(English part starts below the picture!)
Jeg skjønte ikke før jeg satt på Gardemoen med tårer i øynene og sommerfugler i magen at behovet for å komme seg bort litt var større enn jeg trodde, og da jeg nådde terminalen i München kunne jeg ikke hatt det bedre. Gratis kaffe, New York Times, smilte for meg selv og ventet i spenning på neste fly til Napoli. Der ble jeg møtt i ankomsthallen av et stort smil og LINE rablet ned i tjukke bokstaver på førstesiden revet ut av ei bok – og eventyret kunne begynne!
(PS: Denne bloggposten blir muligens litt i lengste laget, jeg har lovet Marjolein å skrive på engelsk så hun kan dele med familien i Nederland (og våre felles venner i resten av verden, ikke minst), men jeg skal gjøre mitt beste for å holde det interessant og ikke gjenta meg selv for mye!)
Day 1: Marjolein met me at the airport in Naples with a homemade sign just for me, and eager to begin our journey further south we headed for the train station. It was pouring buckets, but that didn’t stop us (life is about learning to dance in the rain, you know) and people were staring like they had never seen anyone walking in the streets before. Their wide eyes almost made me believe we had neon signs over our heads, but to be fair the streets were actually flooding – and we were soaking wet after walking 200 meters. When we finally found our train, it wasn’t going anywhere. After a long (and very awkward, but nice) conversation with local Italians we figured out the signals broke down because of the rain, and we were suddenly 1 hour delayed. Little did we know that this wasn’t going to be our first time waiting for local transport to leave, but we weren’t really in a rush and it was nice catching up. We also had time to learn our first Italian words: non capisco (I don’t understand) and mi scusa/scusa me (pardon/excuse me). I always thought they were words made up by some hilarious comedian, and struggled not to laugh the entire vacation when I heard them. When we finally got to Salerno we went straight to the hostel, had some dinner and went to bed with prayers for better weather the rest of our vacation. With that start, it could only get better anyways!
Day 2: And so it did! With a bright blue sky and no clouds we packed our bags and headed for breakfast. It turned out to be more difficult than expected, but we found a place, sat down and tried to figure out what to do on such a beautiful day in a city we hadn’t really done any research about. We walked and we walked, and then we walked some more, and we realized Salerno isn’t really a city to spend 10 days in. We localized some swimming pools by the beach, found a park, got kind of lost during the siesta (why, south of Europe, do you seriously need to close everything during the siesta?!), walked some more, and found a place on the next corner of where we were living to have dinner. They had pizza with Nutella, powdered sugar and hazelnuts – the day was saved and we went to bed at 10pm!
Day 3: Tired after our second day we thought we could explore the Amalfi coast and just relax, so we went to the train station, realized we were supposed to be at another bus stop, waited for an hour (the bus was delayed, what a surprise..), got on the bus, realized we could have entered the bus at the train station, and settled for a nice trip to Amalfi. That was probably not our brightest moment, after an hour we were both so car sick we formly fell out of the bus in a city we later found out is called Maiori. It had a beach though, and we learned why the back row is the cheapest – the sand gets really hot and you kind of wish you could fly down to the water. But, we got a nice day at a nice beach, had ice cream, found a restaurant with WiFi, and when we were back in Salerno we ate at the same place as the day before and went happily to bed. It’s amazing how good a Pizza Nutella is for ones mood!
Day 4: Today was the day I had been looking forward to the most – we were going to Pompeii!! The train was delayed, no surprise there, but it was all worth it when we got there. I had never seen something that amazing in my entire life. And even though it was a tad too hot, we laughed a lot, walked around in a relaxed pace, took a lot of pictures and even got a table at the one (and only) restaurant in there. We figured out the easiest way to tell eachother we had spotted some of our own kind was to use a code word, and the chosen one got to be.. Monkey. So there we were, in Pompeii, spotting monkeys everywhere, and even some neighbor monkeys (Germans, Swedes and Danes)! It definitively made my day.
When we didn’t want to walk around in the heat any longer, we ended up at a different entrance – the one where the bus to Mt. Vesuvius left from. I didn’t know we could actually go up there, and it was an easy choice buying those tickets. Even though Italian people drive like maniacs it was nice getting an hour on our asses, because, little did we know – we had to walk the last part. It was so worth it though – we could touch the clouds as they were passing by, see steam coming up from the vulcano (!!), and it wasn’t as hot on the top as down in the city. On the way down I grabbed a rock as my personal treasure, and I can’t wait until Kasper gets old enough to be interested and I can show him a real rock from Mt. Vesuvius (oh, and by the way I am painfully aware of all the letters in italic-typo, but how cool isn’t this?!). We slumbered on the way back to the city, ate our first and last pasta dinner, and took the train back to Salerno. I can assure you, I went to bed with the widest grin in town.
(Oh, and I wrote a P.S. in my journal about the stray dogs – so here you go: there are a lot of stray dogs walking around in Pompeii for some reason!)
Day 5: Before I got to Naples, Marjolein had bought us something called «the Campania ArteCard», and it said we would get free entrance at this place called Paestum, so we thought why not, could be cool? and walked early and bright to the train station. The station in Paestum looked quite.. Lonely, but we walked down a beautiful avenue eager to figure out what all the fuss was about. Apparently it is wide know all over the world, but we had never heard about it. Why I do not know, because the temples in Paestum.. WOW! While taking it all in we ordered Italian ice cream just across the street, and felt really pleased with ourselves for deciding to go (well, in reality it was actually Marjolein’s idea, but I’m so glad she suggested it!). It was a day with dusk and thunder, but except for the humidity it was perfect weather to check out these three breathtaking temples. After fooling around at the ruins for a while, we ate buffalo sandwiches that tasted so amazing they are worth a typo in italic and it’s very own picture. We witnessed a wedding, went to the museum and figured out the mystery of «the diver», took the train back to Salerno and had yet another beautiful dinner at the Bodegita next to our hostel. I hope Marjolein agrees when I say this was the very best day of our entire vacation (it even trumphed Mt. Vesuvius!).
(By the way, the ArteCard gave us free rides with transportation for three days and a free entrance to Pompeii and different museums, well worth the 25 euros).
Day 6: Today we really just needed to chill, so we decided to check out if the swimming pools we found the second day were public or ‘belonging’ to a hotel. Luckily for us, they were open to everyone! We were the only tourist and were given strict orders to wear bathing caps, but that was cool – we looked so stupid we couldn’t help but laugh. Six hours and 1 tomato-face later (and guess who that belonged to..) we suddenly found ourselves on a shopping-spree (on a Sunday!) and found some real catches. We also bought after sun milk for our poor skin, well needed. After a strange dinner we went back to the hostel, bought a Pizza Nutella and pretended to have a slumber party in our beds. Girls-night, it was awesome!
Day 7: Oh, there’s only 1st class tickets left on the high-speed train to Rome you say? And they cost.. 60 euros one way? Oh, heck – when on vacation! Beeing on 1st class was an adventure in itself, Italian guys in suits all over the place, and free coffee (the size of my thumb, but still – free coffee). This train was probably delayed too, but two hours after departure we found ourselves in Rome! Unfortunately Marjolein got an eye-infection, and I a swollen gland, so after doing the obligatory Colosseum we went in that bike-thingy to check out the Fountain of Trevi only to figure out it was being restored. Tremendous disappointment, so we went back to the train station to eat and sit depressed on our asses for the remaining two hours. But wait, three and a half hours – the train was delayed, of course. We were on second class back (only 28 euros, and it was way cooler than 1st class), in a six-seat cabin where a lady cried for the first half hour, Marjolein got some sure-needed sleep (I hope?), and we spent the last hour talking to the remaining ladies with us (the two guys left after a while, I guess it got too weird with that crying lady).
Day 8/9: After the disappointing day in Rome, the not-so-good health and the horrible beds at the hostel finally getting to our bodies making sleeping hard, we had a slow morning and went back to the swimming pool. I wrote some postcards, we read, tanned, laughed, bathed and ate ice-cream. And it was great. I’m not really a fan of sunbathing and doing nothing like that, but I really liked our days at that swimming pool. Probably because I had great company! We did the same thing on Thursday – and after a long walk we also found the ONE souvenir shop in the city. Staying the rest of the day by the pool was absolutely amazing, and when we got back we packed our stuff getting our minds ready for one, long last day in Italy.
Day 10: We got up early, checked out, bought breakfast at the nearby bakery and got on a (delayed) train to Naples. We had planned to leave our luggage at the lockers at the airport, but they weren’t there. Of course. We decided to keep a positive mind and turn it into one last 20 hour long Italian adventure, and it really turned out to be.. interesting. Especially after we made an hour-by-hour journal. I would share it, but this post is long enough already (if requested I’ll write it down!). I will never forget how tipsy we got from that one beer/drink whimsing around like we were 16 and high on life though, and the same for our great plan to make a music-video of us singing the Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge. I have never laughed that hard for that long in my entire life! I checked in my luggage at 04:30am (after two hours of sleep..), and went through security at 05:30. It was sad leaving you like that Marjolein, but I’m so glad you had time to go on vacation with me this year.