Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rest of Italy.. and then onto Prague

Hello USA,

Italy is amazing. The people here are so nice. Unlike Spain, where I would be stared at with blank expressions, Italians smile not only with their mouth but their entire face. Ciao Ciao, Bonjourno, Bella Bella, always saying hello!! They completely go out of their way to help you find where you want to go, or give suggestions, making phone calls for you on their cells, and offering maps that they hand draw. We even get free bus rides some times, maybe because Rosie is so cute!

So where did I leave off in my tours, Roma? Rome was amazing. We walked and walked and walked and walked, and I thought my feet might fall off at one point, and walked. We saw the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peters, many other churchs, the Spanish Stairs, the Fountain of Trevi (where I threw my coin in for "love"), Piazza after Piazza (squares), a beautiful bridge, Gelato stands (yes I indulged in Dairy!), the Capitol Building, and much more!! The day we left it was like leaving our Italian parents. Victor and Aurora were amazing couch surfing hosts. They made sure we got food in the morning and anything we needed. Her garden was amazing!!! She had apricots and lemon trees, as well as olives of some kind and some other fruit I couldn't identify. Flowers galore, and wide open spaces for walking and lounging around. Her travel wall was so cool! They have been everywhere!! Unfortunately they weren't able to have kids, so they traveled and traveled and traveled. Aurora is from France, so French is her native tongue. She speaks English, Italian and a little Spanish. I was able to speak to her husband more in spanish because his english was a bit limited. It was sad to say goodbye to them. They are my Italian family for life. Who knows, maybe I will see them again this year in my travels abroad.

After Rome, we were off to Naples by train and then quickly onto a ferry to Capri. Capri is gorgeous. It's an island off of the Almafi coast. It reminded me a lot of Ketchikan in that it's built on a mountain. The major difference is that it's more cliff like, the roads are cobble stone and super narrow and it's HOT! After an adventure on the bus system to our hotel, we quickly got in our suits and went strolling. Our hotel was pretty high on the mountain but we found this amazing stair case that took you directly down to the marina. (Along the way I ran into a man who was wearing an Alaska t-shirt and had bought it in Skagway!)  I took a picture but I can't seem to upload stuff right now!! booooo

Once down to the Marina we dipped into the sea and it was the most refreshing dip ever. It felt like paradise, Capri. The beach was crowded with families, but so interesting to people watch and here all the different languages being spoken. We heard Russians, Dutch, German, Italians, Spanish and I even ran into a Swedish couple from Gothenburg whose daughter just got married here. I am beginning to pick up languages now just by hearing them, as a few years ago I was completely lost on identifying which was which.

For dinner, Rosie and I took a stroll up in the main square. After walking around we realized we were in Rich people land. Prada, Louis Vuitton, and .... are you sitting down? 70 euro to 200 euro meals! 200 EURO?!? Google 200 EUR0 TO USD... you'll faint. So.... since we were looking for 3 to 10 euro dishes, we asked a local to help us find the "local area", and boy did we!! The great thing about Italy is everyone is one big family. Everyone knows everyone. We were directed to this restaurant way up the side of the mountain and once up there, local families passed by (we sat outside) and all the staff knew them saying hello. Ordering in a local restaurant can be tricky as the menus are not in english. And between Rosie and I we are allergic to everything!! No gluten for Rosie and no dairy for me... and let me remind you, we are in Italy, which is cream based pasta and bread!!! Once we ordered, we had to switch dishes because mine came with cream sauce. I had chicken breast and potatos and Rosie had risotto with shrimp and asparagus.

The next day we headed off to Almafi and Positano. These towns are located on the southern coast of Italy. The roads are literally one small road that is on the side of the cliff and the drivers here are INSANE!! Its like something of a disney ride. You really feel like you might die, but they seem to maneuver with ease. The streets are so narrow so when two buses come upon each other, they have to inch their way so slowly as to make sure not to scrape the sides of their busses. One bus got it's mirror smashed off. All the cars on the side of the road that are parked, always have their mirrors tucked into the side of the car, cause if they didn't, they would be knocked off in a second. The cool thing about these drivers though is they all drive with their window open and they talk to each other with smiles on their faces, and laughs. No road rage here at all!! They communicate with each other, letting people pass, saying ciao as they drive by, it's just so refreshing to see such nice attitudes on the road!

Almafi and Positano are quite similar. Almafi was a bit busier with road traffic than Positano, but other than that, they look the same. Little roads, vibrant purple flowers, and quaint little paths that are like mystery hikes. In Positano we did the same as we did in Capri, we went to the beach and had a dip in the sea. Then we headed out to discover what the area had to offer. We found a great somewhat local restaraunt and had the cutest Italian waiter (who thought we were nuts cause we ordered so weird!) and enjoyed our Positano meal. I had the prociotto (ham) and melon and Rosie had chicken breast and potatos. A safe bet for both of us. Ham and melon you ask? Jared recommended it to me before I left and it's actually quite good and has been on most menus since we got here. It's very thin cut ham and super yummy!!

The night in Positano we heard their was a festival so we ventured on to activities. It was a festival for Saint Andrews. They had nuns walking with statues of St. Andrews, while a man said prayers over a speaker. There was a band and fire works and lots of candy and toy stands. We definitely got some candy and felt sick soon afterward! After a long day of traveling we were home by 11pm, but as I laid in bed, I heard what sounded like bombs. I ran outside in my undies on the patio and there was another fire works show (slightly embarrassed as a couple was sitting right next to our patio and saw me with no pants on)!! These fireworks were massive! It was like our own little fourth of July fire work show right in front of our patio! THANKS POSITANO!

Leaving Positano was another adventure in itself.  We took a bus to a bus stop, where another bus took us to Sorrento.  This bus drive made me super car sick!!  No bueno.  Sorrento is a bigger city than the others but just as cute.  An Italian boy found Rosie and was our guide for the first half of the day, but then he got too leachy and we had to send him on his way!  We enjoyed Sorrento.  I haven't bought anything, but today I bought a cute something for me.  It's an apron with my name on it!!  They sewed it on right there in front of me, and so fast!!  It's in the album :)

We are now in Naples.  It's like New York here.  Messy, loud, muggy, busy, 4 million people live in a very small amount of space!!  Tomorrow we will take the train to Rome and fly to Prague! I am not sure of my internet connections there, but I will try and blog if I can!

I miss you all.  It's been a very surreal trip so far.  I can't believe I was able to leave in the middle of the season.  I am so thankful for having such an amazing staff!!  xoxox

Here's the web album!!!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some pictures of Rome

After another long day in Rome, I am back at my home stay and feeling content.  Here is a photo album of about 30 pictures from the last two days.  Rome
We went to the Vatican City today and I got to see the Sistine Chapel, though I couldn't take pictures.  It's amazing.  Michaelangelo did it in 4 years... and 6 months out of those years he ran away because he didn't like what he was doing and was getting carple tunnel!  He thought the art work was mostly just for the pope who liked grandeur, but what he did was absolutely amazing, considering he wasn't known as a "painter" but as a sculpturist. 
We also went to St. Peters, the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Stairs, and many other little stops along the way.  My feet hurt! ha!

Hope you enjoy the pictures.  Tomorrow is our last day in Rome, and then on Monday, Rosie and I head to the south.  Kyra goes back to the USA tomorrow night.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Bad weather is such a jerk sometimes....

The weather in Skagway has been nothing but gorgeous the last month.  June 23rd, however, I woke, cheerful and excited for my trip... but then I opened my door and stepped outside and instantly my heart sunk.  The clouds were so low you couldn't even see lower lake mountain side.  Of all days, the day I was planning on flying to Italy, Skagway decides to get socked in.  Booo hooo!!
I missed all my connections and after a long day of crying on the phone and begging expedia reps, I got no mercy.  (Expedia is the DEVIL!!!)  I finally got some love from Delta (although they did charge me my first born child) but was able to get re-booked the next morning.  Air excursions got me out to Juneau on time to catch the last flight to Seattle (they also ripped my bag, which I demanded the replace and they agreed!)  Geez... what a day!!
After I arrived in Seattle, Francis Fields, who is staying in my condo this month, graciously came and picked me up so that I could get three good hours of sleep in my own home instead of on the airport floor.  4 am, rise and shine and I was back at the airport heading to New York.  Flight arrived late to New York due to weather, and also a scare call at the gate, as some man left a box behind and made everyone run around the airport screaming frantically that there was a bomb (ok, actually it was just one woman freaking out, but seriously, i felt like i was in a comedy!)
Finally our flight leaves to Italy and I feel relief.  Has anyone ever flown Delta?  I really have no complaints, except one.  The complaint is this:  DING....DING...........................DING.............................DING.
What is DING you ask?  This is the sound that occurs when someone hits their call button to get a flight attendants attention.  The stupid thing about Delta flights is that the call button is down by your leg, and if someone wiggles in their seat, or is larger than their seat, they are constantly hitting it with their outer thigh... making the call button DING noise go off every time it gets hit.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that it went off 23 times in one minute.  23!!!!!!  i finally asked why the ding noise was happening and the flight attendant sounded more annoyed than me...  she explained the location of the call button and also told me she hates it too as it wakes everyone up!  geez... louise!

So I'm finally in Rome, arriving at 8:30am.  I catch my train to the meeting spot to meet Rosie and Kyra, as well as our couch surfing hosts.  They are the nicest couple in all of Italy!!  They have the cutest little house on the outside of Rome, with a gorgeous back yard.  She has an apricot tree and we get to eat as many apricots as we want everday!!  We also have the entire upstairs... our own bathroom and each have a bed to sleep on!!  Have I mentioned that couch surfing is for free!?!?!  Aurora also drops us off at the metro in the morning and picks us up in the evening.  Such nice people!!

I can't upload pictures right now, as I am using my hosts lap top, but I will when I can.  Today we visited the colosseum and the Forum.  All very hold historical sites.  The  Colosseum was amazing.  Its so crazy to think that once upon a time, they killed people for a sport in this place.  They would use their slaves to have a "show", with a parade to display them, and then stick them in the colosseum and watch animals hunt them down to die.  Its just sick!!  The forum was amazing.  Such old buildings showing where Rome once was.  All the old buildings are barely standing, but it was just awesome... and the palace areas were HUGE!!  I will post pictures when I can.

I am exhausted and ready for bed, but knew I needed to blog and let you all know I'm alive and safe!  I'll try and write when I can and hopefully get some pictures up by tomorrow night!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fran DeLisle Cancer Awareness Walk

The Fran DeLisle Cancer Awareness Walk was a success!!  We had over 101 walkers (in a community of 700) and raised just below $10,000.  I raised $749 thanks to all your support!  We had six shuttle buses take us out to Chilkoot Post Lodge where we took our group picture!  With my water, 'Save the Boob's' t-shirt on, I was off on my long walk back to Skagway!
Group picture out at Chilkoot Post Lodge

Walkers (I don't know these people!)

Valerie and I and the gorgeous view we had on our walk!

The Red Onion booth was the best... lots of goodies!!
At this point, Val and I took off running the last mile and arrived at the Elks hungrier than bears!!  There was tons of food and goodies awaiting our arrival.

For those that raised over $250, our names was put into a drawing for prizes.... Temsco helicopter ride, a quilt and framed Breast Cancer Stamps with a poem.  I won one of the frames!

Thank you for all your support!!  The money that was raised goes to preventive care, expenses for those diagnosed with breast cancer and to help fight for a cure!  All your generous donations are truly appreciated!!