Finally I have a good time to update everyone on the journey that has now been a few weeks in. The places that I have covered so far (in 17 days) have been Rome, Sorrento, Pompeii, Positano, Capri, and now Florence. I am in the bangla-net internet point in Florence, only a couple blocks from the Duomo, trying to piece together every bit of memorable and amazing things that have happened so far and trying to drown out the frantic Indian chanting blaring out of the owners sound system. Typing it up and trying to put together in words how the experience for me has been so far seems criminal but here goes my journey so far....
From August 27th to August 31st I wandered through ancient Roman forums, visited Julius Caesars grave (which is striking similar to a pile of dirt), visited the Vatican and climbed to the top of the cupola (dome) and saw the tombs of many Popes that have passed (including the most recent Pope John Paul II), walked up and down the Spanish Steps, Biked throughout Rome with my broham Vic, Walked through the huge park in Rome Villa Borghese, Stared at the dome of the Pantheon, Checked out the Trevi Fountain, went pub crawling around the town for Brendan's birthday, saw this popular Italian rock band Subsonica perform at the circus maximus (where the ancient Romans had Chariot Races), saw the Cemetery of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars where the bones of 4,000 of their dead brothers decorate the corridors 6 rooms from everything to frames to chandeliers, and of course went to the Coliseum. Returning to Italy after 9 years has reminded me so much of what I have forgotten from this amazing country, the history, the food, the fashion, and everything about this culture is certainly one to experience and to never forget.
On September 1st (alongside my mother, brother Vic, and my Aunts B, Kathy, and Ava) hopped on the train to Naples to get to the smaller coastal town Sorrento, south of Rome to get a taste of the coastal life, relax on the not far off island Capri, and mostly to check out Pompeii. Sorrento is an amazing town with a lot of culture, gorgeous cliffs over some of the bluest and clearest waters I have ever seen, and a lot of British tourists coming down to get their sunburn on for the hot summers. On the first full day in Sorrento we hopped on the metro for about 30 minutes to the site of the ancient ruins of Pompeii which at one time housed 20,000 citizens. Pompeii has been amazingly perserved for hundreds of years after the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius, which left the town covered in about 25 feet of dust. Everything from the casts of bodies frozen in time to the artwork and the architecture are unimaginably captivating. I had to return again a couple days later with my brother Vic to walk around on my own for a couple of hours to get a feel of how these people lived their daily lives, what they did, what sexual positions they preferred to pick off the illustration on the wall in the lupenares (brothels), and most importantly what made them think carving a giant penis into the cobblestone street facing directly north to notify the citizens and visitor's of the towns red light district was a genius idea. This is for me the hardest to try and put to words what one experiences when they walk the streets of Pompeii but maybe my pictures and some of my written thoughts can help for further personal discovery of this city frozen in time. I was also able to head to the town of Positano about 30 minutes away from Sorrento on the other side of the coast. Positano and the cliff highway drive over there is gorgeous and at times scary from the continuous steep cliffs that no doubt awaits impending doom. Positano is built almost vertically against the hill that drops off right onto gorgeous beaches and an almost indigo blue water. On the 5th of September the family and I headed to the island of Capri for a couple days of maxin', relaxin' on the island where Roman Emperor Tiberius ruled and where the world's wealthiest and ultimately the most world's most superficial people flock to be seen and to express how much wealth they are worth. But that feeling is only in the few piazzas of the town on the island named Capri, the hilltop town of Anacapri is amazing and had such a tightly knit community that was spectacular to sit and watch. On Capri we were able to visit one of Italy's most visited tourist attraction, the Blue Grotto. The color blue that I saw in the grotto was an almost blinding blue that stunned my eyes on the account of my eyes never having seen such a vibrant and sharp expression of the color.
Unfortunately the hour has just about run up for me here in bangla-net internet point. I am writing in a daily journal to make sure I don't forget one moment of this trip so I can promise you more juicy and exciting daily tales of the European Invasion. I am missing everyone at home and until the next blog entry, ciao!