Published: October 31st 2008October 30th 2008
Arrived in Ljubljana! Man... this trip is really straining me in every possible way. Financially, emotionally, physically... In all my other travels, nothing big usually goes wrong... on this one, its ALL going wrong! The only consolation is all the cool stuff I'm seeing, on the occassaions that I am actually able to see something!
Rome was incredible! There was so much richness and history there, it was almost palpable. You couldn't turn around and not see a beautiful piece of architecture... or a moped scooter thing, lol. I went to the Coloseum, Pantheon, St. Peter's, Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Trevi fountain. Al the usual spots. Sistine was amazing... not at all like I had thought that it was going to be! I had always thought that the painting of God and Adam was really big and covered the entire ceiling. Incorrect! The ceiling is acutally an amalgamation of all these other amazing Michelangelo works! I wonder why they don't talk about those more? You really have to search in order to find the famous one!
A place that I went to that is not a commonly visited place is this place called the Bone Church! These friars went around and exhumed over 4000 bodies of holy men to make the little niches and decorations that thez placed whole bodies in.... little creepy, but it said that it was for religious and biblical reasons? Whatev!
I also went around and checked out the places mentioned in Dan Brown's book "Angels and Demons"... wouldn't you know that half were under construction? But Im planning on re-reading the book when I get home so I can get another feel of it. Hopefully his details won't be as wrong as in the Da Vinci Code :)
Probably the worst thing that has happened to me on this trip (yes, even worse than the passport thing!) was my trip to Pompeii. I woke up at about 8:40 in order to knock out the Spanish steps and a few other hot spots I had missed out on the day before because of the rain, and went to get my pics burned onto a CD since I only had 7 pics left, lol. The lady told me it would take about 10 mins... so I was there for an hour and 45 mins!! I was on the internet some of that time, but they were having problems with the comp and were actually taking it apart in order to try and fix it. It was almost 2 by this tiem and I'm watching my time at Pompeii slowly tick away with every turn of the second hand. I finally just got my card back and said that I would go somewhere else.... I get to the train station about 5 past 2 and saw that there was a train leaving at 2:20. Awesome! Naples is only 1.5 hours away! Well... that is, only if the 2:20 train wasnt cancelled! And then the next one was at 3:30... which was delayed!! And thent he train broke down on the way!! So I ended up getting into Naples at 5:58... I ran over to Info to ask them when Pompeii closed (I had checked my train sched and it had trains coming back until about 10 at night, and I had thought that I remembered it saying that there were night tours) and she said 6.... I had a lot of bad words and feelings swirling around right about then. I felt numb. I had SO wanted to see Pompeii... and thru things that were completely out of control, my number one place I wanted to visit this trip... was taken away from me. I couldn't go the next day because I was leaving for Slovenia and Naples is really far down the boot. I saw some dogs and thought that might cheer me up a little bit and pet two of them and then thought about wandering around Naples for a little since I was there. One of the dogs followed me! The other kept pressing its head on my legs... I think they were homeless, but they were very sweet.
The dog actully followed me out into the streets of Naples, but it was dark and threatening to rain, and I hadnt heard anything good about Naples and I was pretty depressed so I decided to just go on back to Rome so I wouldnt get back too late. I also forgot to mention tha ton the way down it turned out I had to pay a reservation fee of about 20 bucks, but the little man let me just pay 10 which was nice.... So... I basically paid 10 bucks to go play with some dogs in Naples. A completely wasted day. And when you're only travelling for 3 weeks... a day is HUGE! On the train back was when I got hit REALLY hard with feelins of desperation, loneliness and self-questioning. Everything was going so awfully! Nothing had gone right! I almost packed it in right there to go back to Germany for a little bit. My budget was completely shot and I had to reevaluate it to see if I even had enough money to sleep and eat the rest of hte time, let alone buy souvenirs or get into any museums, and I wondered if it was even worth continuing the trip if I was just wasting money because I was so unhappy. And then loneliness because changing trains in a country where you dont speak the language is really scary. I got on the wrong train and got off at a really desolate spot by myself... situations like that arent as bad if you had someone with you too! Like, if I had to spend the night in a train station, it would be nice knowing I had a buddy that could watch my bags while Iw ent to the bathroom, or someone to lean on so we could guard our bags. And then I thought maybe I'm not the intrepid traveller I always thought I was destined to be. It really was my darkest hour.
I sent an email of what was probably laced excessively and pathetically with self doubt and pity, but I had a few people rise magnificently. They reminded me that bad things do happen when you travel... it just sucks that its all happening at once to me, but I suppose thats to be expected since I usually have good trips. So I'm trying to stay positive and hoping that all this will only add to me ethos as a traveller! And even though I am hemoraging money at an alarming rate... I'm still over here, seeing all this stuff, and doing something that most people only dream about.
But a big thank you to Hermann for everything he has been doing for me and his words of encouragement at at time when I was about to call it quits :)