Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The End of the Trip

Today we came to a different hotel, but in the same city of Sorrento. The new hotel, Johanna Park Hotel is slightly outside of the city and has a shuttle to the city. They were nice enough to bring their shuttle to pick us up at our last hotel so we didn't have to carry the luggage everywhere. However, their "shuttle" looked like this. It was interesting fitting four people with four big bags into this car.

We had to carry two suitcases on top of us in the car. My suitcase wasn't small...
So anyways, our shuttle driver told us that we just absolutely had to go to Positano, a neighboring city about 30 minutes away by SITA bus. He said the bus ticket was only 7,20 euro round-trip, and there was a beach there and it was gorgeous. We had been wanting to go anyways, so we decided to do it. The bus picked us up right outside of the hotel, and we packed in through the middle door of the bus. There were already about 20 people standing in the aisle of the coach bus, so we joined them standing in the stairs for the middle door of the bus. Before this, I thought that I was becoming used to the smelly people over there. But no... The man next to us smelled so badly that I gagged a few times. He was up against me because there was no room and he had his arms up holding onto the rails. All four of us got motion sickness I think, and then we started going on these cliffs.

The last 20 minutes of the drive was on a road like this, with the bus driver gassing it on the straight parts and going way too fast on the sharp curves with the bus tilting, looking like it was going to flip. Some say the drive was beautiful, I say the drive almost made me have my first ever anxiety attack, and I'm used to driving near cliffs on a mountain. Nonetheless, we made it there safely.

We loved Positano. It's an adorable, colorful city on a hill/cliff with the beach at the bottom. There are cute shops, lots of boats, and many tourists. The houses and restaurants are all stacked on top of one another on the hill. It was really neat and had tons of steps.

The beach was made of pebbles instead of sand, which brought a nice twist to it. I liked lying on the pebbles, but I didn't like walking on them because they got into my shoes and were super hot, as they were grayish-black.

After a nice day of laying out and reading, I began to get nervous about the drive home, but I was comforted by the fact that most of the time, we would not be on the same side of the road as the cliff because we'd be in the opposite lane. We waited about an hour for the bus to come, and when we got on, there was just about no room for us.

The driver made Aunt Anne G. stand in the stair well in the front of the bus, right next to him, and he made her hold on to the front rail with two hands. She kind of looked like she thought she was driving or something. We couldn't stop laughing about it because she was also nervous about the ride, and there was no way she could avoid looking at the scary road unless she closed her eyes. I was the first person standing in the aisle, right behind Anne G. and the driver, also ironic because I could see everything and would be the first person through the windshield if anything happened.

But this time, we had a good bus driver who beeped before each blind turn so that oncoming cars wouldn't hit us, and he went slow around curves. He couldn't understand English and was very serious about driving, but sometimes I threw out the word "Bueno" just so he knew I approved and would keep up the caution.

We went up part of a mountain, and then got to the top and began going down. I watched carefully as the driver shift into second gear, and I was glad to see this in case the brakes went out. A few minutes later as we were on the decline, the driver sniffed and looked around. Then Anne G. sniffed and said, "Do you smell the brakes?" I shrugged. Then the driver sniffed, looked in his rear mirror, and started cursing in English. I thought he was mad at Anne G for saying his brakes were out, but he slammed on the brakes, opened the doors, and pushed me and Anne G out the door (without my purse with wallet and passport) before grabbing the fire extinguisher.

I quickly noticed smoke coming out the back of the bus and freaked out about it blowing up and my passport being in there. I was in a bind because I know you're never supposed to go back into a fire, but I thought I'd be stuck there without the passport so I started yelling at the people who were rushing out of the bus to grab my bag. Someone did, and I couldn't tell you the first thing about what the person looked like, I just ran away from the bus in case of an explosion.

We called our hotel shuttle to pick us up because I did not want to ride another bus the rest of the way down the mountain, and we knew that our hotel owner would be nice enough to send someone to get us.  A man came and got us in a different "shuttle."

I was just thankful it wasn't a bus!

So anyways, we got to the hotel and took hot baths and we to sleep soon after so that we could wake up at 5 the next morning for a bus to Rome (which never came). We ended up having to ride a train at 7:50 and then finally making it to Rome by 2 in the afternoon. It was okay though, and I was secretly glad that it was a train instead of a bus, even if it took an extra 4 hours.

In front of the Trevi fountain
We spent the rest of the day in Rome seeing the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, shopping, eating, and searching for good gelato. It was a nice day with a nice hotel and a nice dinner and amazing gelato from a place called Venchi.

Our last Italian dinner
The next morning we were up and at'em and ready to come home! It was a wonderful trip, but by the end I was ready to come home to the US and stop worrying about the conversion rate between dollars to euros (one euro is about $1.50, so it's terrible). Uncle Paul picked us up in a very roomy Sequoyah SUV, and I thought, this is why I love being home... There is space!

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