Goodbye Greece Hello to Pizza & Pasta; Italy

1st of May 2016:
We were leaving Santorini today and heading back to Athens. Today was also Greek Easter Sunday, so firecrackers were going off all day. They would literally throw the crackers at the wall next to someone sitting there. They would also have the stereotypical feast. We had a quick breakfast at the Spanish restaurant overlooking the black sand beach. The sun was beautiful as it warmed our backs up whilst we ate. So we used our last hour wisely and sun baked at the beach, the water was freezing especially when Nick attempted to push me in and fell down the quick drop off in the ocean. 

Santorini, Greek Islands

When our ferry finally came I was pretty happy to just sit and relax for 5 hours. Nick slept whilst I tried to catch up on my journal, when he finally woke up we played 13 games of Romy resulting in 7-6 my way. When our ferry stopped in at Naxos I told him that we should just jump off and stay there again. We both absolutely loved it, but we had already booked our ticket to Italy tomorrow night. By the time we arrived in Athens it was night time and to our surprise all the public transport was shut down. It looked like a ghost town, so we had to grab a taxi. We headed back to the same hostel we stayed in last time we were in Athens. I was surprisingly exhausted, we were still on the fast paced mindset and forgot we had our own time to slow down. 

When we arrived in the hostel we wanted to check the plane details for tomorrow. To our dismay our booking hadn’t gone through. Which meant we could of stayed in Naxos for as long as we wanted. We were both so frustrated that we couldn’t have checked earlier. Now we were frantically booking again to Rome for tomorrow night. Accommodation is so expensive in Rome, so to find something within a reasonable price took 2 hours and I still just gave up and went to sleep. If only we had known we actually didn’t have a set plan.

2nd of May 2016:

Today is our final day in Greece. We’ve only spent just over a week here. I would have loved to have had a proper sleep in but sleeping in a dorm room usually prevails. At 6am a Asian girl thought it would be a good idea to take her little figurines out of the plastic container. It was as if it was a joke. There is no way that you can do this activity quietly. It’s the same as opening a chip packet in the movies, it’s cringeworthy. So we were both up nice and early. I wanted to send some of my clothes and sleeping bag back home as my bag is becoming ridiculously heavy and large. I sorted everything I wanted to take out and then had the realisation that it is Easter Monday. Meaning every shop is closed. I was so devastated, in my mind the clothes were already gone. We checked out at 2pm and took a quick taxi down to the square. We had heard you could leave your luggage at the train station, however as it was Easter Monday of course it was closed. We could have gone to the next station and dropped it off there but we only had 2 hours to kill, by the time we did that and worked out where to actually drop it we would only have an hour till we wanted to leave. We found what looked like a little yiros shop, as we walked upstairs it opened up into a huge room. So we placed our bags down and killed an hour and a half eating and chatting.

This was the first time we were catching the metro, so we were still newbies as to what to do. Especially going to the airport we didn’t want to get lost, or take the wrong train. Eventually our train came and after 30 minutes of standing and sitting we were in the airport. The airport of course is huge and we couldn’t seem to find where to check in. After walking to the other side and asking the information desk we of course were told it was opposite from where we first walked in. So we walked all the way back. We had booked our bags at 15kg each and I was panicking as last time I had weighed it, it was 16kg. So as I put it on to check in I did the cute innocent face as if nothing is wrong, I’m not overweight, I don’t have to pay extra. Thankfully we both got through, however bizarrely Nick had to take his bag over to the overweight carousel whilst mine just went straight through. We still had three hours to kill and simply got some food and chatted some more. Honestly am so over waiting for planes. As we went through boarding an hour early she escorted us to the vip area. When we looked around it simply looked like all the foreigners versus the locals. It also made absolutely no difference, but we were sitting in the emergency exit seats. We booked through an airline called Ryan Air they are basically the same as Tiger in Australia, cheap and a little sketchy. When I looked at the plane I could simply unscrew the door if I wanted to, the chairs were made out of hard plastic. Thank god it was only a 2 hour flight. 

The plane ride consisted of designing an app, just because we can. Now all we need to do is workout how to actually make it. Towards the end of the plane ride I became very nauseous and dizzy. At one point I looked up and everything span and I felt as if I was about to pass out. This feeling didn’t pass for another week. When we arrived we asked when the next bus was arriving and it was about to leave. So with me feeling as if I’m going to pass out we run to the bus as if we’re on the amazing race show. We made it just in time with a local abusing the bus driver for letting us on because the time had passed, even though it hadn’t. What I learnt about Italians was they do not have any patience and become very aggressive instantly. They always seemed to be yelling at each other on the street. Thankfully our hostel was only around the corner from where the bus drops us off. 

We walked up the stairs and into the reception area where everyone was on their computers and phones like zombies using wifi, seeming to forget they were in Rome. When we went up to the counter the guy behind the reception became angry towards us, and told us to “sit down and wait, use the wifi”. I simply just giggled all I wanted was to go to sleep so I could let this dizziness pass and yet this guy just became angry because we turned up. Even on the bus Nick was holding my hand as I was trying my hardest not to throw up all over the public bus. I still don’t know how I didn’t. Finally he checked us in and we went to our rooms. The room reminded me of Madeleine, normally dorm rooms are bunk beds however this room consisted of 6 single beds and the best bathroom we’ve seen the entire trip.

3rd of May 2016:

Today our aim was to explore all of what Rome has to offer. We went down to the reception area to grab a map and find the key touristy areas to discover. The receptionist offered us a tour through the colosseum and more. This was going to also allow us to skip the cues which can take from one to two hours. It was 9:00am and the tour was to start at 10:30am. We still needed to have breakfast and walk there. We wanted a nice easy quick breakfast but what came was stress and hassle. We went downstairs to the cafe and ordered two Italian breakfasts. I received my chocolate croissant and coffee, however Nick just received a coffee. The man then asks us if we want orange juice we say yes not knowing it was extra. When we look at the time we realise we must leave immediately. So Nick asks for his croissant to go, well they started saying he doesn’t get one, we were so confused. We tried to explain he never got one and then finally the Italian man realises, so we hurray out. We didn’t want to go back there again. We power walked all the way past the colosseum resulting in 25 minutes. Unfortunately I was still feeling very ill and nauseous and power walking was only making the situation worse. When we finally found our tour office was we walked in with one minute to spare. The lady behind the desk said we had to pay extra for the tour, even though our hostel said it was all included. She asked if we wanted to do it still, even though we had already paid. We paid the extra and were a bit sour over the whole tour ordeal. 

The guide was good but sometimes a bit hard to understand because of his strong Italian accent, but non the less we learnt endless information about the history of the colosseum. The tour however was a little fast paced for my likings. I felt as if we were continuously running everywhere and stopping for 2 seconds then running again. It was an exhausting tour but saw all the main sites to see in 3 hours. 

Colosseum, Rome

Once we had finished we walked off to find some reasonable priced food, down a little lane was a pub that had pizza, so when in Rome. 

The entire day we explored and walked around the entire city. We ended up at the Vatican City at 4pm but as it was so late and we still had all day tomorrow we only walked the streets. The Vatican however is a very impressive building with 100’s of tourists flooding the gates and the museum every second. 

We watched the sunset behind the Vatican as we saw less and less tourists gazing at the impressive church. It was beautiful as the sky started to change colour, and the clouds became pink. 

Vatican City, Rome

We walked the city whilst eating gelato until 11pm. Dear god we were exhausted, my feet were in pain continuously walking since 9:30am with only stopping for 45 minutes for lunch. It wasn’t as if we choose to walk until this late, time seemed to have escaped us and as we walked into the hostel and looked at the time we were both astonished.

4th of May 2016:

Another day in Rome, this time we had a bit of a sleep in after our epic adventures yesterday. I had heard the line for the Vatican museum takes anywhere from 1 to 3 hours so I quickly booked us tickets online just before we left so we could walk straight through and save us time, boredom and frustration. We caught the metro this time straight to the Vatican. The Vatican City was on the opposite side of Rome’s city and seeing as we walked it last night we couldn’t be bothered to walk another 45 minutes back. The metro is only 1.50 Euros and takes all of 10 minutes. The station stops 5 minutes away from the Vatican. After we finally deciphered which direction we were suppose to go with using the city map and some guy selling tickets telling us, we were on our way. Note, don’t get off the metro where it says Vatican because the next stop is closer, don’t know why they would do that to tourists.

We showed our tickets and walked straight in, would definitely recommend doing this than waiting in line for no benefit. The museum is huge, we definitely underestimated it. We had heard from a couple the night before that it took them 2 and a half hours without looking at everything. It took us 3 and a half hours without stopping and staring at every art piece hanging on the wall. It is a gorgeous museum with exquisite history and art work at every turn, however there were far too many tourists to truly enjoy all that it has. At one point we were surrounded by 5 tourists groups trying to squeeze through a little door, we became separated by the mosh pit. I literally pushed myself to the window where Nick was just to feel like I could breath. I couldn’t even see what we were suppose to look at because there were too many people, at one point I had to look at someone taking a photo above everyone’s head. 

Vatican Museum, Rome

However after the 3 hours of getting to the Sistine chapel we finally walked into the room, and I wish I could say it was just as unreal as anyone would believe, but it was disappointing. Of course the art is beyond this world but one I still felt dizzy so looking up made me feel like I would black out and two all the security guards kept telling everyone to be quiet and no photos even though they were yelling. We only lasted less than 5 minutes by the time we ran out. I truly wish there were not so many people.

By the time we finally found the exit it had been 3 and a half hours, at this point I was hungry and I just needed to sit down. So we went to the pizzeria at the museum, they had huge pieces of pizza and a drink. Naturally you would think that you can just buy a piece of pizza without a drink but apparently not so we were made to grab a drink. I took a coke life because if I didn’t like it I never really paid for it. It is disgusting it tastes like flat Vanilla Coke. 

We continued walking to the Vatican around the corner, where we found the longest line to get into the chapel. The chapel is free to enter but the line would of been an hour. As by this stage it was 4pm we decided to come back in the morning when it opens to go straight in. 

We headed back to the hostel to organise our buses to Naples tomorrow and to watch the Gladiator because I had never seen it, and there had been a few references from the tour which I had no idea what he was talking about.

For dinner we went to a little restaurant around the corner, where I had a gorgeous gnocchi. I would have been happier to have another serving. It was a much earlier night for us tonight but the last couple of days has been full on.

5th of May 2016:

We awoke at 7am to head straight to the Vatican church before the crowds started flooding in. By the time we got there it was 8:45am we walked straight through. This was a much smarter option than waiting an hour in the non moving line in the sun. The priests tombs were closed this morning but the church was definitely open. It is gorgeous and massive. There were a church choir singing as we walked in. I noticed there were quite a few different church groups from around the world walking in to the Vatican with a huge cross. Nick didn’t seem to be that interested in the church and was done by the time I got to the end of the church. It took us all of 15 minutes and we were walking out. We headed back to the hostel to grab our bags to catch a bus to Naples. Unfortunately the bus was not leaving from the train station we were at, so we had to catch a metro train to the main train station and then walk across the road to the bus station. This sounds fairly easy but when you have no idea where you are or where to go it takes a bit of time. It was lucky we left with plenty of time. When we got to the bus station the lady couldn’t tell us which platform it was leaving from and told us to speak to the security guard. I would have never guessed to speak to the security guard but non the less she told us it would either be platform 3,4 or 5. So we waited an hour until our bus came sitting on the wall. It was already 25 minutes late and we waited another 15 minutes till we left. The journey was only a 2 hour drive, however we stopped for 30 minutes after driving for 20 minutes. The drive was easy with a gorgeous little dog sitting on the seat in front of me. Their relationships and rules with dogs is amazing. You can take your dog anywhere as if it’s another human being, on buses, trains, national parks, ferries. I wish we could do that in Australia. By the time we arrived in Naples we had to find the metro to get to our hostel. Thankfully the metro was once again across the road from the bus station. I may have stuffed us up though, after reading the metro line I thought the stop was the following one, so I said that we shouldn’t get off at this stop, even though that was apparently the correct stop. Oh well we got on another metro back one stop and finally had to walk 15 minutes to our hostel. Its moments like these where you wish your backpack wasn’t so heavy.

We stayed in a hostel called Art Hostel. Our dorm room was ok, nothing really to complain about. We dumped our bags down and headed down the road to explore the port and what ever else Naples had. I always hear bad things about Naples and I only agree with the creepy seediness feel when it’s night time. During the day it was completely fine. We walked 40 minutes to the port where we discovered a huge cruise ship fitted out with a waterslide and all. Other than this Naples didn’t have much else to show for it’s self. We continued walking around aimlessly until it was dinner time. We went into a little pizza store just off the Main Street. It was gorgeous after 15 minutes of deciding which pizza to try we went for the salami and seafood. Although we were at the pizza restaurant that invented the margarita due to presenting the Italian queen at the time, named margarita and it being her favourite of them all. 

6th of May 2016:

Today we had a full day of walking around Naples. You really do not need to spend this long in Naples but non the less we set off at 10am. Our first mission was to buy myself a camera. In Africa when we were in the delta playing volleyball in the water with the locals it got water damaged, and yes it was apparently water resistant. So ever since I have had to take photos on my phone. This was frustrating especially on African safaris. I always said the next camera I buy will be a good Nikon one (introductory camera) in their range. I was just terrified of spending this amount of money at once for a camera. Nick is very good at saving (until it comes to cameras) and I’ve never spent that much on a camera, couple hundred at most. We walked into the store and I was still sceptical and nervous. Was I going to actually use it, is this crazy to spend this much on a camera whilst traveling. At the end of the day I took the plunge and swiped my card. The camera has an accessory that you can connect your iPad, phone etc. through wifi to download the images. I really wanted this as I have no connection for my camera and iPad, unfortunately they did not have it. After taking the first photo I had no regrets.

Naples, Italy

 I couldn’t believe how much better the image quality was (maybe because I had become accustomed to my iPhone). Nick loved teaching me all the buttons and what everything meant. It made the day so much fun trying to out do each other. Even though I still have a long way to go. We explored a castle on the side of the ocean. It was exactly what you would imagine the medieval times to be as you walked through the lane ways and past the windows overlooking the ocean. 

I was a bit slow today and needed a few breaks and rests, if only guys could understand. We spent all of $7 euros for lunch, pasta, bread, pizza and two drinks and sat in the park opposite the ocean. It was gorgeous just lying in the sun letting the day go past as I ate my pasta and tried to understand my camera. 

Naples, Italy

This was one of the best moments in Europe so far and it was so simple. As we walked back we were craving ice-cream or gelato when our eyes widened and I literally ran to the magnum store. Yes there is an entire store for magnums where you can make your own and put what ever toppings you want. Oh My God it was heaven. It was only $8 euros, a few more euros than one in a store and wow it was worth it. Nick and I were speechless, literally the guy kept asking what we wanted and there were just to many choices to deal with. I did not care how sick I felt from all the sugar because I would do it all again. If only Adelaide had this. Although it might be a good reason for me to not have one, I would eat it everyday!

We continued our walk through the stores. We went into H&M they seem to be everywhere in Europe. I literally lost Nick in the H&M store for an hour. It was 4 stories and I went to every level then went outside because I thought surely Nick would have given up by now. Waited outside for 15 minutes then thought maybe he went to take photos of the flags after walking there I went back inside and found him. To my dismay he was actually going to buy something! Who knew! He bought some new jeans and then the store next to it I bought some jeans. I definitely spent a lot more than I’m use to today.

When we got back to the hostel I had to charge my camera as it had gone flat. As I plugged it in I started speaking to a guy from Tasmania. He was drunk and was asking if we were going to go out drinking tonight. We hadn’t been out yet so I was pretty keen. At 7pm we were out the door getting pizza for dinner. Honestly I think I’m going to turn into a pizza or pasta after Italy. If only I had known how weird it would be tonight I definitely would not have gone out. Apparently the “cool” place to go is by a statue on the street with creepy orange lighting. People just stand in the shadows drinking, smoking and buying weed. I hated it. The two Canadians and I wanted to go back to the hostel and drink and chat there but everyone else seemed to be fitting in to the creepy atmosphere. I think us three were a bit more sober than the rest and could actually see how horrible the situation was. We met these two polish girls they looked as if they were 25 but apparently were there for one girls 30th. They said they wanted to go to the port to drink, even though Nick, the Canadians and I had told them it’s a 45 minute walk. I still cannot tell you why we all went. However we walked all the way there to find absolutely nothing at all. As we were close to the port the girls said they are very far away from their hostel. Honestly what were they thinking would happen. By the time we arrived they said they were going to go back to their hostel. I was so angry the whole reason we came was because of them. I bought a drink, it turned out to be $8 euros, that’s $12 Aus for a vodka and lemonade. That was the last time I bought a drink. After 40 minutes we headed back to the hostel. I was helping one of the guys walk back whilst Nick was lagging behind. As I dropped the guy off I ran back outside because I thought Nick was still out there. Note to self do not walk through Naples alone at 2am it was horrible I walked back to the hostel without knowing where he was. Then as I was waiting by the door inside the hostel with no key he came from upstairs.

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