Monday, 16 December 2013

Dropping Off At: Rome & Sorrento

Roman Theatre in Pompeii
During October half term, whilst my family were in an extremely cold Britain, I went to the beautiful country of Italy with thirty one other people from my school.

We left on the Saturday we broke up, at 10:30PM. I was kind of upset since it was the first time I was spending quite a long length of time without my family but as we were driving to Gatwick I started to have more of a laugh with the people that were around me.

Our flight was leaving a six in the morning and we weren't allowed to check in until four. The funny thing was, our bus got into the airport at two so we all ended up camping out on just outside of check-in which wasn't an extremely comfortable experience. When we finally managed to check in, we all went to go a get some food since we wouldn't be having a proper meal until the evening and then we finally boarded the plane.

Finally getting out of the plane was amazing, the weather in Italy was absolutely gorgeous. It was another five or six hours until we actually got to the hotel then. I genuinely thought that the room was going to end up killing, or the bunk beds at the very least. We ended up having dinner a little bit later (which wasn't exactly great) and then we went to our room to get sleep since the majority of us hadn't slept in over 24 hours.

The second day was a lot more exciting, we all woke up pretty early and then travelled to the city of Pompeii. We spent the majority of our day there and it was absolutely amazing. It was so beautiful and I was just mesmerised that it had once been a proper city and the ruins of all the building had once been homes to people who had built them all by hand. You could see the actual position some people had ended up dying in.

That was all in the morning of that day, we spent the second half of the day in Naples Archaeological Museum and I can tell you now, there was barely anything about the architecture like we had all expected but there were a lot of marble statues around and some modern art. There was a load of Egyptian things there which were really interesting to look at. By the end of the day, we were just happy to get on the bus back to the hotel because we were so tired and warm.
View from the top of Mount Vesuvius

The third day involved us walking to the top of Vesuvius. The bus drove us half way and the when had to walk the rest of the way and we were already above some of the clouds. The first part of the walk was extremely hard since it was so steep and there was no shade at all from the sun. The whole group ended up getting really thirsty and out of breath quite quickly. It got to a point that there was a shop and it started to get less steep from there which made things a lot better. Midway through the climb one of the girls had to go to the hospital because she tripped and needed to get the grit cleaned out of it. So, two of our teachers went with her whilst we carried on to the top. I felt like I was dying most of the time but then we got to the point where we could see the crater it was like a huge boost to right to the top. The carter was absolutely huge, it was one of those things where you never really have a scale in your mind of how big it really is until you actually see it. Getting to the top of Vesuvius was such an amazing feeling. The view from the top was gorgeous and one of our teachers was nearly in tears because she didn't think that she would be able to get all the way to the top. The trek back down was probably the worst part of it all. It was really hard to walk slowly or stop because it felt like you had to keep going because of how steep it was. So, we basically all ran the way back down and were all lucky that we didn't run into someone or trip over a rock.

We took a bit of a break before we got on the bus and had some food and then we made our way to the Herculaneum. It was another city that was hit by the eruption of Vesuvius, only with this one it had been covered in mud instead of being hit with pyroclastic flow. As soon as you stepped in you could see that it can been kept better than Pompeii had, a lot of the building were still I tact and you could make out what a lot of them were. As we were walking around it looked as though people had been making something at that time because you could see the pieces of mosaic in certain places but they never seem to come together to actually make anything. So, one of my teachers thought that maybe around the time of the eruption they were making something.

That night after dinner, me and some of the people in my year group, along with a few teachers did a great escape from the hotel. We didn't each much of the food they had given us at the hotel that night because we didn't enjoy it and nor did the teachers. So, without telling everyone else, we went and found a restaurant to have food at. We then all had to sneak back to the hotel without anyone seeing us, which we did successfully.

The next day we were going over to the capital city, Rome. We hauled our luggage to the bus again and made our way but before we got there we were dropping off at Monte Casino Abbey. I was actually surprised out how big the Abbey was. The inside of it was beautiful and all the designs were really intricate. Our tour guide told us about the whole history behind the Abbey and how it was actually bombed during World War Two because the Allies thought that there were Nazis in there. I think that was the most interesting part of the tour for me.

We hopped back on the bus and then it was a very long journey to our next hotel. We all decided on the bus not to go to the next church because we would have had to go to the hotel first, sort ourselves out, get back on the bus and then go to the church and our teachers realised that we may have not had enough time. So after listening to a lot of songs on my iPod, we finally managed to get to the hotel. I ended up sharing a room with three of the girls in the year above me that time around. I was a little bit skeptical and wasn't sure if they would like me but it turned out that we had a really good laugh the whole time.  That was basically our whole day, it was filled with a lot of travelling.

The Vatican Museum was our first stop the next day. We headed over there by the Metro was was one of the most scariest experiences of my life. There were pick pockets everywhere and two of our teachers had their purses stolen from them. We all tried to dodge the Metro whenever we could and tried to walk to wherever we needed to get to next.

Personally I didn’t find the tour of the Vatican Museum too enjoyable. Some architecture and the history behind it all was really amazing but our tour guide seemed to keep going off of the subject which took us a lot longer to get around everything. We did end up going inside of the Sistine Chapel which was amazing. We had to stay quiet the whole time and we weren’t allowed to take pictures but it was crazy to think that we were in the place were the actually decided on who the next Pope would be. We also headed into St. Peter’s Basilica, I nearly got lost from the group at this point because it was pretty big inside.
After a lengthy tour of the Vatican Museum we headed to the Time Elevator Show. No one was really sure what this was going to be like but once we got in there and they started to show us the whole history of Rome it was amazing. They had different affects going on around us. The taught us the history of how Rome was built and things about the Vatican City.

That night was Halloween so a few of us decided to go to the restaurant all dressed up. Two of my friends went as Mario and Luigi, one of my other friends went as a pirate, there was a girl who just wrapped herself up in toilet paper, there were a lot of people who went as cats and then I went in my Hufflepuff robes. The whole night was a really good laugh and I don’t think  the restaurant staff had expected us to go there all dressed up.
The Colosseum

Our last full day in Italy was spent on a tour of Rome, which was amazing. We went to the Colosseum. Seeing the outside of it was one thing but actually going inside the amphitheatre and seeing where everyone would actually go to sit down and where the event would be held was crazy. After that we went to go and see the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain had to be one of my favourite things, it was gorgeous and I made my three wishes.  It was an amazing day and to be able to see Rome like that is something that I won’t ever be able to forget.

Our last day was spent going to a few shops and then heading to the airport. I think everyone was looking forward to getting back at that point. As much as I had loved Italy and all the history that it held, I was looking forward to seeing my family and being able to sleep in my bed. It was such a memorable experience.

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