Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-09-30

Stayed the night in Sorrento

prev - next

From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 21:11:14 +1000 (EST)
Got in to Civitavecchia very early, and on a very busy train to Rome.
There was nowhere for our bags, so we had to hog 2 more seats. Felt a
bit rude, but what else can you do?

In Rome, as everywhere else in Italy, they have Sep 11th phobia, and the
only left luggage option was over a counter (no X-ray though) which was
very expensive (with a long queue). We had no choice though, since we
wanted to see the Vatican.

Kate called home, then we got the metro train to the Vatican (flashing
our Eurail passes and running through before the busy people could look
too closely just in case they weren't actually valid).

Joined a big queue for the library museum, then I ran off to get food
while Kate kept our spot. Food was expensive. The queue moved very fast,
and we had only just finished eating when we got in. Free cloakroom for
bags (x-ray machines first)

We got audioguides (heaps of material, didn't get through it all) which
were fantastic. Really worthwhile. Went through the Egyptian collection
(real live... I mean, real dead mummy). Saw lots of statues, paintings,
frescoes (took ages to hear all about Raphael's paintings). Went
through the Modern Religious Art section - which lots of people skip,
and was actually very good. Finally made it into the very crowded
Sistine Chapel.

We were standing there looking up at all the paintings (recently
restored, and very bright) and listening to the information overload on
our headsets (not to mention the noise of people and cameras doing what
they weren't supposed to be doing) when I noticed a familiar face.
Turned out to be Kate Turner from Jane Franklin Hall, Tas Uni (back in
my old college days). What a coincidence! We looked around a bit more,
then wandered out to chat.

Saw more ornate things (it seems that every Pope needs to make his own
mark on the Vatican. Multiply that by the number of Popes that have
been through, and that's a lot of pretty rooms!), missed the post
office (and I'd been planning to send some Vatican postcards) and
rushed off to St Peter's.

Kate had seen St. Peter's before, and doesn't like the staircase anyway,
so I went up by myself. Great views, and yes, the staircase does lean
over you a lot. It's inside the dome, so has to fit into a very
restricted space.

Back down and rushed off the station to get a train to Naples. We had
already booked a hostel in Sorrento, but couldn't reserve specific beds,
so we wanted to arrive not too late.

Guess what, we were on a slow train again. The signs don't help work out
if it's a fast train, and the information desk was crap. They couldn't
tell us connecting times for the train to Sorrento, and said to just go
to Napoli and work it out.

The train dumped us at a small station on the North, not the main
station, and we had to find out from the non-English speaking staff what
to do next. Wound up catching a metro line across town, then walking to
the little side station that runs to Sorrento. We made it with about 4
minutes to spare for the very last train of the night. Turns out this is
a private line as well, but it's marked in our Eurail guide, and we
refused to pay again. Grumble grumble US$384 each and it doesn't cover
quite a few lines here in Italy (especially in the South).

We got to the hostel about 11pm in the end, after over 5 hours
travelling from Rome. The only beds left were in a very pokey and
over-crowded room, and both top bunks. Kate chose the one next to the
wall, but it had a tilt away from the wall which she didn't realise
until she tried to sleep, so she didn't sleep very well. The showers
were crap, and only one bathroom shared amongst the 8 beds in the room -
not to mention the temperamental hot water supply and the lack of toilet
seat (seems quite common in Italy). The back window opened directly
above the train line, so we were woken up by the early morning trains.
Oh, and it was expensive too. We were very tempted to leave the next
morning (but wanted to see stuff...)

Calendar Diary Places Photos Home [last update Tue Apr 22 01:15:18 2003]