After Venice we caught the bus down to Rome in time to leave on our tour on yes, my birthday. Whoop, whoop. That night in Rome, we had dinner at our campsite and Sarah let slip that it was my birthday so they made me a heart shaped pizza with my name spelled out in olives. Very nice.
So bright and early (on the 20th for all you people who forgot) we got up to leave for Pompeii and met all the people on our tour. We arrived at Pompeii still fairly early, which we were very thankful for because we soon learned that the South of Italy gets very, very hot especially when you're in a town of stone and ruins with not much shade.
Pompeii was very cool (Sarah says awesome, awesome, awesome). It was amazingly well preserved, hard to believe that it was that old. You could still see the frescoes on some of the walls (especially in the brothel) and many of the statues were still there. And the penises, there were penises everywhere. On the walls, engraved on the ground, on the fountains. Apparently they were good luck. It was very sad though, seeing some of the plastercasts of the bodies, especially the little boy trying to shield his mouth from the ash. We were told that they made these casts by filling in the holes left in the preserved ash where the bodies had lain.
On a lighter note, it has to be said that our guide was the best part of Pompeii. His name was Francesco and he was the total Italian stereotype. He had oiled, slicked back hair (very Grease), big aviator sunnies, linen pants and the long sleeved white shirt slightly unbottoned. And mustn't forget the huge watch and gold chain. He was awesome. And didn't seem to be affected by the heat at all. Very suave. And he rolled his r's. His favourite sayings though were 'Yoo-hoooo!' (while cupping his mouth in his hands), 'Bus-AaaBOUT' and 'Shake a leg, the middle leg, and only the man, the legend'. Francesco was, in a unanimous vote, hilarious.
Third to Francesco and Pompeii itself, were the market vendors. Outside of these massive ruins was this whole little market filled with all these really tacky souvenirs and more penises. And the vendors were very...helpful. They would herd you into their stalls, not unsimilar to sheep, and stand helpfully over your shoulder as you perused their wares. They were funny though, they would come out with the best lines to try and make you buy stuff.
After Pompeii we headed down to our campsite in Sorrento. Sorrento is absolutely gorgeous, very much a little Italian town, and went for a walking tour and some limoncello tasting (highly reccommended) before heading out for tea and some cocktails. Unfortunately before we left it became known that it was my birthday and I was forced to wear the birthday hat (I was the 6th to wear it in a month) and was yelled at every time I took it off, which was often because it was damn hot! Sarah is very proudly adding that she ate 3 tiramisus. And I burnt my lip on a flaming shot. And there was an awesome Italian owner of an Irish bar who kept playing awesome 80s music and preannouncing them all. And he played 'That's Amore' and made us all sing (which we have video footage of).
And now, it's Sarah's turn...
So then we headed to a cocktail bar and drank more - it was somewhat cheap. Jess had a flaming birthday shot and burned her lip (baaaahahahaha). On the bus home one of the guys on our tour demonstrated how scarily good he was at mooing like a cow - like, seriously, he must have been practicing for ages. As we were heading back to our tent we could hear the mooing in the distance. Then we all gathered around and watched a dog that seemed to be living at the campsite eat peoples towels. Classic.
The next day it was up early and on a ferry to Capri, which was amazing. The water was the most spectacular blue. We did a boat tour of the island, which included a tour into the blue grotto. We had to get off the boat and into a little row boat and lie down to get through a tiny little cave entrance, but once you're inside it's absolutely GORGEOUS. The water was like fluro blue, it was awesome. We have photos, but they don't really do justice to it. You have to see it for yourself.
Once we were back on the island we went up to the town of Capri on a train that a bunch of us decided was more like an amusement ride. The gardens in Capri were beautiful, and the view of the water was really pretty. Oh, and we ate gelati, of course. Then we caught the bus up to Anacapri, which is the highest point on the island. The bus trip was terrifying - very tiny, winding roads with no fence the majority of the time. We were very high up. Anacapri had more souvenir shops and things, and more nice views.
That night we had another group dinner at the campsite, not as nice as the night before... we got off to bed fairly early for another early morning.
On the way back to Rome the next day we stopped at Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. We only stopped in Positano to see the lookout and take photos - it was gorgeous. Then we were in Amalfi for a couple of hours. We saw where they make paper there, and looked around more souvenir and ceramic shops. Jess and I also discovered dark chocolate gelato. Drool. Ravello was more ceramic shops and things, but we also had another awesome meal there (yes, Italy is mainly about the food). And we saw the end of an Italian wedding, it was so cool. They had a church choir with a very cool preist on a guitar singing 'O Happy Day' and 'I Will Follow Him' as they left the church, then lots of cheering and rice throwing and confetti explosions, and the bride and groom released doves. Veyr awesome.
The rest of the bus trip was hell, it was so bloody hot and the air conditioning was pretty much non existent. We got back to Rome late in the afternoon and were meant to go to a group barbecue, but were feeling anti social. What can you do. It was an awesome weekend though, it was probably one of my (Sarah) favourite places i've been on the whole trip.