I am in Cinque Terre, in the town of Riomaggiore, which is at one end of the five towns. My hostel room is actually an apartment that I am sharing with a few other girls and let's just say that it's quite "authentic." Authentic to what I don't quite know, but it's nothing like any hostel I've stayed in so far. There are three flights of steep cement steps to climb and then six beds set-up throughout the apartment. The kitchen and bathroom are functional so that's all that really matters. The free washing that they advertised is not available though because the machine is broken. :( I guess that means I will be hand washing my socks again tonight. The best part is that the internet is free but you have to go down the street and sit in front of a Pizzaria and borrow the wi-fi. So amazing.
It has been raining here quite a bit so parts of the trail through the five towns are closed and only one 20 minute section is open. If the trail is still closed tomorrow I will probably take the train from town to town and just explore each one. Maybe (say a little prayer) the trails will be open and I'll be able to enjoy the view along the path instead of from each town. I'll let you know what happens tomorrow as I sit in the street writing my update.
The rest of this blog was written on the train on my way to town today. It's a bit long as I had a LONG train ride. :)
My failure of the day is that I left food in the fridge of my last hostel. Unfortunately it’s not the first time I have done this, however it is the first time I have left a significant quantity of food. I left the $10 block of cheese that I splurged and bought yesterday as well as a bell pepper and some cream cheese that I was going to enjoy for lunch today. :( Lame. I’m a bit disappointed with myself, but I will survive. It’s just $10 right?
I am on my train heading to Cinque Terre. I’m on the second of four trains that I will need to take. The first took me from Bern to Brig, this one is taking me from Brig to Milan, the third from Milan to La Spezia, and finally a seven minute train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore. Riomaggiore is the town that I will be staying in for two nights while I explore Cinque Terre. I am excited about the hostel there as it is supposed to have free laundry facilities, which I need at the moment.
On Sunday I will leave Cinque Terre and go to Venice. I will stay in Venice for three nights and on Wednesday head to Florence for three nights. After Florence I am off to Greece by ferry. I think I will have to stay one night in the town of Ancona, where the ferry leaves from, but that shouldn’t be too terrible. In Greece I will visit a few towns in the northern area before I go to Istanbul for a few days. After Istanbul I will explore some Greek islands and then move on to the Peloponnese area of Greece and then fly from Athens to Lyon, France on November 25. I will spend two nights in Lyon and then on the 27th train to Paris where I will meet up with Eddie for a week.
I’m quite excited about the next phase of my trip. I have heard nothing but good things about the Cinque Terre area and I already know that I love Venice and Florence. I am excited to return to these cities. It will be a much cooler trip compared to when I was last there in July of 2006 and the temperature was in the high 90’s (Fahrenheit). I have my ticket to go see the statue of David in Florence, which I am quite excited about as well. Then after Italy I get to head to Greece, the whole reason for my trip in the first place. I am hopeful that I will not be disappointed, though it is possible that I will be. I have wanted to visit this country since elementary school and even though I was there for a brief time in 2006, it did not satisfy my desire. So I am returning – hopefully it will be everything I have imagined it to be.
After Greece of course I am excited to see Eddie in Paris. I am also looking forward to going to the Louvre and climbing the Eiffel Tower and all that. After France I am in the home stretch of my trip and just have England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland left. It’ll be a whirlwind of three weeks that will probably be cold and wet but I am excited for these countries as well and am anxious to be in an English speaking place.
It’s hard to believe that I started my journey almost two months ago and that I will be home in two months. I’m on day 60 of my 121 day trip and while the time has gone by fast, this day has also taken plenty of time to get here. It’s funny to me how much I longed for this trip and didn’t believe the day would ever arrive when I would be on it. Now that I am on this adventure it feels like I will be forever traveling and it will never end. Obviously, I know that’s not the case, but there is a part of me that is looking forward to December 23 and a part of me that is dreading the day.
I’m ready to be home in so many ways, but I’m not done with my adventure yet and I know that once I get back home and I look back on my trip it will seem like a brief moment of time that flashed before my eyes. I don’t want to say that I wish I was traveling longer, because I don’t. I think four months is a good period of time for many reasons, but I am sure that come January I will be ready to travel again – just maybe not for such a long period of time and probably not by myself.
In all honesty, I AM loving my trip. I know it probably sounds like I complain a lot, but I know I am seeing things and experiencing things daily that I will never again have the opportunity to. The weight of traveling has just gotten to me in a way that I didn’t anticipate that it would. I was worried about my bag being too heavy, about being lost and confused in each city, and the possibility of feeling threatened or unsafe. So far those have not been real struggles. It’s the comforts of home that I miss, like sleeping in my own bed, being able to do laundry whenever I like, and buying food and not having to think about if I can find a way to cook it and store any leftovers. I do miss friends and family, but the internet helps with that to some extent. Skype, IM, and e-mail are great tools that I am extremely thankful for.
While I am excited for life beyond traveling, I am a little nervous too. I know that I will have about two weeks to catch my breath and enjoy the holidays before I need to start looking for a new job and figuring out what the next step in my life is going to be. At the moment everything is up in the air. I may go back to Seattle, or I may move elsewhere. I am not committed to working in any particular field so the opportunities are fairly wide open to me, but sometimes that makes it harder. I am sure it will all work out and I am trying not to let myself think about that until I get home and have to.
Right now I am on the train going across the Swiss/Italian border and it is beautiful. The hills and mountains and country side are fantastic. We just passed a little village that looks like it was abandoned awhile ago, but the little cottages are so cute and at the same time beautifully old. I wish there was a way to capture everything that I have seen and will see but I know there are moments that I will forget to share and may even forget about myself until I am reminded by something completely random at a later date, if at all. There is just too much to see and do and share.
It has been a grand first half of the adventure for sure. I am sure the second half will be just as great, if not better.