Although there is no excuse for my month-long absence, I do have a reason:
I have been out of town- no, out of continent. Accompanied by lovely friends and surrounded by encouraging teachers, I flew across the Atlantic ocean to visit ancient sites in Italy and Greece.
We arrived at the airport in Naples on March 25, and all clambered onto the Omni-Bus. This Super Bus was nearly two stories high, with a staircase to enter, reclining seats, and Wifi (which did not work, to our great dismay). Next to the petite Smart cars and motor bikes of Europe, our bus seemed ridiculous. Trying to wind through the tiny brick streets, it seemed even more so.
It was early afternoon when we arrived in Sorrento, Italy. I should have been exhausted, having been awake for approaching thirty hours, but pure excitement pulsed through my body. Driving along the winding, cliff-side roads, I felt both awe and terror.
“Look there! Mount Vesuvius! The Mediterranean Sea!” I think one moment. The next, “Is this Leviathan-Bus about to topple into it?”
We survived the cliffs, and as we entered Sorrento, I was struck with how charmingly cramped it felt.
Cars somehow formed two lanes on one lane streets with no shoulder. Narrow brick and cobblestone streets were canopied by porches, plants, and clothes lines.
The buildings all touched, unless separated by the occasional side street. Unlike bland American buildings, these were bright pastel colors- pink, blue, yellow, orange- all topped with a red tile roof.
We did not have much free time due to our constant exploring of sites, but we used all that we were given to wander these streets.
Walking up and down, wandering into a quaint cafe or shop, and, of course, eating an abundance of gelato. I tried many flavors during my time in Italy, including coffee, Nutella, kiwi, raspberry, lemon, and chocolate peanut butter. All were delectable.
But gelato was not the only Italian food I ate! I tasted authentic Italian pizza (much better than Papa John’s), cappuccinos and espressos (way better than Starbucks), Caprese salad, and gnocchi, to name a few. Again, all tasted amazing and made me loathe the low-quality American food to which we are accustomed.
Our second day on Italian soil started with a tour of Pompeii. We walked on the same stones that Romans walked on 3000 years ago. We saw the same Mount Vesuvius looming behind the city that they saw daily.
Next was Rome. All forty of us once again mounted the Omni-Bus, and after four hours of playing “creative thinking games” and solving riddles, we arrived in the capital of Italy.
Rome was strange in a beautiful yet completely unfamiliar way. The mix of astoundingly old and exceedingly modern surprised me. You might see the crumbling remains of an ancient stone wall, and right behind it, a new apartment complex!
We spent two and a half days exploring Rome, laughing, eating Margarita pizza, and snapping pictures.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
I have read another page. On that page, I found breathtaking landscapes, brave adventures, and precious memories. I read that page with some of the best people on the planet, and I will remember every word, every moment.