Windy Isle of Ventotene

I never got to tell you guys about my trip to Ventotene. Well I had found a student travel site with great prices and structured by girls, so everything looked amazing and well planned. Therefore, I decided to give it a try and pick their weekend trip to Ventotene Island. I had to try something simple to see if their other pricier options are worth it.

Therefore it was a 2 hour train trip to Formia and another 2 hour boat trip to the island. We were a Saturday group and there was already a Friday group on the island. My group had 7 chicks all from Jersey (Italy is full of Jersey girls...the "Jersey Shore" arrives) and 1 guy, an Australian. The girls were all on a 1 month summer abroad program and the guy was older. Overall, the girls were a bit of a bore and the guy laughed at all their boring jokes. I thought he wanted to hook with them (again because he laughed at their yawn jokes) but he was just lame-o himself. Anyways, as we were arriving to the island - just like my tone so far, my thoughts on the trip so far were going downhill. Something told me, it was going to suck. (pic 1: the "long" coast beach)

At the island, we had to walk about 1.5 miles (the island is very very small) o sea casi llego al otro lado de la isla! Our little apartments were far from town and for a 0.5 mile, the apartment owner jammed packed us into his 1989 minivan - terrible! At the apartment, we had 45 mins to get ready and head out for a walking tour of the island. My roommates quickly left the apartment and I had to figure out how to get to the meeting point...but I made it! (pic 2: st. stefano island and other volcanic rocks)

Walking tour...lame-o! The "tour guide" had no idea what to talk about. She would say "sooooo this is the beach" (no sh*t sherlock!) , "that over there...is another island we will see tomorrow" (yeah i know, i read the program and you told me like 5 times already), "a hot guy works here, I come here to check him out!" (sounds like you come here too much), "ummmm" (take your time, i'm here till tomorrow), "what is that called? (seriously! you're a tour guide!)" .... ok thanks, there goes my walking tour.

After the walking tour (20 mins later), they tell us to chill out and "get to know" the island or have lunch. we all had lunch, food was good - the only good thing about the trip was the food (wait till u hear about dinner!) - after lunch, i went over to the beach. (pic 3: hot restaurant owner on the left)

I guess the tour company didn't care to take into account that the island is invaded by JELLYFISH! asi que no me puede meter al agua! i love the beach and i was forbidden to go! everyone on the beach was obviously tanning and all the little kids had nets to catch jellyfish; so I had a little girl clean the area and I jumped in for a milli second and got out!

After 30 mins, we had a boat tour of the island. We hopped on and again the tour guide had no idea what to tell us. All you have to do is 'wiki' it! i told her this after i asked if we could scuba dive at the shipwreck - she had no idea what i was talking about. so just FYI:

Wiki: It is the remains of an ancient volcano, and is part of the Pontine Islands. In Roman times it was known as Pandataria and Pandateria. Best known as the island to which the emperor Augustus banished his daughter Julia the Elder in 2 BC, as reaction to her excessive adultery, where she was to spend five years. (Other girls were also exiled here). During WW2, the island also served as home to a 114 man German garrison that defended a key radar station. On the night of September 8, 1943, an American PT Boat silently slipped into Ventotene's harbor and offloaded 46 American Paratroopers. Terrified, the German commander demolished his own positions and weapons, and then surrendered to the weaker American force before realizing his mistake. Ventotene was liberated without a shot being fired at 3 AM September 9, 1943. In July 2009, archaeologists announced the discovery of a "graveyard" of five ancient Roman ships in the deep waters off Ventotene.
(pic 4: spot the jellyfish! - pic 5: Julia the Elder's home)
The boat stopped for a while out at sea and again I jumped into the water for a milli sec so I wouldn't be stung like the others

At night, we had an amazing 4-5 course meal (without dessert grrrrrrrr! enjoy the pics!) and the restaurant quickly turned into "nightclub"- - the  night started great but one girl had to ruin it and close down the club by passing out in the bathroom and everyone thinking she had been slipped a pill but she was only drunk after wine, jager, and 2 screwdrivers. - this is when i think "ayy americanos! learn how to drink!" - this ordeal lasted for more than an hour. at the end of the night it was just me, the aussie, and the 2 tour guides and we continued to party it up ..... at a club that brought me back to San Juan del Sur; it was like I was at Crazy Crab - con los ultimos indios borrachos. LMAO! (pic 6: gnocchi and mussels dinner)

Next day: I had to be at the port at 11am to leave my bags at check out and get on a boat to see the Roman Jacuzzis but I missed it! damn gringa roommates did not wake me up! I ran to the port and as I was going to get on the boat, they told me to leave my bag in check and when i turned around SE FUERON LAS HP! can u believe!?! i was so mad!!!!! - after waiting more than an hour, I had to catch another boat to catch up with them to discover the St. Stefano Island. (pic 7:sunset with girl group, i'm so happy :P)

Wiki: It is dominated by an old prison built by the Bourbons, completed in 1797 and in use until 1965. It has 99 cells 4.50m by 4.20m around a central watch-tower. Built for 600 inmates, it had 800 in 1817 (and 400 on Ventotene). People imprisoned included the anarchist Gaetano Bresci who killed King Umberto I in 1900.

Once I got to the island, I had to walk through the weeds and climb a crapload of stairs! When I got to the top - the group was coming down! NOOOOOO! I only got a few pics of the prison and missed the nameless graveyard (the prisoners imprisoned & buried were never identified). (pic 8: stefano prison)

And this was my trip to Ventotene. Medio lame-o I know. Ni modo, ahora ya se - no viajar con este grupo. 


Not For All Audiences.....

The following content is not for all ages nor eyes. I am not at fault for what you are about to see ....

.... I've been to 2 Italian beaches so far. The men (no matter what age or body type) love the speedo. The women (no matter what age or body type) love the bikinis. I also noticed I can't tan as much as they do. I don't even think they use bronzer...I don't know how they get the 'umpa lumpa' look? Im not saying I wanna be that tan! I'm just wondering. - I know for a fact most fake tan with machines and creams that change their skin tone from morning to sunset. De dia puedo ser blanca y de noche puedo ser naranja. However, I am mostly astounded at the courage most big or wrinkly people have here to flaunt at the beach.


Come On the Train & Ride It (woot woot) !!

Why is it that something always happens to me when I ride the train. My 1st train trip was to Seina - I forgot to validate the ticket and was fined 40 euros on the spot! P*ta! Por suerte andaba riales, I wonder what would have happened if we had no cash because there was no way out of that fine, the ticket guy was unforgiving. (2) When I was going to Milan with my friends, we almost missed our train by a minute! But it was my friends fault, she was late. (3) Then a few weeks ago, I ended up going to Viareggio beach alone after my friends ditched me for their beds. I was on time, walked calmly, and on the train's third stop I quickly realized I forgot to validate my damn ticket - AGAIN! I got off the next stop (por suerte no habia pasado el ticket guy yet) with my bags and luckily there was a validating machine nearby and I was able to check it and get back on! Pfuey! Vaya Suertecita!

(4) Now I arrived 40 minutes before to double check everything, validate my ticket, and pick a great seat - knowing my way around ..... WRONG! I got my ticket, took my time, validated, and asked if this was my train. "It was" ... So I hop on and think "Whoaaaa! This is a fancy train for 16.20 euros! Great comfy seats and my own table. FANCY!" ... but something didn't feel right. So I asked the guy in front of me "I know this is a weird question, but how much did you pay for your ticket?" - "44 euros" he says - "F*ck! Can you help me get my bags down!" ....... damn! I got off just on time sino de cuanto hubiera sido la multa!?  - - Ok. Think! Look at the train departures, which one leaves next? and for my price! - - The next "Regional" train leaves in 1.20 hour. Great! So much for leaving early to enjoy Rome. (After this I arrived safely to Rome and no fine).

(5) My way back was cansadisimo! The ferry leaving Ventotene Island was at 3pm and 2 hours long. From Formia train station to the Rome train station (with an uncomfortable pullout chair) it was another 2 hours. By the way, a guy from tour group was joining me because he was also headed back to Florence. From Ventotene Island to Florence se me pego como chicle! So annoying! - Anyways. This train ride was hot, suffocating, and very tiring. Once we arrived to the Rome train station, we looked for the next (and fastest) train back home to Florence. As we looked and looked on over 10 machines, the only and last train was SOLD OUT! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I cannot stay in Rome! I have class at 9am and I want to be in my bed!  ....... De tanto joder con las maquinas, I eventually find seats in first class for 62 euros (ni modo!) I bought it and ran to the train, I only had 8 minutes left! As I'm hopping on, the train guy says to me "This ticket is for next Sunday" - "Whattttttttttt, Nooooooooooooo! I need to leave now! Pleaseeeeeeeeeeee!" - The other guy even bought the same ticket as me! Wrong day! - I must have talked to 4 different train guys and the train wasn't even full! They told me to stay on the train and just talk to the captain. So I did. Apparently what happened is that the last train doesn't show up on the machine system - Oh Great! Oh the hell was I suppose to know that?! .... pero bueno I was on the train home in a comfy seat. I had to buy a new ticket (and even help the guy buy it porque andaba sin riales).

Man! Clase trip-eo! Now I have to go to the Florence train station and get my money back for the wrong ticket, but I got home (and the guy paid me back as soon as we arrived to Florence) :)

I guess I still haven't caught on the train system, I don't know if I ever will. What can I say, I get too overwhelmed.


Rome, You are One Scary B*tch!

I skipped class on Friday to getaway...I'm tired of Florence! My weekends are short and I can't really travel as much as I wish. So I said, f*ck it! I need to see Rome because it's been 6 months and I still haven't gone. Traveling to and from Rome will have its separate post - you know something ALWAYS happens to me!

I arrived at Rome around 6 and relaxed and settled into my hostal till 7. Yes! HOSTAL! This was my 1st time at a hostal! I picked a female only hostal and it was very very clean and nice! I've always been afraid of hostals ever since the movie, Hostal (obviously, who wasn't freaked out by that movie?) but Thank God it was a great experience. I talked to some of the girls for a while, one was from Holland and told me she just came back from Nicaragua! She was living in Nicaragua for 6 months with a family in Jinotega and Leon. She says she went on a coffee growing and carving trip. I didn't even know they offered that as a travel package! How random! Before I started walking, I posted the last post "Open Book" - the train ride to Rome got me thinking as I stated.

So I started walking at 7pm and headed to Vatican City about 5 subway stops away. Once I was there, it was surreal! I couldn't stop thinking of the Angels & Demons movie. LOL I know me and my movies! I couldn't stop picturing the part when Tom Hanks was jumping in the fountains and running around finding "the signs" LOL - It was also funny to see how they have fences to separate the masses for Mass. They have a VIP seating area (I wonder if you have to pay to sit there?) Asi que ya saben, hay Grama y VIP en el Vaticano ;) .... I was there for about 15 minutes moved onto my next stop.

I got so lost trying to find the Trevi Fountain but I found a 4-way stop that had these sexy Roman gods and goddesses statutes, called Quattro Fontane. It must have taken me 30 minutes to find the Trevi Fountain. I just started following people, it seemed like they were going there. It was incredibly packed with tourists! I was probably there for 20 minutes. Another surreal moment. It was beautiful!  I think it was like 8:30 already, it was amazing. I actually had a senior couple next to me, say to each other "Well here we are babe, in Rome, our second honeymoon and it's been perfect" (then they kissed). They were probably 75 years old. I think I almost cried! It was too sweet! I can't wait to find my husband, find a picture perfect moment at 75 years old and for him to call me babe! ooo000ooo love! (le sigh) 

... anyways! I got a great picture there and started looking for a place to eat not in the Trevi Fountain area because I wasn't getting any service there! I'd look into the restaurants and I guess they thought "Loner, please leave! You won't tip!" .... Eventually, I found a place and same thing. bad service. I had an Indian family next to me and they spent the whole time talking to their waitress in English. When I ordered a beer from her, she was like "What? No No I don't speak English" - WTF! Seriously!? - Once I oredered my food, the calzone's cheese was still cold inside, so I had to tell them to reheat it, GREATTT! Ahora si no te voy a dar propina HP!

As I was walking back to the hostal, I was scared. Rome is kinda scary. Here in Florence, you can walk around at any time and it feels very safe but Rome is dark. I had a guy follow me! No I'm not paranoid! I noticed him following me. So I stopped and walked the other way around, so when I stopped, he stopped and said "yummmm you are so pretty" - GROSS! STALKER! SCARY! - Thank God he kept walking his own way after ... I couldn't stop looking over my shoulder and speed walking.

I didn't do much in Rome. I was leaving the next morning to Ventotene at 6am. I only saw a few places and there is soo much more to see - so I'll be back!

At the hostal, I talked to the girls a little more. I don't understand what these girls do for a living. They all told me, they were just traveling from place to place. De donde sacan el dinero? This hostal was not cheap (25 euros a bed). I was in a room with 5 other girls (bunk beds). One of the girls was like "I've been staying at a 300 euro/night hotel but I decided to stay my last night in a hostal for old times sake" - WTF? 1. How old are you? 2. What do you do for a living? - I didn't ask her though, I thought it would a weird question....I should have though. - - - Man! It was the worst sleep of my life! NO habia aire so I just slept in my undies y me estaba muriendo de calor! Ademas, those 5 chicks were snoring soooooooooooo f*ckinnnnn loudddddddd! and I think one of them was sucking her thumb, she was making the weirdest noise! I tried to peak but she had the covers over her.

so yeah. that was my nite in Rome. I will be back. I missed a lot of sites, I need to go to the Pope's Mass, and go with someone because Rome is scary! It's too dark, lonely in most areas, and dirty. I didn't like it that much. However, I need to see the sites.

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