Friday, June 24, 2011

Ponza, Naples, and an Allergic Reaction

We are in Sorrento now! It's a cute little town south of Naples on the Amalfi Coast. It has beautiful views of the ocean and is very charming.  We love our hotel, too! It is one of the cheapest, yet it still has character. It's family-run and has amazing breakfast. We have been in town today, riding a train around and walking the streets. We stopped to get gelato at a famous place that many famous people have visited. It was delicious until Meredith started having an allergic reaction. We all kind of panicked. She is allergic to nuts, so she got mint chocolate chip and coffee ice cream, but apparently nuts got in the gelato and her throat started swelling before she finished the cone. I had to help her out and finish the cone as we sprint-walked to find a "pharmacia"where the Benadryl was 15 Eu ($21), and so we decided to try to find our hotel to get her Benadryl from home. I'm pretty sure we were all saying silent prayers as we sweated our way home from being hot as well as nervous.

Meredith skyped her mom, and decided she didn't need a hospital and just took an antihistamine and is now sleeping. We decided it was the perfect time for an afternoon siesta because it's so hot outside and we are tired from yesterday....

YESTERDAY was crazy. 

We began on the tiny island of Ponza on the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Southern Italy. It was beautiful and calm and peaceful. We felt like we knew just about everyone on the island--the hotel workers, hotel owner, waiter, restaurant owner next door, beach worker, bus driver... Everyone was so friendly and helpful, even though most did not know English. We did a lot of acting, mostly acting out swimming because that was the easiest way to say we were going to the beautiful beach that was just about 300 stairs down from our hotel. 

It was well-worth the walk, but it was a long walk down. 
This was the only sandy beach that we went to. We loved it! The boulder beaches were pretty but the rocks weren't so comfy. We had the best weather we could've asked for.
We stayed in Ponza for just 2 nights before moving on. It was perfect for relaxing after Barcelona, and we were all so glad that we took the time to go over there. (It was a beautiful 3 hour ferry ride away.)

Anyways, we left our sweet hotel, Hotel Ornensia, and crammed our suitcases onto Ponza's public bus where the very friendly bus driver sang to us in Italian. Then we relaxed on the cargo ferry for three hours as we traveled to Formia where we planned catch a train to Naples. After dragging the luggage up about 50 stairs and asking about 6 people for directions to the station, we found it. The crowded (rush hour) train scared all of us because of the rough crowd on board. We were stressed because we couldn't find seats where our luggage would fit, and there were some creepy men in the section by the door where we had to stand with our luggage.

Four seats finally cleared out for Meredith, Mary, and me. They got into the four seats facing each other, then we stacked four bags on top and around us. People stared, but we were happy to be seated. Anne G sat across the aisle from us where she met a middle-aged, Russian woman, who when we asked where she was from, replied with, "How do I look from?" After some clarification, we figured out that she meant, "Where do I look like I'm from?" Her English was better than our Russian, so I'm not making fun, but it was awkward. 

So Ulka, the Russian lady, talked to Anne G the entire rest of the time and she was going to Sorrento as well. So when we got off the train, she ended up "clinging" to us and throwing everything into confusion. The train from Naples to Sorrento was on strike, so she told us that we were going to split a hotel and all stay in one room and then come to Sorrento the next day. She started bossing us around and we really didn't like it, so we had to tell her that we were going to go ahead and come to Sorrento without her. Meanwhile, taxi drivers were mobbing us trying to get us to ride in their cars for way too much money, and we didn't know what to do. 

We arrived safely at our quaint hotel at about 8 or 9 after an hour drive. I was so stressed by that time that we couldn't decide what to eat for dinner, so the waiter ordered a pizza for me. (And it turned out to be great!)

The cute town has this plant everywhere. I think it's the same kind of plant that the Streets
gave me last summer. Wish my thumb was green enough to have one looking like this!

We woke up to a wonderful breakfast and lovely day in Sorrento until we had the allergic reaction, and though her throat isn't swollen any more, Meredith is still not feeling better yet. It's really hot, and that's what I think is making her sick. We may go try to find a place with air conditioning! I'm very thankful for a restful day, but I feel bad that Meredith has to be sick. Say a little prayer for her... We'd like to stay away from the Sorrento hospital.

And a few pictures that I didn't put up last post...

The view from Parc Guell above Barcelona
A boy we didn't really know "fell asleep" on Mary.

At the top of Parc Guell

Mary sitting with the old ladies at the bus stop.

Our yummy Catalynan dish from the Bachelor party. We are broadening our palate.

The Sea Shepherd is docked in Barcelona!

Mary and Meredith with the cute town of Ponza in the background.

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