Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mi piace l'Italia - Civitavecchia, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Anacapri (part 1)

So this one day of class in between countries is really tough.  We have a lot of work to get done and it is so easy to fall behind on everything (including sleep haha).  So considering we are in Croatia now, I am going to write about Italy.  Here were the trips I did in Italy (I'll talk about what it was like when I get a chance, but here's some backgroud information):

CIV06 REPUBBLICA DEI RAGAZZI: A TRANSITION HOME FOR YOUTH (0945-1200 Wednesday, 01 July)  Visit Repubblica dei Ragazzi originally operated by Father Marcello Bolzonello that provides shelter and education for boys, ages 9 to 18 years, who have social, economic and family problems. The facility is comparable to the original "Boys Town" started by Father Flannagan in 1917; the U.S. story gained international attention when it was brought to the silver screen in 1938 with Spencer Tracy starring as the Oscar-winning priest. Nobody obliges them to stay; the gate is always open. Everybody at the home has a different "duty" such as assisting with housework, health or finances. Each week the duties change. The youth are self-governed and elect a "mayor" monthly. On average there are 30 teenagers at the facility and approximately 20 tutors. The children go to the various schools in town studying subjects such as tourism, accounting, and other topics to prepare for high school. Visit with the priest to learn more about this unique facility and have an opportunity to interact with the students. Afterwards, enjoy some free time around the nearby marina before returning to the ship. (A donation of €300 will be given to the home courtesy of the SAS Annual Fund.)

CIV12 ROME, THE ETERNAL CITY (0900 Thursday, 02 July – 1900 Friday, 03 July) This trip has been designed to include a fair amount of free time to explore Rome, one of the world’s great cities, while also enjoying guided tours of the city’s highlights, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum.  Day 1: Depart by motorcoach for the 90-minute drive to Rome. Upon arrival in Rome, proceed to visit the Colosseum and then view the Roman Forum, Venice Square and Circus Maximus. After lunch, check in to your hotel and enjoy some free time until dinner. In the evening, enjoy a tour of Rome by night. This is a 1½-hour walking tour that includes such sites as Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. (L, D; area hotel)  Day 2: In the morning, check out of your hotel and visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. Afterwards, enjoy some free time and lunch on your own before departing for Civitavecchia. (B) Please note: Shorts, short skirts and tank tops (bare shoulders) are not permitted in the Vatican Museums. Guests wearing these items may be restricted from entering.

NAP03 POMPEII AND SORRENTO (0900-1700 Saturday, 04 July) Pompeii became a Roman colony in 80 CE and prospered as a major port and trading town until an earthquake partially destroyed it in 63 CE. The city had been rebuilt when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE and buried it under tons of pumice stone and volcanic ash. The town was completely engulfed by the shower of stones, and approximately 2,000 of the 20,000 inhabitants perished. In 1954, architect Domenico Fontana came across the ruins during construction of a canal. Restoration still continues today, but most of the ancient city has been uncovered. To the ancient Greeks, the area around Sorrento was the Temple of the Sirens. Sailors of antiquity were powerless to resist the beautiful songs of the maidens who, without fail, would lure them and their vessels to their doom on the reefs. Homer’s Odysseus was determined to hear the melodies and strapped himself to the mast of his ship as he sailed past the fatal place. Depart by motorcoach for a 45-minute drive to Pompeii and spend about two hours visiting the main part of the archeological site including the huge forum, great temples, homes and shops that were buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Continue to Sorrento for lunch in a local restaurant before enjoying some free time to explore the local shops lined up along the alleyways stretching from the main square, Piazza Tasso. You may wish to visit the Church and Cloister of San Francesco and the local cathedral before returning to the ship.

NAP06 CAPRI AND ANACAPRI (0800-1630 Sunday, 05 July) Capri is one of the most famous summer resorts in the Mediterranean and has been so since the time of the ancient Roman Empire. In more modern times, Capri has been a popular place for writers, poets and actors who have given the island a legendary reputation as "the island of love." Travel by hydrofoil to the island of Capri. On arrival, you will drive to the higher village of Anacapri. You may choose between taking a chairlift up to Monte Solaro, boasting breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples, or visiting the famous Villa San Michele, an ancient property built on the ruins of one of the Tiberius Palaces. The villa is now a museum that contains paintings and furnishings of the former owner, Axel Munthe. After free time to explore, proceed to Capri Village for lunch in a local restaurant.  Please note: This tour involves strenuous walking.

The first morning in Civitavecchia I went to the Repubblica dei Ragazzi.  It was a little over 2 hours and we toured the location.  It was actually I really nice place - it was very pretty and the living arrangements were in really good condition.  About an hour in, Nhesthy asked the guy if we were going to get to interact with the kids at all and the guy said that we can't do that.  So we were kind of upset about that.  But then when we went on the tour of the rooms, a bunch of the kids (from about 6 or 8 to 18 or 20) came out and started talking to us. I felt bad but almost no one was paying attention to the tour guides anymore because the kids came with us and we learned so much more talking with them.  Some only spoke Italian, but a few spoke Spanish or French and a little English so we could communicate pretty well with them. 
Then we got back to the ship and ate lunch.  Originally I was going to walk around Civitavecchia with Alex, but he bought a Rome trip so I walked around with Ben and Josh.  We met up with a few girls from SAS after a while and decided to go to the beach.  The beaches in Civitavecchia were really pretty, but there were rocks instead of sand so we were going to take a train to this place that supposedly had really nice beaches.  However, we stopped for a drink (it was really hot out) and met up with this other girl who was going to Rome.  By the time we were ready to go we decided we didn't want to go all the way out to the other location so we went to the one tiny little spot that had sand and stayed at the beach in Civitavecchia.  The girls went to the beach like 20 min before Ben and I went there.  Josh decided to go to Rome with the other girl so when we got to the beach the other girls asked where he went.  I was like - Oh, Josh went to Rome.  We thought it was funny that we can just say that here that someone went to Rome - no big deal.  Anyways, we relaxed on the beach for a while and went in the water a bit (the first about 2 feet were rocks before you go to the sand in the water.  I almost fell so many times and the rocks really hurt, but once you got past that it was nice.  When we were leaving this guy came up to one of the girls and said he had seen her earlier and knew she was on the ship.  It was kind of creepy, but we just left and went back to the ship.  The ship was docked kind of far away - it was like a 15 minute walk which wouldn't have been so bad but we walked it like 6 times that afternoon.  Then we ate a mini dinner on the ship (everyone eats so late in Spain and Italy, that you have to eat before dinner if you had lunch at a normal time on the ship).
So that's most of day 1 out of 5 in Italy, but I'm going to call home now before we go out to Croatia for dinner.  The exchange rate here is $1 for about 5.18 Kunas so I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not actually spending a fortune on everything.  Ok I really shouldn't be talking about Croatia before Italy, so I'm going to go.  More updates to come.
Thanks to everyone who has been emailing me.  It's really great to hear from you all.  Also, can one of the butterfield girls please send me everyone's emails because I feel lost reading all the posts from that message feed but not being able to reply because I'm not going on facebook - thanks!
From the ship docked in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Sharon

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