Monday, October 21, 2013

Napoli, Capri & Pompeii

This past weekend we took a group trip to Naples. We stayed in a small hotel on the same street where Prof. Balena lived. Every morning we had a cornetto and cappucino at the same cafe same restaurant every night. For lunch, we were given bagged lunches from another place down the street. It was so nice to be in Naples because we were with our professor who is from the area and he knew everyone! It reminded me of the tv show Cheers! when Norm walks into the bar and every one screams his name. Wherever we went with Prof. Balena everyone would scream "OTTA!!!". Everyone in the area was so friendly and we definitely made a lot of friends during this trip. We got to Naples around 7 on thursday night and had dinner around 8. I'm still so full from all the food we ate this weekend. Neapolitan food is amazing but they serve so much food! Thursday night we had seafood which was excellent! Naples is on the water which was what made the city beautiful. Everyone that we talked to before our trip told us to watch out for people trying to steal from us and not everyone said they liked the city. Naples doesn't have a very good reputation but Prof. Balena would always talk about how everything is better in Naples. After this weekend I have nothing negative to say about the city. Everything is definitely better in Naples. Maybe not the trash filled streets and graffiti, but everything else was amazing. After dinner thursday night we got our first experience of the city by walking around at night and seeing a lot of the history behind the city and seeing just how beautiful Naples night life is right on the water. We walked for a very long time and were all extremely exhausted when we got back to the hotel. Friday we went to Capri... which i'm going to save until the end to talk about because I have to save the best for last! Friday night we went out to dinner again and had lots of pasta and fried food. Once again, so filling. Afterwards the adults knew how tired we all were so we were able to go to bed right after dinner. Our visit to Pompeii was on Saturday and that was incredible. I had heard very little about Pompeii but remembered the most important stuff. Pompeii is full of ancient roman ruins that were uncovered after the entire city was destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. The lava didn't reach the city but the ashes and gasses killed everyone in the city immediately. Something that I still haven't gotten used to since I've been in Rome is how old everything is and imagining everyone that has walked before me in the exact same spot. Ancient emperors and kings have been to the same places I have and that astonishes me. What was extremely overwhelming in Pompeii was seeing the remains of the people that lived there. When the people perished what remained was cavities that were later found and archaeologists pumped plaster into these cavities and in certain places in pompeii you can see these plaster filled cavities. You are able to see the last seconds of a person's life and that is a very depressing sight to see. On the upside, it was very exciting to see ancient ruins and picture a lively city that was there thousands of years ago. While we were in Pompeii Prof. Balena didn't have anything to cover his bald head and so instead of having to hold a map over his head I lent him my scarf to wear as a turban. It was definitely a sight to see (I will post a photo). After Pompeii we went back to the hotel and napped before dinner. After dinner, Prof. Balena and a few of his friends took us out around town in their cars to see more of the city night life. We went to the top of a very big hill to see the city all light up. It was a gorgeous place. He told us that he was taking us to one of the most romantic places in rome. I also learned that there are two different ways to say "I love you" in italian. Prof. Balena is not only a generally happy person full of information but he is also a big romantic, which makes sense because he has a huge heart. In italian, "ti voglio bene" is what you would say to a friend or family when you wanted to say that you love them. In a relationship (boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife) you would say "ti amo". He further explained the three different ways the greeks used "I love you" but that was very confusing. Sunday we didn't have anything planed but Prof. Balena's friends took us out around the city again to show us Naples during the daytime. His friend that owned the cafe that we had been eating at opened up just for us on Sunday so we could have breakfast. For lunch we finally got to have Neapolitan pizza. To no surprise the pizza was huge and delicious. I was unable to finish mine after eating so much this weekend but I loved every bite. It was very sad to leave on Sunday and I am already looking forward to going back in the future (WHEN i get the chance, not if).
There are many reasons why I saved Capri for last but the most important one is because you save the best for last. Capri was the highlight of my weekend and I don't think I ever stopped smiling. The second we got off the ferry I fell in love with the little town. The whole place is on a hill so there was a lot of going up and down hills but I didn't mind at all. The view from the top was gorgeous and normally this is when I would be speechless but I could not stop talking about it. I kept talking about how I had never seen water so clear and so blue before. We went swimming right when we got there and it was the last thing we did before we headed home. When we were about 20 minutes away from having to meet everyone someone said "are you going to remember the time you were cold on a ferry because you were wet, or are you going to remember the last time you swam in the Mediterranean sea". I already wanted to go swimming again but that made it even more convincing. The water was so perfect that I never wanted to leave. I was acting like a child on Christmas morning the entire time I was in the water. I will still appreciate the beaches in Scituate, but nothing could come even close to how perfect the water was in Capri. The beach itself was rocky but I couldn't care less about that. One day was not enough to soak up all of the beauty in Capri. I thought it was funny because the night before at dinner we were all talking about our "best day ever" and I couldn't think of just one. Now I definitely have a best day ever. I can't think of much else to say about Capri other than the fact that it was the happiest place I have ever been in. Before I left for Rome I was told to go to Capri and I think that even if it was a scheduled trip I would've found my way there. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given while I am here and this was a trip that we all worked for. We cleaned our entire building from top to bottom for a week to pay for this trip and every second was worth it. I brought back with me many memories of both Capri and Naples. In Capri I bought a pretty dress for only 15 euros and in Naples I bought an infinity ring for 5 euros. I also have an obscene amount of photos from the weekend which I have gone through multiple times. On the boat ride back you could see the moon on one side and the sunset on the other side. This was the perfect ending to the day because both sides were gorgeous. I have never seen anything so beautiful in my whole life. My only wish would be to show everyone in my life Capri and hope that they would enjoy it just as much as I did. I will always remember Naples and Capri because it was extremely sentimental coming from someone who lives on the water. When we went to the beach in Capri I sat at the end of the jetty for a little bit like I would do at the Scituate Lighthouse and it had the same feeling of knowing that I was in a place that felt like home.  Now that I have gone on and on about how much I loved Capri I think its time for pictures! Also, here is a link to my facebook photo album of all my pictures from italy.
Ti Voglio Bene!
One more thing I want to add... On top of enjoying this weekend so much it was also a good weekend to reflect on everything that I am thankful for in life and I hope that everyone can take time out of their day to appreciate what they have and who they have in their life that care about them. Don't ever take a day for granted and make the most of everything!

Me at the top of a hill in Capri

view from another hill in Capri

look at how blue the water is!

more pictures from capri

Capri from the port

ti amo

the forum in pompeii

plaster cavity in pompeii

i couldn't believe how well preserved the frescos were!

pompeii amphitheater 

Naples at night! View from the top of a hill

the gang with the woman who owned the cafe

I was too anxious to eat it that I forgot to take a picture at first....

Prof. Balena


  1. I am speechless at your description and appreciation for Capri, Naples and Pompeii. I can only imagine how overwhelming it was to see Pompeii and its ruins. I am so happy you got to swim in the Mediteranean Sea. You are a beach girl at heart. I am grateful everyday day for what a ray of sunshine you are in my life. Ti voglio bene. Love, Mom

  2. Colleen,
    As an educator I often forget the impact that a teacher can have on students. Your words, your description and your excitement about my birth place Naples, made me realize how significant my contribution to your intellectual growth has been in Naples...
    And for this.... ANCH'IO TI VOGLIO BENE!