 hours into the day we were both singing a different tune. 12 hours straight in a city with no place to come back to and regroup (a.k.a A hotel or Airbnb) is a lot. But in the end it was great and I don't regret going that long at all.
So like I said we took the train from Naples to Rome. It was about an hour and we used the train Italo. At one point it was going 180mph so yeah we got there quick. Drive from Rome to Naples takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes so the train ride is nice. Once we got to Naples we bought all day metro tickets that cost $7 each and used them to go from the central station to the Colosseum. As soon as we exited that metro station the Colosseum is right in front of you and it's amazing and beautiful and huge and definitely a great first look at Rome for us! Our only scheduled thing for the day was a tour at the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel which was at noon so we had a little time in the morning. We didn't end up touring the Colosseum this time but definitely next time.
From the Colosseum we walked to the Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi in Italian. It is amazing. I joked on instagram that Rome was living up to all my Lizzie McGuire Movie expectations but seriously it did and than some. The fountain is very awesome and 110% worth the visit. Don't forget to make a wish and toss a coin in. After that we headed to the nearest Metro so we could get over to Vatican City. (The metro system in Rome is really very easy!) Once we got close to the Vatican we stopped for some lunch. You guessed it, PIZZA! Always haha. It was delicious per usual. Then we went into the Vatican, definitely buy your tickets online so you don't have to wait in line. We headed straight for the Sistine Chapel and I am so glad we did because there was a lot to see and look at before we even got there. Unfortunately, there is no AC inside the museum so we were boiling the entire time. But the Sistine Chapel alone is worth it and I even snuck a photo (shhhhhh, don't tell!)
After that we got tickets to do the sightseeing bus tour which takes you in a big loop around downtown Rome and you get headphones and get to listen to history and facts about the different sights you are seeing. I also love how the photos I took from the top deck of the sightseeing bus turned out. I always love doing sightseeing bus tours in new cities because you learn so much. We got to see where Julius Caesar was murdered and see a ton of different historical sites which would have definitely burned us out if we decided to walk there. Even with our hop on/ hop off sightseeing bus tickets and all day metro tickets we ended up walking 14.4 miles which is more than a half marathon! I walked 26,000 steps via fitbit! Needless to say we were so tired by the end of the day.
We had gelato twice and it was great each time. The second time we found this little hidden gem Frigidarium which has a 4.8 out of 5 rating with 250+ reviews. It really is so good. My favorite gelato flavor so far is definitely peach (pesca in Italian)! I just love it. The fruit flavors are really very yummy.
We had such a lovely weekend! (weekend of July 16th, yes I'm a little behind on posting.) It was only our second full weekend in Italy but we are trying to enjoy everything has much as possible. We know that there is so much to do and see that we don't want to take any time for granted. A lot of people said the best way to travel at first is with tours and tour groups through different on base organizations. So we booked a tour with the USO on base, since we still don't have a car it is nice to do tours that provide all the transportation. It is also a great way to make friends and see some of this beautiful country without having to navigate it yourself.
We left at 8am on Saturday and got back to base around 6pm. It was a full long day but totally worth it. We had about 4 hours of free time in the coastal town of Amalfi, Italy. I am sure you all have heard of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It is so beautiful, along the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the top tourist destinations in the world. And let me tell you it is so worth it. We had wonderful pizza and gelato. I had this yummy amoretto flavor and Clark has a really good black cherry flavor. We toured the 9th century Roman Catholic cathedral that is in Amalfi and even got to see the room where apostle Saint Andrew's relics and remains are held. Really amazing history and experience.
Then we spent some time down at the beach. The water is so nice and not cold. Just a nice temperature. The stereotype of Italians in speedos definitely holds up. Now we know why no one has weird tan lines haha. But in all seriousness it just wasn't a big deal and I thought that was cool. No one cared if anyone else had a little tummy fat or love handles. Everyone was just enjoying themselves. Clark and I also spent some time of the pier just relaxing and taking in the view. Clark took the amazing panorama which is posted right above this paragraph. I also made a little video of our day in Amalfi. While I really enjoying taking photos and videos and putting them together. I have decided to only take one type of media with me. So either I am taking nice photos on my DSLR or maybe I'll do video. But not both because it was just too much to carry about both and worry about it. Time it better spent doing other things. Besides I love the way the photos turned out, the video not as much. But that's okay. I thought I would share it anyways because I don't want the video to be wasted! love, Carlee PS: follow me on instagram (@carleewengel) for a better real time view of our travel.
Last Friday, our orientation group went on a tour of downtown Naples with our Intercultural Relations leader, who is the cutest little Italian man named Giuseppe. Our group was 22 people and they were all in our orientation class throughout the first week we were here. It ended up raining during our tour so instead of doing some of the planned events, we went to tour the Royal Palace. Which was awesome and I am so glad we got to see it with a tour group because you get more information when you have a knowledgable tour guide with you instead of just walking though yourself.
The royal palace is amazing and it was home to the monarchy back when Italy had kings and queens and before that when Italy was under the control of other nations. On the outside of the palace are statues of every ruler but unfortunately the outside is covered in scaffolding so we couldn't see it but we are here for 3 years so hopefully sometime in that period they will be finished with construction of the outside. But the inside was absolutely beautiful, especially the grand stair case which I have photos of above. It might have been my favorite part. Another one of my favorite things was the tapestry that took about 50 years to complete and showed a scene. It basically looked like a painting but it was on done by thread which is amazing!
After the Royal palace we went to the galleria umberto which has shops and cafes but mostly the building it just beautiful and the whole entire roof is basically just one big sky light. We had some spaghetti and pizza and I had this wonderful graffa (donut) for dessert and I ordered it all in Italian (it was very broken) but the guy at the biggest smile on his face because he knew I was trying. They can really appreciate when people try to speak Italian. It was a good little trip! love, Carlee