La Viaggiatore Solitaria

Hello, friends. It’s been a while.

I’ve spent the past couple of months traveling and working, and binge-watching Gossip Girl. I could try and give you all the details of the time that’s passed and get you up to speed, but that’s not realistic and I don’t want to. Haha. I will, however, fill you in on my amahzing experience traveling alone in Italy.

First of all, let me just make it clear that I am obsessed. For those of you who were my friends when I returned from my internship in Montana my sophomore year in uni, and then when I returned from studying abroad in Spain my fourth year…I am in that place of obsession. I will not be able to stop talking or dreaming about it until I find my way back to the land of pasta and pizza. And yes, the food was my favorite thing about Italy. I’m not hard to please. Haha.

A diary…

Day 1:
I land in Pisa and get completely lost looking for my hostel. I don’t have mobile internet, so I’m going off of screen shots and written instructions. After getting lost for long enough, I made my way back to the airport to utilize the free wifi. Haha. (By the way, getting lost happens a lot throughout this experience, so I won’t go into detail anymore than this one time.) Anyway, I find the hostel, and get settled in. I attempt to make friends at the hostel’s buffet dinner, and completely fail. It’s fine. I’m sleep deprived, anyway. I decide to call it a night and wake up early for adventuring.

Day 2:
Today, I find the infamous leaning tower, and have a moment of “OH MY GOD, I’M KIND OF A WORLD TRAVELER.” I snap a couple pics and head to find a panini. LIFE. I’m stopped by a man who is asking for signatures for a campaign to help recovering drug addicts. I sign it, because I care about the cause, but as Jessica Day, because I’ve seen Taken. I rush off to catch a train. There were some technical difficulties with my ticket, and I had to wait in a long line. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t make the train on time, but luckily I went to the station super early. I head to my platform and run into Jo! My roomie from UTA! She’s also on her spring break, and traveling through Italy. After lots of hugs and squeals, I am on my way to La Spezia!

I arrive, and get lost again. I can smell the sea in the air and am desperate to find it. I check into the guesthouse, and head to find the city I’ve seen pictures of on Pinterest: Manarola. One of the five towns (Cinque Terre) on this part of the coast. I finally find it and decide I can die at any moment and it would be totally fine. Haha. This is the most beautiful view I’ve seen in my life. A small town with colorful buildings that climb up the coastal hill. Sigh.

Me, Manarola, and an Italian photobomber

Me, Manarola, and an Italian photobomber

I later find my way to a place called Portovenere! It’s another small coastal town that is beautiful. I learn that on bad weather days in the winter, the waves from the sea completely cover the stone church on a hill on the edge of town. So cool.

I make my way back to La Spezia and look for FOOOODDD. Haha. I’m so desperate, I almost settle for a kebab, (which are delicious, by the way. But they’re everywhere in Spain, so it wouldn’t be right, haha,) but I find a small family-run pizza place. I was so tired and wanted to go back to the guesthouse to eat and chill, but they were so friendly, I decided to dine in. The brother of the family offered some of his special rice pie to each of the guests – so nice. So good. I decide to buy some to go. Go home. Sleep.

Day 3:
Today, I am traveling to Florence and Venice.
When I arrive in Florence, it’s raining spaghetti and meatballs. (Hhhaaaaa!) I did not do any research, so I have no idea what to do here. Haha. I find a small diner where I order the real version of Chef Boyardee’s beefaroni, which I learn in Italy they call, “pasta.” Haha. SO GOOD. Then I have some Italian cake…which…if I could remember what it was called, I would seem way cooler and more cultured, but let’s be real. It’s cake and I love it. When I cash out, the waiter gives me a free cannoli!! Ay-oh!

I set out to explore Florence, soaked from head to toe, and the rain keeps coming. I find a place called Alice’s Masks, run by Alice and Agostino. It’s covered wall to wall, ceiling to window in masks of all kinds! It reminds me of a Goosebumps book. But the intercom is playing super jazzy music, so I’m not afraid. Haha. That was pretty cool. I leave to walk around some more, and decide I want to get a tattoo. Haha. But the next opening at the tattoo parlor was when I needed to be getting back to the train station. So. Fate spoke more loudly than spontaneity. Ha.

On to Venice! It’s still raining! Boo! I catch a ferry to my hostel, which is basically a bar/club/restaurant with beds. Haha. The place is bumpin’, and I’m determined to make friends! I settle in and head downstairs for food (sound familiar?) and decide I am Dan Humphrey his freshman year at Saint Jude’s. (For those of you who don’t watch Gossip Girl, this means I’m an outsider. And a lonely boy.) So I decide to pull a Pisa and go to sleep to wake up early and explore Venice.

Day 4:
The next day, I wake up and head downstairs for food. I find a couple of girls who are laughing a lot, but not the kind of laugh that feels like they’re better than you, haha. So I approach them and we become the fastest friends. We spend a lot of time hanging out, and I decide I should go see Venice before I run out of time, and we plan to meet up later for an Easter Dinner. Venice is nice, I guess. Ha. I explore this crazy beautiful place, grab myself a gelato, and head back to the hostel. Sadly, I don’t have time for Easter Dinner. :( I make my way to the bus to the airport, and head back to Spain.

A gondola man in Venice, going through the struggle.

A gondola man in Venice, going through the struggle.

The fun is over, and I have to stay the night in the airport. Haha. But I’m still high from Italy, so I’m in good spirits! By dawn, I’m on the train to the bus station. I grab some snacks, get on the bus, and sleep almost the entire time. Haha.

Bonus: the guys sitting in the seats in front of mine had a total language barrier between them. One was Spanish, and spoke very little English. The other was English and spoke very little Spanish. I listened to them struggle for hours (/slash/ I was sleeping) until I finally chimed in to explain a grammar rule to the English guy. For the rest of the trip, I was their interpreter. It made me feel pretty awesome. Haha. Maybe all those years and student loans weren’t a waste. Hahahahaha…ahhh… *whimper*.

I’m one more bus ride away from my comfy, cozy bed. I finally get back to Caravaca, exhausted and sleep deprived. I shower, make myself comfortable, and eat some pasta while watching Gossip Girl.

Life is good. I am so lucky. And forever grateful.

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