Sunday, November 18, 2007

Planes and Trains (but no Automobiles)

Well, maybe a taxi...

Left from Bratislava, Slovakia over a week ago, and am currently in Spain. Barcelona to be exact.

Started out Italy in Bergamo, north of Milan. Ryanair advertised Milan, but after some closer reading, I found that I would actually be north of the city of fashion. No big deal for me, I was more interested in just getting to the country. I did go to see Duomo Church, and it was incredible. There are carved statues on top of several peaks on the outside of the church. Hopefully the pics I took will turn out, but still haven´t found a computer with the ability to upload (nor have I looked hard. Why pay for internet when the hostel has it for free?)

Milan was never a big point of interest for me, so I didn´t stay long before taking a night train to Rome. Night trains are something else. Sleep is possible, but it comes in broken fragments. Every time the train stopped I woke up, and every time it went through a city the lights woke me up. Then there was just the random waking up. And it was all in the sitting position, I was trying to save on cash by only booking a seat, not a sleeper car.

While in Rome I visited the Colosseum (not sure on the spelling of this. Google gives too many options). Who can go to Rome and miss that?? It was a bit smaller than I expected, but still a great site to see. I also saw the Palestine, Vatican City, and the Parthenon. Vatican City was full of tourists, and the line to the Sistine Chapel was about 1,000 people long. Naturally, I didn´t wait in line for it. Not that I don´t have respect for the history of it, but seeing such a thing with a million other people just didn´t interest me in the way I thought it should.

From Rome I was able to fly for about the same price as a train to Sicily. The lack of sleep from Milan to Rome made the flight a more desirable option. So I took the flight. Glad I did too, it gave me a bit more time in Rome, and was much easier on the wits I am supposed to be keeping about me while traveling. My plane landed in Palermo - or at least kinda close to the city of Palermo. It was a 1 hour train ride to get to the central station.

From Palermo I got my first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea. I wish it had been warmer, I was hoping for at least sandals. But it was still a beautiful site, even if windy and chilly. And it was in Palermo I saw my first catacombs...creepy to see dead, mummified people wearing the clothing they would have walked around in during their day. The creepiest for me was the children. No pics allowed though, so I can´t fully share the experience on that one.

While in Sicily I also visited the towns of Marsala and Trapani. I think my favorite thing in Italy (besides the food - all of it) was the way people talked. They are all so animated. Even when they are talking on their cell phones, their entire body is involved in the conversation.

And now I am in Barcelona. Got here by another plane. Sure, the Eurorail pass sounds like a good idea, but I think I have saved money so far by searching my options as I go along. And, France is on strike, so the trains aren´t running through the country right now anyway. Lotta good that would have done me (bummer though, I was thinking of going there before exploring more of Spain).

Barcelona has been fun. The hostel I am in isn´t far from the beach, and the people are friendly. Everyone says Spanish would be good to learn, but turns out they don´t speak that here. Not even close. They call it Catalonian, and I don´t understand a word. But maybe Spanish will be useful later (and I still don´t know much). The pedestrian streets are a good way to pass time, and a visit to the aquarium was super cool. It focused on Mediterranean Sea life. Today I made a trip to a nearby town with a monastery. Lots of hiking around and seeing ruins of what used to be. The trains there were amazing, they go straight up the mountain. The cars are shaped more like parallelograms than rectangles.

I would tell you where I´ll be next, but I still don´t know that myself. Should be there tomorrow though.

1 comment:

Little Red said...

I wish I could have gone with you! Oh well, maybe next time. Of course, I would have missed out on swimming in the ocean in November...hehe. When you visit, we'll have to go swimming.