Easter Break in Italy
For Easter break three of my housemates (Kat, Lucy, and Maggie) and I decided to tackle Italy and do as much as possible in the 5 days we had together for our Easter break. Our flight from London was to Milan and from there the plan was to take trains from Milan to Venice, Cinque Terre, Rome, and Naples. We ended up even adding Pisa to our list of stops due to some train troubles as well!
We didn’t do anything in Milan, but it was a good central point to travel in and out of. Kat and I got into Milan on Tuesday night where we met up with our Airbnb host Pierda, who was the absolute nicest women I ever met. She taught us some phrases in Italian to help us out and walked us to a restaurant to eat at that had menus in English. The next morning Kat and I took a train to Venice where it was easy to walk everywhere. The town was like nothing I’ve ever seen before: it was a city with no roads, but an intricate system of canals connecting the city. Truly a town built on water. Venice also had the Basilica of Saint Mark’s that had the remains of Saint Mark too which was really cool. Luckily in Venice we ran into Lucy and Maggie so we were able to hang out with them! Lots of walking around and exploring. I’m happy I went to Venice, but I’ll probably never go back nor will I suggest anyone else go… Haha. It was a pretty run down city and basically a giant tourist trap. The bridges, canals, and walkways throughout the town were really neat! But, Amsterdam was pretty similar with the canals as well and I thought it had much more to offer than Venice did. Again, Venice was a giant tourist trap. Then we hopped a train to Milan and stayed another night!
The next morning we hopped on a train at 6AM to Monterosso, one of the towns in Cinque Terre! Cinque Terre is a collection of five towns by the sea where you can hike from town to town. We got there at 9AM and were immediately blown away by how beautiful the crystal-clear blue water was and how warm the weather was. We grabbed some fruit from the market for the hike and started the long trek to the city Vernazza! It was a tough 2 hour hike that was mostly uphill, but the stunning scenery of the sea and lemon trees kept spirits up. This city didn’t have much of a beach, but there was a stone pier that was huge so we claimed a spot that looked out to the sea and Maggie and I ended up even taking naps under the sun. Our train was out of Monterosso so we decided to hike back instead of going to the next town; luckily, the hike back was much easier. We grabbed some dinner with a view of the water and killed time until our train. Also, got two different rounds of gelato! Then, tragedy struck. We had planned on taking a train to Pisa and then taking a connecting train to Rome that night. Once we got to the train station we saw that our train was delayed 40 minutes. Soon, that delay became an hour and 50 minutes. After waiting for about an hour, the train altogether became cancelled. We were of course, freaking out, but not as much as some Americans from Wisconsin. I hated it, but they were the stereotypical Americans that started yelling and cussing out the train information desk worker so bad that he closed the whole desk and wouldn’t help anyone else. Since those Americans were so crazy, we basically were able to redirect our frustration from the train situation to them handling the situation so badly. Luckily, the next train was in two hours, but unfortunately that meant we were going to miss our connecting train to Rome. We killed time playing cards and telling stories. Once in Pisa we were able to find a hostel that was really cheap and stayed the night there!
We were able to get a train to Rome free of charge since we weren’t able to catch our train from Pisa to Rome the night before and left on the first train out! Something weird that happened: I got hit by a random stranger! We were getting on the Metro when I heard some woman speaking Italian near me, but when I looked at her she wasn’t looking at me at all. Minding my own business a couple seconds later, suddenly I get a swift punch on the side by that same woman. Then she ran away. It was the weirdest thing, because it was just so unexpected. But, I didn’t feel bad cause I knew I didn’t do anything wrong! With Rome off to a great start, we made our way to Vatican City and went into Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was free so that was neat. Something else cool going on at Saint Peter’s is that every 25 years the doorways are blessed so people’s sins are forgiven when they walk through the doorway and we were there for that lucky time of year. In London, Saint Paul’s Cathedral is modeled after Saint Peter’s in Rome, and there is really no comparison because Saint Peter’s was on its own level of magnificence. It was huge, massive, and absolutely beautiful. We decided against going to the Sistine Chapel and instead went to lunch, were I had the best garlic bread of my life. We went to the Colosseum, but tragedy struck again! They weren’t accepting people after 2PM that day for an archeological event so we weren’t able to get in. But, the Colosseum is such a sight in itself that it was okay. We walked to the Trevi fountain where we made wishes and killed some time eating gelato. Then we went took the Metro where luckily I didn’t get hit again, and found a restaurant to spend some time at. Maggie was going on an earlier train to Naples to check in for our Airbnb so we split a bottle of white wine then she was off. The rest of us ending up spending an additional 2+ hours at the restaurant where paid for another bottle of white wine and dinner. For free, they also ended up giving us wine snacks, a whole basket of bread, and glasses of champagne! They must have really liked us since we were sitting outside bringing business in, because it looked like we were having such a great time, which was true in all honesty. Caught the train to Naples and got a little lost on our way to the Airbnb, but ended up there okay! Our set up was great with four beds in one room, it was just a party.
A very lazy and relaxing day that was much needed. At 1PM we finally left the house to explore the town and get some food. We even came across a castle on the water that was really cool to explore! Went to the grocery store and made dinner at our place and called it a day.
Then, it was time for goodbyes. Lucy and Maggie headed to Nice, France and Kat headed back to London. I decided to stay an additional day in Naples since it was cheaper to fly out the day after Easter. So I did a day tour with an agency where I explored the ancient ruins of Pompeii and hiked the volcano Mount Vesuvius. It was really amazing how preserved Pompeii was despite the fact that it was buried in ash for about two thousand years! Hiking the volcano was great too, since it was so high up that I was literally in the clouds. After the tour I walked to my hostel and called it a day. While Pompeii was a huge plus, Naples was not what I thought it was. Honestly, it was a pretty dirty and sketchy city. After my friends left and I was by myself, I decided to walk everywhere because I’m a cheapskate. On every single walk, there was at least one guy that tried to talk to me or stop me. Luckily, nothing happened, but if anything was to happen it would have been in Naples! Again, it was also a tourist trap of a city.
All in all, one of the best spring breaks of my life and I will always cherish the memories that I now share with my housemates. There wasn’t anything in Italy except for Vatican City that appealed to me when I originally planned my trip, but now I can easily add Cinque Terre to the list of my favorite places in the world. I honestly can’t see myself in Italy again, but I’m beyond grateful that I went and will never forget the amazing time I was able to share with my friends eating gelato and enjoying the warm weather! I will also really miss the cheap gelato that we got every single day.