So, you were all probably wondering how my weekend went, right?
A boy can hope, I guess.
We left the Rome Center at 6:45 A.M. on Friday morning. You’d have thought that we were at summer camp. The SLAs (Student Life Assistants, similar in nature to RAs, but with less paperwork) used a megaphone to announce the time every five minutes from 6:00 A.M. until we walked out the door. I found this a little unnecessary, as we’re all college students here. But that’s just my opinion.
We then departed for Herculaneum, which is Pompeii’s better-preserved neighbor. I realized once we got there that I forgot my umbrella (it was raining), so I had to buy a new one for €5. I was not very pleased. Anyway, apparently the phase of the eruption that Pompeii missed (the lava phase) preserved everything, even the wood, at Herculaneum. Pompeii was instead buried in ash, which is why the wood crumbled. It was cool to see all of the buildings with their original wood parts (now covered and protected by plexiglass).
It was kind of scary to think of that volcano erupting again. They have no clue when it will next erupt and people are known to live higher than legally allowed on the mountain. I’d rather not take my chances.
We then had lunch. We had antipasti, which was delicious. There was a variety of fried dough and and a delicious bruscetta. We then had margarita pizza as our main dish. Margarita pizza is your basic bough, sauce and cheese. My friends thought that it was the greatest pizza they had ever tasted. Personally, I am pretty sure I had better pizza in Rome once upon a time… Then, for desert, we had a decadent lemon cake.
After that, we went on our merry little way to our hotel. I crashed upon impact with my bed, while my friends went to explore Salerno. I wasn’t feeling too hot and it had been raining on and off… Not a good combination. We had dinner at the hotel that night. The dinner wasn’t the best. We were served a pasta and eggplant dish for starters, then a pork roast (yuck) and roasted potatoes for our main dish. For desert we had another cake (the cheapest way to give 200+ people desert, I suppose). Then I went back to bed and slept like a baby. The beds there were ridiculously comfortable, especially when compared to our beds at the Rome Center.
The next day drove to Paestum, which has some of the best preserved Greek ruins. It would have been great if we wouldn’t have had to traipse through grass and mud while it was raining. At least I had my umbrella?
Then, we ate at a beautiful hotel near Paestum. They served us pasta, then more meat and potatoes, and then this beautiful fruit and gelato parfait. It was soo good.
Then we went back to the hotel. On the way back, a girl on my bus vomited. Too much alcohol (they typically serve wine with lunch/dinner here. Many people don’t know how to control themselves…). We all had to stop and get off the bus so that it could be cleaned up. It wasn’t fun.
When we got back to the hotel, we had some time before dinner, so we went exploring. Salerno was absolutely beautiful. They had a ton of small little boutiques which were fun to explore. They are also currently hosting this space festival, so they had lights strung up representing the different planets and our galaxy. The sun was my favorite.
The next day we ate breakfast and stopped in Sorrento for lunch before returning to Rome. We walked around for a while in the rain (I was thrilled, you can be sure), before stopping at a bar (that’s what they call the coffee shops here) and ordering a hot chocolate. We then ate lunch at a nice restaurant overlooking the sea. We had stuffed pasta (the cheese was a little much), chicken (which was DELICIOUS), potatoes, and more… cake. Then we started our four hour drive back to Rome.
When we were about 20 minutes outside of the city, one of the buses blew a tire, so we had to pull over. The drivers were (thankfully) able to fix it, but we got back an hour later than we were supposed to.
Overall, I’m glad I went on the trip. It was just terribly annoying to be required to walk around in the rain all day, especially while sick.
Thus concludes the last of my “orientation” here at the Rome Center. Now I am free to spend the weekends however I choose. Stay tuned for updates!