Wednesday, July 5, 2017

May 15th and 16th: So That's Why Everyone Loves Italy

I know it's been a while, but now that my Women Can Fly event is over, I can finally get this thing caught up!

Back in May, Mark and I spent a week in Italy. We had just visited Scotland and Iceland in March and normally don't have big trips so close together, but that's just the way our leave worked out this year. Plus, there was a specific reason we wanted this particular week off, which you'll see in a later post. At any rate, our last shift before the trip was an overnight mid (10pm to 6am). I was really tired going into the shift, but I powered through and figured I'd just sleep as much as I could after we got home and before we had to head to the airport in the afternoon. When we left work, I took the back way out to the main highway, figuring that it would be slightly quicker. Which it was, until I hit who knows what in the middle of the road with a loud bang.

This was definitely not quicker.

My first actual flat tire. Awesome. Whatever I hit went right through the sidewall, and even better, I'd put all new tires on the car only six months earlier. Mark was eventually able to get my spare on there and I limped the rest of the way home. It sucked. I tried to tell myself that the flat tire was just us getting the travel hiccups out of the way and hopefully the trip itself would be smooth (which it thankfully was).

Some crummy sleep, some slightly frantic last-minute packing, and a drive to the airport later... was time to leave.

Goodbye, Virginia...we're off to Rome!

We were able to get a direct flight, so I spent most of the time eating whatever they put in front of me, watching random movies, and trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to sleep. 

At least the Alps were pretty.  :)

We eventually landed, cleared customs, got our bags, and spent about 15 solid minutes dragging our stuff around the airport, trying to figure out where the rental car desks were hiding. We eventually found them, got the keys to the convertible we had planned to drive along the Amalfi Coast...

...and then gave the keys right back because only one of our four bags would fit into the trunk. Oops. When we had made the reservation, it was for a four-seat Audi convertible, but when we got there the convertibles were all little two-seaters like mine back home. Lots of fun, but even my cramming skills couldn't make our bags fit. The girls at the rental counter were a big help, though, and were able to quickly switch us over to a Volvo that was a lot like Mark's Ford Focus back home. Our bags easily fit into the new car, so we packed up and started driving south.

We had to drive a couple hours south of Rome to get to our first stop of the trip. We stopped at a rest stop along the way for some snacks. Meats, cheeses, and Kinder Eggs...lunch of champions!

A couple hours and some interesting city driving later, we finally found a parking garage with a spot for us to leave the car overnight and checked into our hotel.

 Buongiorno, Napoli! That's Mount Vesuvius off in the distance. 

The view from our balcony was pretty impressive.

We were both pretty tired, but we decided to check out the view from the rooftop terrace first.

We figured we might as well get some snacks while we were up there. Cheeses and pastries and wine, and everything was delicious. I ate as many things as I possibly could before my stomach felt like it would explode and I could barely keep my eyes open anymore. We went back to the room and took a nap to regroup. The alarm Mark had sent went off and I vaguely remember begging for another 20 minutes or so before immediately falling asleep again. I did eventually get up and we decided to go explore a bit.

Our hotel was right on the water, so we decided to follow the path and see where we wound up. This is the Castel dell'Ovo (which you can see in the previous pictures).

There were interesting things to see almost everywhere you looked.

We walked for a while before starting to wander back toward the hotel. This crazy sailboat was out in the water; I initially thought it was some kind of stealth military sailboat, but after doing a bit of research I found out that it's actually a Russian billionaire's yacht, named 'Sailing Yacht A', that was out on its sea trials. This picture doesn't really do it justice; it's a massive ship.

We slowly wandered back toward the hotel, stopping to enjoy the views and do some people watching. There were tons of people wandering around, walking their dogs, riding their bikes, and enjoying the perfect weather.

Naples is the birthplace of pizza, so I definitely wanted to try some while we were there. Words can't really do it justice; it was delicious. I don't know what kind of magic they use to get an entire pizza to somehow be that light and taste that good, but I'd love to have pizza like that back home.

The was our view from our table at dinner. We hung out for a while, drinking wine, finishing our pizza, and sipping some limoncello, before eventually heading back to the hotel.

The weather was gorgeous on the walk back. I could definitely see why people like Italy so much, and we had only been there for a few hours.

The Fontana del Gigante (Fountain of Giant) was across the street from our hotel. It was designed in the 1600s. We decided to grab one last drink on the rooftop terrace before heading to bed and passing out. So far, Italy was great; I was looking forward to exploring some more!

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