Monday, May 5, 2014

ITALY


ITALY <3
By Megan Marolt
I cannot believe it is already over but we most definitely had the time of our live! 
Traveling on our own was so much fun and a huge learning experience for the both of us. 
After staying one more night in Dublin at a really cool hostel we headed to the airport around noon. A fare of 7 Euros brought us from downtown Dublin to the airport. I grabbed some lunch at McDonald’s in the airport and then we continued to wait around for a couple hours until we boarded our plane at 3pm. 
This flight was different than any other flight I had been on before because we were the minority on this flight. Everyone else was Italian or Irish. Yeah we got several looks and it actually made me kind of nervous. In my mind I did not think I was so anxious but soon my body began to respond. While wait in line I felt nauseous and a few times thought I was going to pass out. Once we were on the plane my nerves calmed and I was beginning to feel more excited. 
By the time we got to Rome it was dark and from a birds eye view we got to see the city and surrounding areas lit up. I had never scene so many soccer fields illuminated at once! We were truly there and my excited butterflies were fluttering, I couldn’t wait to get to be on the ground and check in to our hostel. 
We took the bus from the airport to the train station and from there our hostel was only a 10-minute walk. It was actually a really nice place! We had our own room and there was a bar/lounge/ nightclub downstairs. The had a full menu for breakfast and lunch as well as a happy hour which we took full advantage of.
Our full day in Rome was jam packed with sights to see. We had gotten a map from our hostel that highlighted the top 10 monuments. So with no time to spare we took of at about 8am to begin our day. The Coliseum, the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Cathedral were just some of the places we stopped. Those were the three that was spent the most time at. 
Needless to say it was an exhausting day and we were ready to say chao, Rome! Our train left at 11:45am the next morning for Florence and we were thankful to get out of that crazy city fairly early and get headed for Florence. 
Florence was amazing as well but we were sure glad to only spend one day there. We had dinner and hung out with some people from the hostel because included in our stay was complimentary wine and caprese salad at 6:30pm. After we were done conversing we went to see the monuments at night around the area. Oh and we definitely had been enjoying our fair share of gelato this whole time. The next morning we adventured up to a few gardens and to see David. The views of the city were amazing, lots of panoramic views and photo opts. Our train for Levanto left around 2pm and once again we were excited to get out of the big city. 
The train ride to Levanto was amazing. Just like in the movies. The Tuscan architecture, vineyards, snowcapped mountains, and green planes. The ride in total was about 3 1/2 hours after our transfer. We got to Levanto just in time to watch the sunset. Soon after we checked into our hostel, which slept 6 and went to dinner at a quaint spot just down the road. After dinner we decided to save out energy for the next day and hit the hay fairly early. One of the girls in our hostel told us about a hiking trail she adventured on that day which took about 4 1/2 hours but brought you to the neighboring town where you could stop and hang out for a while. Since we were there for 2 full day and 3 nights we decided this sounded like something fun to do! It was about a two-hour hike there, and was quite rigorous. But let me tell you the view was worth to extra work! We were climbing cliff side the whole time with a view of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea on our right side. After two hours of hiking we came to the town Monterosso. We decided to hang on the beach there and soak up the sun. Enjoying some gelato and fresh fruit. After a few hours we decided we had been restored enough to take the trek back up the hillside to and head back to Levanto. We were so wiped that we watched the sunset over some drinks, grabbed some dinner and were in bed by 8:30pm. That night we were the only ones in our room until 12:30am and three boys came stumbling in. The next day we decided to take it easy and chill on the beach 9-4 like it was our job. The sun was beaming down on us with no clouds in the sky, a warm breeze, and 66-degree weather. We were not the only crazy ones, there were others basking in the sun as well! With our headphones in we were in complete trance the whole day soaking up all the rays we could. We were completely roasted by the end of the day and were ready for a good meal and rest. I made friends with some the guys who were staying in our room who were apart of a 20-person group from America. They were studying in another part of Italy but were all from the states. We hung out on the beach under the moonlight and shared some drinks at the cabana across from the hostel. Here we were able to talk with some of the locals. This was a great way to end my Italian adventure. :) 
Sunday was Kelly’s birthday and I felt so bad we were just going to be traveling the whole day so there weren’t a whole lot of opportunities for a celebration. However, we did have a really fun week, so I hope that made up for a busy day of just traveling and staying in the airport overnight in Dublin. 
From now on I will always remember to print my boarding pass when flying Ryanair before I get to the airport so that I am not charged an extra 70 euros to board the plane. Geez! I was more than upset. But I couldn’t let it ruin my perspective on the whole trip. Once we were back in Louisburgh it was nice to come and unwind, actually take a shower! 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to Italy and everything that I experienced there. Kelly is a great travel companion and a great friend. We definitely had a trip of a lifetime!

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