Ciao a tutti,
I hope everyone is well. It has been a while since my last post -well, ‘a while’ is a bit of an understatement really..- but you might be happy to know that I’m still here and truly loving Italy and living in Parma!
I said on my last post I would talk about the trips that I was going on just afterwards. It has been nearly 8 weeks since I got back from my final trip. So I think it’s about time I do that for you all.
I’m going to talk about my trips to Rome and Naples. They were very different but both were amaazing!
I’m very lucky to have one of my close friends living and studying in Rome this year. Of course, I had to make the most of this and pay her a visit! I left Parma early on Friday morning and stayed with Daniela in Rome until Sunday afternoon. My return train journeys cost around €85 return – it seemed like a lot of money when I bought it but it was 100% worth it!
The train journey was easy, I got the regional train from Parma to Bologna Centrale and then another from there all the way to Rome via Florence. Once I arrived and met Daniela at the station we got the metro to hers and then started right away on our tourist activities. On that Friday, we managed to basically do every touristy thing you could imagine in Rome – except the Vatican museum tour, that was on Saturday.
Our first tourist destination was, obviously, the Colosseum!
This was very cool, with lots of things in Italy, it’s really hard to actually imagine how old they really are and how much the world has changed since they’ve been built. The Colosseum -according to wiki- was built between 70-80 AD… it’s incredible!
Then right next to the Colosseum was my favourite part of Rome, the Roman Forum. The place, to my understanding is where the Roman government were based and was also the base of ancient roman life. It’s an area full of lots of ruins and it’s beautiful!
I’m going to use many different adjectives in this blog to describe Rome and Naples so I will try not to get too repetitive. Just get ready for lots of synonyms of ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’ because they are what everything was!
We also went to the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth). I’ve been told that with this, there is an idea that if you tell as lie and put your hand in the mouth, it will close and chop your hand/fingers off…
Then there’s the Trevi Fountain. My second favourite place in Rome. It was just really pretty and we went there in the daytime and nighttime and it’s beautiful in both lights!
On the Saturday we went to the Vatican museum and it was absolutely stunning. On the way out you go through the Sistine Chapel which was very very very cool! You’re not allowed to take photos in there but it’s full of paintings on the ceiling and walls and in the middle of the ceiling is the infamous one of God and Adam where their fingers are almost touching. It’s definitely worth going there if you’re in Rome!
So basically, to summarize: go to Rome!
This was an organised trip with ESN Parma. We met at Parma train station at 1:00AM Friday morning (Thursday night) and got a bunker train for 8 hours, arriving in Naples around 9ish in the morning. We went to our hotel and settled in before going into the city for a mini tour, free time and then dinner later on.
The view from the beach at Naples is absolutely insane! I believe that Naples is also famous for its pizza and that was definitely not a let down!
On the second day those who wanted to went on a day trip to Capri. This was without a doubt, the best part of the trip. Capri was beauuutiful! You almost feel like you’re going back in time when you’re on the island because it’s mainly full of rich old people and everything is relatively old fashioned but still classy and lovely. It’s also full of designer shops which is crazy because it’s a tiny island in the (south?) of Italy.
I don’t feel like my words can describe how lovely Capri is so I will just insert some photos:
Then on the Sunday we went to Pompeii. This place was so so so interesting. If you don’t know anything about Pompeii I will give you a little briefing:
Basically it was an ancient Roman town that got covered in metres of ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. This killed everyone and the place was forgotten about. It was rediscovered in 1599 and the ash had preserved everything – thank wiki for the dates.
So really, there is no place like Pompeii because you are walking around an ancient city that has ‘barely’ changed since before the eruption took place. It was very surreal!
The journey home from Rome was not fun. Instead of having a bunker train it was a normal train with separate compartments of three seats opposite three seats – reminded me of the Hogwarts express. For this journey, all 6 seats were taken up in our compartment for a 8-9 hour journey overnight from Naples to Parma. It was not fun. But luckily, it definitely didn’t ruin the trip!
The past few months..
That was all quite a while ago now. So since then I’ve been mainly doing teaching which has taken up a lot of my time here. I will do a more detailed blog about teaching etc (I think) but basically, I’ve really really loved it and it’s probably been one of the highlights of my year abroad. However, I do not want to be a teacher now…
We’ve also been on two day trips with ESN Parma.
The first one was to a nearby town called Fontanellato which was very pretty. After wandering around the town we went to this huge bamboo labyrinth there which was rather interesting.
The other day trip was to a Parmigiano (Parmesan) factory and another nearby castle. We didn’t see much of the factory, just the stock room really. We did however, get to try some Parmesan and I ended up buying some because it tasted so good!
The castle was really interesting. It’s an ancient castle bursting with history but what I loved most about it was its most recent resident. The marquise Lina Raimondi Gambarotta who lived in the castle from 1966 until her death in 1987. She lived in this secluded castle all alone with maybe a few members of staff. But it is apparent that she thought rather a lot of herself and this is what I found so interesting. She had her bed specially made out of parts of old churches (see photo); and the most striking object in her office is a gigantic paintng of herself.. (see the other photo). I stupidly didn’t take a photo of the castle but the next photo shows you how secluded it was.
The castle grounds was also the perfect place to take a group photo of me and the girls 🙂
Apart from that..
I went home for my 21st Birthday about a month ago which was really lovely! It was the perfect timing too because I was in Italy for 11 weeks, then was home for a week and when I came back I only had 6 weeks to go. I am now half way through those 6 weeks and I can’t quite believe that this is all nearly over.
Last weekend I had Emma and Georgina come visit which was absolutely wonderful! I hadn’t had any visitors yet so it felt really nice showing off Parma to my friends. The girls loved their time here. I showed them my favourite place (Parco Ducale), we had huge pizzas, did wine tasting, went on a day trip to Milan and just relaxed. It was perfect! Thanks for coming girls ❤
I’m home in 3 weeks time which is insane! Do have one more trip planned to Cinque Terre which will be wonderful. Then I have a week with Dan in Parma before we go home together – the perfect end to my year abroad!
Okay this time I promise that you will hear from me soon.
Arrivederci a presto! x
P.S. I’m sorry if reading this post felt like a history lesson. Well, if you found it interesting then I’m not sorry but if you did.. apologies!