By: Hayley Weston
My family was compelled to try Grappa. For those of you who don’t know what Grappa is, it basically is the remnants of everything used when you make wine. It is the residue of grapes, pulp, seeds, and stems. They say you have to try it at least once and once was enough.
Help with luggage
Another friendly piece of advice, do not let random people help you with your luggage, unless, of course, you want help. In the train stations there are men that walk around helping people with luggage but they don’t work for the trains. They did help us, but then they wouldn’t stop bothering us for money, even after we gave them money. The trick is to say no and to ignore them because eventually they have to get off the train. Another fun train experience for the books.
I would have to suggest to anyone going to Rome or the Vatican City to get a tour guide. Having a tour guide is extremely helpful because they tell you about the important things, with a few little quirks here and there, and don’t waste time. This is handy especially if your time is limited.
Another sight that I found to be the most interesting was the Holy Stairs. They are a set of 28 stairs and, according to Catholic tradition, were the steps leading up to the Praetorium of Pontius Pilate on which Jesus Christ stepped on his way to trial during events known as Passion. They say that if you climb the stairs on your knees and say three prayers on each step, when you get to the top you will be granted a new soul. If you ask me, getting a new soul is pretty darn cool. Many people from all over the world come to Rome just to do this.
Buses in the Off-Season
I would suggest to you all to never catch the very last bus. Especially during off-season. Everywhere we went was “off-season,” so times are different. We caught the very last bus from Ravello back to Amalfi. Even luckier, the bus was over 20 minutes late and we waited outside in the freezing cold for it. We get back to Amalfi and the bus driver tells us that there should be an 8 o’ clock bus back to Positano. After awhile we see a few buses pull up but none of them say Positano. Finally, we ask a bus driver and he says, “No, buses finished.” A little worried, we go into a cafe and ask the owner if he can call a cab for us, seeing as there were none to be found nearby. The owner was very kind and found a cab for us that only charged $45 for the 6 of us to get back to Positano.
We met our guide and took a little bus ride to the town of Siena. Siena is a hidden gem that you don’t always hear about. They say that the Duomo in Florence is the most beautiful but I would have to say, if you can believe it, that the Duomo in Siena (at least the inside of it) has it beat. Here are some pictures from Siena and of the Duomo there:
After the Duomo, we went into the museum and there was a lookout from the museum that had the best views of Siena. Siena was gorgeous during sunset. After some gelato stops we got back on the bus to go to the winery. The bus took us through the “rolling hills of Siena.”
Final Goodbye to Italy
As I tell everyone, it was more bitter than it was sweet to leave Italy. All I think about is going back. I loved Italy, the culture, and everyone there so much. I have now been home for about two weeks, but it feels like so much longer. I can’t believe I was only in Italy two weeks ago. I’ve had so much to do these last two weeks though. I’ve had to unpack and then pack back up to move downstate to my apartment and then unpack again. I’ve had interviews for internships and part-time jobs up the wazoo. I love seeing all of my friends and being back to the “normal” life and getting back into the swing of things, though.
I’m really excited about what’s to come. I only have one more year of college left until I go out into the big girl world. That’s right, one year. I’M A SENIOR IN COLLEGE. It is crazy to say, honestly. I am hoping to obtain an internship this summer and then finish up my last year and, hopefully, move back to Europe or move to China or Japan to teach English. There are so many options and I love it. Everything has gone by in the blink of an eye, just as everyone said it would. Who knows where this next year will take me. I would have to say that 2015 has been a good year so far, and I can only imagine that it’s going to get better and better.