Another "only in Italy" moment:
Two of my friends and I were driving on the highway, when it came to a sudden halt- only to find out we were stuck right behind an accident, ugh! A semi's tire blew causing it to swerve and block the highway, guardrail to guardrail! Me and my friend pulled "an Italy" and joined the masses to get a better look:
Don't worry, it's normal here...
...As is driving on the line:
After about an hour of wondering how and when we were going to get past this, as well as watching people try to back up and maneuver back to the previous exit (usually with no luck, as we saw lots of leaving and returning a minute later)...
We finally started to noticed the cars dwindling around us and about 30 minutes later the red car behind me was no where to be found, then semi behind me moves to the right lane and *viola* there are NO cars in the entire lane behind me, and there was no way they went forward. All that was left was the right lane full of semis, me, and the few cars in front of me. After a few minutes of putting together my limited Italian vocabulary, I was directed to turn around, drive the opposite direction, and get off at the first exit (on the off ramp)...
This weekend James and I were thrilled to be able to meet up with some friends from back home, Chris and Vicki, who came to Italy to celebrate their 20th anniversary. They toured Rome and Venice for a few days, and then we met them in Rome on Saturday, and brought them down to Naples with us on Sunday. And what a blast it was!!!
We caught an early train up, and met them around 9:30am at the train station, and first things first- grabbed some cappuccinos and pastries! After catching up and walking in circles because we were so busy chatting, we finally made our way to the Pantheon.
James and I had never been inside, it was really cool!
At the top of the dome there is an open hole for light, only problem is- rain also gets inside, so the floors are lower on the outside than in the middle so that the rain fall rolls down and into the drains.
Also in the ceiling, they carved out square patterns in order to take away some of the extra weight. They also stuffed glass bottles inside for the same effect. Those Romans... I tell ya!
Next we admired the random street painters' artwork while walking through Piazza Navona, then walked over a pretty bridge overlooking the Tiber River with a great view of the castle in the background...
Cute spot that I thought looked very Italy-esque:
Finally, Vatican City! As the museum is huge, and really doesn't mean much if you don't know what you're looking at, we took a very interesting guided tour.
(I tried to catch "Vicki Chan" in picture-taking action...)
I took many pictures, but they might bore you, so here is one of the last copper statues remaining:
Immediately after, we decided to walk up the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica. Walking up was 5 Euro a person, where as the elevator ride was 7. We saved 2 Euros and walked. All the way. To the top.
Note- Don't be fooled by James' enthusiasm. Pay the 2 Euro extra.
Regardless, once we reached the top, it was well worth it!
The first stop was the inside of the dome.
I thought the walls were really neat... but I have a recent obsession with all things mosaic so, naturally... ;-)
We also got to see mass being held, and a better view of where Matthew 16:18 is written:
Tu es Petrus...
A few more stairs later and we were outside!
After the much more preferred trek down, we checked out the inside of the church then ate dinner and were on our way down to Naples!
Sunday- Pompeii and Amalfi Coast drive.
To start the morning off right...
Caffe and fresh pastries! Yum!
Now Onward to Pompeii- the city that was destroyed, and yet preserved, by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
All this stuff was around back in the disciples' day. Crazy!
Original wall carvings:
"Europe," but in their alphabet.
Replicas of bodies they found:
Which I find the most interesting.Morbid much?!
Responsibly using the pedestrian walkways:
My fave-couple-ever enjoying the ruins together ;-)
The four of us in the amphitheater on our way out:
I know it was probably wrong of me to take a pic, but someone did tell her and the problem was fixed!
So that makes it all ok right?! ;-p
Getting ready to get our grilled Artichoke on!
It was our yummy snack for the road.
The Almafi coast drive takes you along a windy highway which runs along the cliffs of the coast. It's beautifully picturesque so naturally I have a million pictures, but I'll try to just give you some highlights.
As we were driving through Sorrento, the first city on the coast, I decide to google what it is known for. Lemoncello is number one, but it also has a restaurant which is supposed to be one of the best in all of Italy. Since we pretty much burned more calories than we in-took eating the Artichoke, it was about time to eat, so why not check out this restaurant. Oh Don Alfonso... I plugged Don Alfonso (restaurant) into the GPS, but I think the GPS was trying to put our fears to the test. We went up and up and around and around, we went through tiny streets where we had to pull our mirrors in, and all the while we hear our tires squealing on the cobble stone streets. Not a good feeling when driving on steep skinny streets with no place to turn around and even so going back means going all downhill on these steep skinny streets with the squeaky tire business - besides the fact that many streets are one way or probably should be. So, after passing a turn the GPS told us to take that was closed and looked like only pedestrians could fit on anyway, we felt like we had cheated death enough for one day, and were ready to just get back to the main road and pick another spot for lunch.
Wouldn't you know, right at that point is when we came to:
I realize this downward hill may not look too steep in this picture, but before we got this close, it looked like a cliff... and we were a little slanted down at this point. So trust me, it was steep.
So- Down the paved street or left on the pebbled path that leads to the woods?
Um... if we go down, we have to come back up, squeaky tires, old car and all. I vote left!
A little after we turned left, we had enough room to turn around and we were golden! We rushed our-nerve-wracked-selves back to a main road and got ourselves out of there! Then we came across a cute little restaurant with several cars in the lot, and decided to stick with the masses this time and take a lunch break!
It was a good choice. It gave us all food in the bellies, caffeine, and a break from the car- and cliffs! The food was good and the cappuccinos were strong (perfect)! And of course the view was great. After all, we were still rather high up.
After a great Italian meal, we hopped in the car for some more coastal fun, and headed to Positano.
I've heard the views here are the best, so we couldn't just stop at Sorrento!
The weekend weather was nothing short of beautiful, and the adventures were more fun than I can put into words- we laughed endlessly! We decided some things were "not possible," (like that downward hill...) and also did a lot of things that we thought might be "not possible" and lived to tell about it. We got three videos of lemon orchards- though hopefully not three of the same orchards and had mostly sat down to eat AND mostly grabbed food on the go (Hah Vicki ;-) We were sad to have to send Chris and Vicki off the next day, but it was without a doubt a weekend that won't be forgotten! We are definitely blessed with such great friends!
* The story behind "it's not possible" would be best told in person... or maybe simply kept as an inside joke, as those can sometimes only be funny in the moment
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY CHRIS AND VICKI!