Der Amerikanische Urlauber

Friday, May 20, 2005

Parto fra tre giorni...

La piccola spiaggia di Vernazza Posted by Hello

I had a really busy day today; I've been wanting to write this now for three weeks. I finally can. I got my itinerary today...

Of course, in the end it leaves as much a mystery as it reveals, but all the important questions are answered. Anyway, it reads as follows:

Monday, May 23
Depart from Newark to Rome; in flight

Tuesday, May 24
Arrival at Fiumicino; afternoon free

Wednesday, May 25
All day tour of Rome, including a tour of the pagan culture of Ancient Rome, visiting several ancient sites among them the Pantheon. Some place I probably never would have known to visit myself i the Mitre di San Clemente, which is located beneath the Basilica di San Clemente, and is an ancient temple devoted to the ancient god Mithras (predating the ancient Romans)

Thursday, May 26
Depart Rome and head north to La Spezia

Friday, May 27

Saturday, May 28
Excursion around Cinque Terre

Sunday, May 29
Pisa, Carrara, and Lucca

Monday, May 30
Maranola and Monterosso

Tuesday, May 31
Corniglia and Vernazza (that really pretty place pictured above)

Wednesday, June 01
Head back to Rome, stopping in Tarquinia, where among other things we're visiting an Etruscan burial ground built within an antique cave

Thursday, June 02

Everyone that isn't extending the trip heads back June 02. But I'm staying on until June 05 back in Rome.

Anyway, that's the itinerary in a really brief nutshell. That's all I know as well. I personally think the woman didn't feel like writing the whole thing out for us so she just gave us a brief rundown, because we're already told we're being kept plenty busy doing stuff each day. It's nice, I think, to be able to experience Rome with everyone so when I'm by myself I'll already be a little acquainted with la città eterna.

I was surprised that Florence is no longer on the itinerary. Instead, we got extra time in Rome. Not a bad tradeoff; I was extremely looking forward to Florence, but I'll get there someday soon, I think. Florence has too much to try and just see in one day anyway.

As for lodging; when I looked and I saw as the first place we're staying in Rome "hostel" I immediately was like "oh God no" and thoughts of huge rooms crowded with beds and loud people running around in their underwear and filthy communal baths flooded my mind (I've heard stories!) But then I looked it up online; we're staying the first two nights in Rome at the Youth Station Hostel, which is in the northeast of the city near Stazione Termini. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it's more like a small hotel; just very basic. It has private baths, which alleviated that concern, and so I'm none too worried at all. Let's just hope I have a pleasant enough experience to write of.

When we spend the bulk of our time in Cinque Terre, which, by the way you can read all about here, we're going to be staying at il Santuario di Montenero, which I'm gathering is a bed and breakfast.
It seems very quaint.

The night on the way back to Rome they have it down as we're staying at the Holiday House San Francesco di Tuscania. Which incidentally doesn't seem to have a website, so it's going to be surprises all around.

But what's good travel without surprise?

I really am excited at the variety of experiences I'll be having on this trip. The theme apparently assigned to this trip is Italy's National Parks and Treasured Towns. Which seems very appropriate. Cinque Terre is in itself a massive national park and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. I wish I had a more detailed itinerary so I could give you a clearer rundown of what I'll be doing; but hey, this way you have something to look forward to on my updates...

Everyone I know that has been to Cinque Terre has loved it. So that's an extremely good sign. This is all in the Riviera, which is incredible in itself.

I'm really running the full spectrum of lodging experiences on this trip as well; I'm staying in a hostel, a bed and breakfast, and then in a luxury hotel in Rome. I'm staying at the Hotel dei Borgognoni, which gets it's name from the Via Borgognoni. I got an incredible deal off Expedia. Which remind me, I need to call and check tomorrow just to confirm they have me down in their system. Because my worst fear would be getting there and having them not have me in the system. But at least Expedia in this case would be responsible.

So I'm really, really excited.

In other news, today I got the Euro I ordered through Bank of America. I ordered €175 online, so I could have a good amount, but not a ton, on me when I get there. The exchange rate right now is particularly brutal; it's $1.32 to €1. So it cost like $232. It could be worse, I could be going to Britain...

This is my first encounter with the Euro. I've seen pictures online, and I have a €1 coin (de España) but that's it. So I was surprised to see that the size varies depending on the value of the bill. A €5 note is the smallest, and each note, €10, 20, 50, etc. continues to increase in size. And it has a little silver anti-countefeit band running down the side, and is all colorful. It honestly at first felt like Monopoly money to me! I kind of miss the old currencies only because it was so fun to collect the various ones, and each one had a bit of national flavor. The Euro makes things easier, but I do miss the Lira, with its outrageously devaluation so they placed values of 50 lire on of which I happen to have, from 1977.

So anyway, yeah that was exciting. I wonder how ready I will be to depart with my colorful Euros...


  • At 4:09 AM, May 20, 2005, Anonymous Kim said…

    Pagan culture of Rome? Oeh, bring me stuff about that! You know how i am into these religion things and I did not know of any pagan in Rome! I would like to learn about that.

    And IF I decide to go to Florence this summer (depending on you know what) I will show you pictures and videos of that. You have fun in Rome, that was not built in 1 day as you know ;)

  • At 5:19 PM, May 20, 2005, Blogger KissMyA$$ said…

    wow i didn't think i would read that all cause i thought it would be u just blabbing away but it turned out i read the whole thing and it wasn't that bad. Anyways, have fun and P.s--U just got that thought going threw my mind Eck!! ttyl

  • At 5:34 PM, May 20, 2005, Blogger PTA Mom said…

    I'm glad you got your itinerary. It sounds like you are going to have a fantastic time. The exchange rate is terrible right now. It's hard to believe dollars and euros were of equal value just two or so years ago.

  • At 10:40 AM, May 22, 2005, Blogger Sweety said…

    Have fun Joe! :) And if you decide to climb St. Pietro's... I would definately use the elevator up. You still have to climb a bit, but it's totally worth the extra 2 euros.
    Before climbing up we visited the Vatican museum. It is beautiful and also gives acces to the Sistine chapel. And right before you go in the Sistine chapel, you can go down the stairs and get a very good coffee for only 1 euro :))
    We took the audio tour, but we didnt think it was very good.

    Have a great trip :)


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