We are back!

This backpacking trip was a once in a lifetime experience (every time I say that to Mariah, she tells me it’s not because knowing me, I will plan something like this again in a couple of years… I think she is secretly right hehe)! But experiencing this with my brother, sister, and girlfriend, made this a unique time with special memories!
This trip definitely had it’s little downfalls like missing our trains, having no accommodations last minute, sleeping in a 90 degree room and the list goes on BUT we had so many more amazing moments that all those little downfalls now seem funny and they created a memory. We made it through and best of all, we all did it together. It’s not easy to arrange a trip like this where everyone can come and we were lucky enough that at this point in our lives, we were all able to commit to something like this and go on this adventure together.
One thing we missed from home was the entire family! And of course Scarlett, oh my, I missed her so so much! As a welcome home treat, my uncle and mom surprised us with this amazing brunch! What better way to be welcomed home than with food, right? There were fresh cut flowers from our garden on the table and so many other goodies! Thank you Niko for coming up with this idea that made us so happy and thank you mom for helping putting it all together! They really do make a great team!
Now it’s back to real life which is so exciting for me at the moment. Preparing for the start of my career, getting used to no longer being a college student, and finding new hobbies is what my next few months will be looking like!
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Pompeii !

Our last day on this trip has arrived. What better way to spend it than to melt away on the hottest day of history (exaggeration) pretending to be archeologists in Pompeii. We woke up early after our Capri adventure and headed to the train station. Something I’ve realized about Europe is that many of the trains do not have AC. To make it even worse, they get so jammed packed that you’re on top of the people around you while you suffer in the heat. That’s exactly what our train ride to Pompeii looked like. After the horrible train ride, we made it to Pompeii!
The archeological site is right in front of the train station which is very convenient when you’re hot. So we headed in and started to walk around. With our luck, we only picked up the pamphlet which gives you an explanation of each area of the site but we didn’t notice that there was also a map of the site that we could have picked up. So we got lost mid way and had no idea where anything was. After a while, it all started to look alike so we definitely didn’t know where we were going. To make it worse, we were all soooo thirsty. I felt like we were in the middle of a dessert slowly collapsing from dehydration lol we finally found our way around (I think we missed half of the exhibits in the site) and found a cafeteria where we all drank tons of Gatorade and water.
The most intriguing part of this site was the exhibit which showed some of the actual human remains from the volcano eruption. When the volcano erupted, all the people were still in the city and within a few hours, the city was covered in materials from the volcano. The following day, ash came down and suffocated every living thing it encountered.
Archeologist were able to find people’s bodies and animals covered in ash. There is one body of a pregnant woman laying on her belly, another of a dog that was chained so it wasn’t able to run, and another of a person cradling himself. It is so sad to think about how an entire city was destroyed and what happened to the people and animals. It is amazing though to see how much of the original grounds still stand and how many pots and other items were found beneath the debris.
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Because he loves to sneak into pictures!

Because he loves to sneak into pictures!

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Island life- Capri!

Blue grotto! That was the plan for today! We finally got a normal nights rest and woke up at a good time to go to Capri! So we take the train to the port, get a little lost, finally find the port, take an expensive 1 1/2 hour boat ride to Capri, wait in a long line to buy other bus tickets to bring us to the blue grotto and we get to the ticket booth and they tell us NO! The blue grotto is closed because last night there was a storm which made the sea tide higher than allowed to enter the blue grotto. So after all that money and time, we all just stood there trying not to cry because we were sooo disappointed. It really was the only reason we came to capri! And we have been talking about this part of the trip since the beginning.
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Spotted a Greek navy ship!

Spotted a Greek navy ship!


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She was sea sick!

She was sea sick!

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So we had to figure out what to do to make sure our trip to capri was worth it.We sat there for a little debating if we should rent scooters, take a boat that brings us around the island showing us the special landmarks, or rent a little boat for 2 hours that we control ourselves. I don’t know why but we figured the 2 hour self controlled little boat ride would be the safest. None of us know how to sail a boat! Mariah swore she sailed a boat in PA a few years ago but I don’t know about that… Lol
So Dimitri and Mariah were our captains. Mariana could not stop screaming and laughing because she was scared every time we hit a wave or the boat tilted a little too much. I was pretty worried too, I was just hoping we would make it back ok lol so we sailed to the white grotto which is another little famous area of the island. It is a very large white cave that you can swim around. You can probably swim into it if you’re a good swimmer but with today’s tide, it would have been too difficult to swim that far in.
Instead, Dimitri, Mariah and I decided to jump into the water and swim to the steps that lead to the inside of the cave. But in order to get onto the first step, you have to pull yourself out of the water to at least 4 feet above the water level and like flop yourself over this step. I couldn’t do it even if my life depended on it! So Dimitri was already up and he was trying to pull me while I’m scraping away on the rocks every time the waves hit and he’s yelling at me to take his hand and jump up with the next wave. I don’t know what came over me but I was just hanging there like a dead fish getting washed up on shore. Eventually, he helped me get up and I was scratched and bleeding from my legs because of the rocks. When we finally made it up to the cave, It was insane! Mariah and I have been in caves before in the Dominican Republic but this one was soooo much larger! And we were the only ones in it which made it seem even larger!
To complete the adventure, we thought about jumping off the rocks into the water which we had seen some people do earlier. I was the first one to chicken out which is surprising because usually I do things like that but it was just too high and the waves were scary. So I swam back to the boat where Mariana was and we waited and watched to see if Dimitri and Mariah would jump.
Dimitri was the first one to jump! It all seemed like it went great until he swam back to the boat and he was bleeding from his nose!! Apparently the way his face landed in the water, the pressure made him get a cut near his nose so he ended up bleeding. All while this was happening, Mariah was getting ready to jump. She didn’t know what happened to him and I was petrified but he was yelling back at her that she should do it and that it was worth it. So she jumps and all of a sudden, she goes from perfect form to landing on her butt! From the distance she was at, we all knew she was going to be hurt! I started panicking and was about to jump into the water to go save her (as if I am even capable of being a lifeguard) but she popped up and seemed ok! She swam back to the boat and then we realized that she had hurt her shoulder. She has bad shoulders from basketball to begin with so this only made it worse but at least nothing way too serious like a break happened. So they both got hurt but I am proud of both of them for jumping lol BUT I will never let them do that again under my watch!!image
The white grotto

The white grotto

Too much fear in my face

Too much fear in my face


That step is higher than it seems lol

That step is higher than it seems lol


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As if that wasn’t enough adventure, we made it back to the shore and headed to the ticket office to buy tickets for our boat ride back to Naples. It was 5:50pm and we were trying to buy tickets for the 8:00pm boat. With our luck, it was sold out and we were only able to get tickets for the 11:00pm boat. Yayyyy (sarcasm) especially because the metro in Naples stops working at 11:00pm so we had to figure out another way to get back to the apartment once we were back in the city.
We ended up eating dinner and walking around to let the time pass and eventually after hours of adventure, we made it back to the apartment by taking a cab after the boat ride.

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