Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fire of Vesuvius n Cool blues of Capri

So here goes my next blog entry...this trip was to napoli(naples) and I hadn't expected it to be this good but believe me this was my best trip till now...

To begin with, let me tell you the details of my journey...
bus from camerino to castel-raimondo(20 mins)
train from castel-raimondo to fabriano (35 mins)
train from fabriano to rome (3.5 hrs)
train from rome to naples (2 hrs)

After my last entry, I got a comment that during this trip no INCIDENT(ohhhh sorry ACCIDENT) happened to you. Ensure that during your next trip something interesting happens. True to the word, this trip started with one. I reached castel raimondo well in time to catch my train at 7.25 for fabriano only to discover that the train was 40 mins late...and the situation was so critical for me because that meant I will spent my night at fabriano( a very small place,but bigger than camerino), which was not safe.
So I was just kicking some chairs in the waiting room when there entered a girl .....seeing her I sat down was her who asked me first,"what happened,something wrong?"...I told her my sad story and later found out that she also wanted to go to fabriano ...I was pretty relieved to have company at least till fabriano...she knew a little about INDIA and I was so immersed in the agony of being on the fabriano station for the night that it was quite late when I realized that she was speaking english....oh great...i had met an english speaking gal in italy...and later i found out she was also studying in Camerino only...after talking to her during the journey finally we exchanged phone numbers and she went to her home while I prepared to sleep on the station platform.

I reached Naples next morning and standing outside the railway station I could see garbage strewn around...some walls smelling of urine...beggars around.....ohh it seemed so much like paharganj of italy....I actually felt nostalgic there. When I called up the other guys of my group, they told me that we are going to Capri island ....i thought what a dumb idea.....being in naples and instead of going to Mt. Vesuvius,the inactive volcano which most of us have read of, these silly guys are going to some dumb island. I accepted their choice only to find out that it was one of the most beautiful places that I will ever exotic place to be seemed so untouched by humane degradation. The trip to Capri in itself was wonderful....a 1.5 hr trip on a cruise(pic 1)....This was the first time in my life that I went in the middle of the sea. I went to the tip of the cruise to experience the Titanic feel personally.

In capri, we took a ferry which showed us the whole island and we saw a lots of natural caves...limestone rocks with holes between them, people enjoying a swim in middle of nowhere....the feeling was just exceptional.
Mt Vesuvius from some distance
We went to azurra grotto, named so because its a cave where the water illuminates it to blue color. Even though the cave is dark but is brilliantly illuminated by the light coming through the entrance which is so small that u can enter or exit only during low tides. In case of a high tide, the entrance gets was one of the place one can never forget all his life...just wonderful....
We also saw another cave somewhere up on the hills...and we decided to walk over to dat place only to find later that you can't walk to that need to take a private boat to reach it via sea itself. As we'd already walked for more than a couple of kms so we decided to keep walking. Further ahead, we saw sea somewhere down there and decided to climb down the hill all the way to the sea. Later we realized it to be a risky mistake because of the steep slope and the other reason being that we also had two gals with us....and as it is u can never trust their talent. Out of six of us only two reached down with four quitting midway including meAs we managed to reach back up without anyone getting hurt, even this seemed like a brilliant adventure!!
We decided to sleep at the pebble beach tonight. Before sleeping we dived in the cold sea water at midnight , another first!!!

Next day we were to visit the city of POMPEII, which was covered by the volcanic eruption in 79 A.D. only to be discovered in 1746 , and when the whole city was excavated, dead bodies of people who were covered by the volcanic mud and dusts were discovered in heaps. There were kids sleepin with their mother, even was a dog who died while scrambling to get free of the leash he was tied with....

Crater of Vesuvius
Then we went to d see the crater of the volcano itself which was visible all this time from the distance. We found out that the whole of amalfi coast is volcanic n there is no idea where will be the exact crater of the next eruption but people over there say that it will be a huge eruption this time bcoz as its been a long time since the last eruption....
We ended our trip after seeing some actual napoli stuff near the railway station where a guy was hitting a gal as hard as he could have!!!! and nobody even cared to look at seemed it was quite normal for everyone around. We obviously didn't dare to interfere. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Commercial Capitals: Milan n Frankfurt

Here comes my next post for all you people who were waiting for this...To be true, this trip wasn't full of many accidents or incidents like the earlier ones but it was special because it was my first international trip out of Italy...
I started off my journey at 8.35 from Camerino, having missed the 7.35 bus, but reached just in time to catch my train at 9. For reaching Milan, I was supposed to take 4 trains and this was the first one...On my 3rd train, I travelled for more than an hour along the sea, and this was the first time that I saw the sea in dark. It looked frightening yet wonderful with many big ships also anchored. Finally I reached Bologna Centrale at 3.30 in the night from where I was to take my last train for Milano which was after two hours. As expected, I slept off.
On this journey, I hadnt taken any blanket with me as its quite hot over here nowadays and the place vaccated by it was occupied by a lot of food items to avoid wasting money on eating out. These ideas were given by the miser king, Sushim Gupta, with whom I would be travelling this weekend.
So I had to sleep on the chairs in waiting room this time...but someone who likes to sleep lying down like me can never sleep so easily on those damned chairs, so I couldnt sleep in the room...
I got out and lied down on one bench on the platform, but it was hardly a few minutes of sleep when I was awakened by the shouts of Metallicaaaaaaaa Metallicaaaaa!!!!
When I asked a guy over there, then I came to know that there was a Metallica concert somewhere nearby, and all those guys n gals wearing black clothes and having interesting hairstyles were going for that concert....For one moment I thought of ditching Mr. Gupta, but I couldn't ditch the money that I had spent in my ticket to Milan. So I reached Milan, the fashion capital, at 8 in the morning. This city is very much unlike Italy, the only city to have skyscrapers in the country and many Italians including my professor don't seem to like the city.
When I reached Milan, I called up Anshuman, who is on internship in Milan from IIIT allahbad and he reached there within a few I started off with him from the station. We went to the castle(pic 1) and then left it without wasting anytime to meet a gal, who was doing some fashion diploma in Milan and had met me on Orkut (mind you all she contacted me, not me)....she was supposed to meet me outside Duomo(pic 2), the only place in Milan to see at around 10.30 so I reached duomo at 10.00 and sat there for 2 hours waiting for her but she never came....I WAS DITCHED.
Finally at 12.15, Sushim arrived there with a IITB here were two friends, who had never met even outside a radius of 10 kms of IITD meeting in Milan and who had never gone together outside delhi will be going to frankfurt(germany).....I was relieved to get some company finally after having spent two hours bird-watching at that place...

After giving some rest to the gupta on d stairs outside duomo and drinking some cheap cola that he had brought, we went inside duomo. The duomo was quite beautiful and grand...Then we checked out jersies of almost all the teams and A C MILAN gear in a shop coseby...Then we went to the top of duomo and it was really marvelous up there with the gothic architecture done to the minutest detail in perfection ...There itself, we had our lunch...some bread and one pack of uncooked maggi...

Then we came down and went to that castle again...but thanks to me we walked for more than a km in the wrong direction. Finally after walkin for about 40 mins we reached the castle again where we slept in a lawn at its back for two hours after eating some bread again. We got up in the evening and started searching for some cheap pizza bcoz my dear gupta wanted to taste italian pizza...we tried a lot of shops and finally bought a pizza for 7 euros which I and gupta shared. Next, we went back to the duomo where they had put up a big screen to telecast Italy vs USA that night. This was the first time that I got the real feel of the football world cup...The crowd was awesome...their excitement was awesome...and as I was wearing a t-shirt with ITALIA(italy) written on it, so we were not treated as outsiders...finally the match started and we really enjoyed it a lot watching with such huge audience. After the match finished at 11, we took a metro for the station (i travelled without ticket) from where we took a shuttle bus for the airport to catch our plane to Frankfurt next morning...
On the airport,again all I had was chairs and on chairs i can't sleep...but luckily I got a chair kept in front of a table,on which i slept till morning (i was quite experienced in sleeping with my head down...thanx to our sweet classes in IIT).....Next morning we were going to frankfurt to experience the world cup more closely.

We reached frankfurt 20 minutes ahead of schedule...Tis was the first time i had seen any journey ending ahead of schedule...this is never possible in india!!! There, we took the shuttle bus to reach the city where we were to meet suninder, our senior from IIT. He reached some other station and after wasting a few euros in calling him, we decided to ditch him and started exploring the city...In this city also there was nothing else to see except so many skyscrapers. We started walking in some random direction where we saw a big cathedral until we reached the Rhine river. In the middle of the river, a giant screen was erected on which we saw Brazil play Australia. Even though the entry was free, I ended up paying 4 euros to watch that match because the security people threw the deodorant I had bought from milan in the dustbin. I even tried looking for the dustbin on my way back, but those people didn't allow me to even go near the bins.
Before this match, we slept in the lawn outside the ECB building for 3 hours. After the match we had our dinner in an Indian restaurant there and went back to the station to catch our bus for the airport to fly back to Rome. It was a wonderful experience flying twice in two days. Till sometime back, I dreamed of flying once in my life!!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ancient Cities: Rome & Pisa

After some good responses to my last back here to write one more about my trip this weekend.
Friday was republic day in Italy so I had a three day long weekend and this time the destinations were roma(rome) and Pisa...I left on thursday night from my place at 6.30 in the evening for roma..
Just when I got down at roma station, at that very moment i got a call from maddy saying that they(5 of them out of our group of 7) cant come to roma because they are not getting train I was alone in this new city at 11 in the night....but thanks to my contingency plan, I had the address of a guy of IITB who was interning in roma itself. At midnight, I started searching for his place in a city I knew nothing about not even the language!! After a lot of tough work, I reached some place within the radius of 1 km of his apartment...I knew it was near some hospital and I reached that hospital. After goind around d hospital twice loooking into each n every narrow street for its name...I went into a ristorante(restaurant) and luckily there I met a guy who told me where the street I wanted was...and instantaneously I started moving again powered by the thought of getting a good night's sleep there. Finally i reached his apartment at 2.30 after having walked for more than 4 kms....
Next morning the seventh guy of our touring group reached roma station n called me i met him around 11 and started our roma campaign...we bought a day-pass valid for travelling by metro n bus and took a metro to go to Colloseo(colloseum, pic 6 & 10)....but tragedically d metro didn't stop at colloseo and we reached one station ahead of colloseo...we started walking back to colloseo wen on our way we saw a republica di italia parade...This was nothing compared to what we have in India and was quite boring. Worst part was that the Colloseum was closed because of this. So we visted some other places in that time like foro romano(pic 2 & 5),capitol square(designed by Michaelangelo, pic no. 2). while we were inside the musem at vittoria emauele building(pic 8), it started raining with drops as big as those in india( normally raindrops are much smaller here) so we had to stay in longer. This building was completed in just 26 years and believe me its a magnificent piece of art all the way. After rains subsided, we went to Colloseum to find out that the entry was free thanks to it being Republic Day. Lucky us, saved our 13 euros entry!!!

At this place, gladiators used to fight long back. Thanks to an english guide(who I obviously overheard), I can tell you all about this place. The whole aura of being there was as exciting as it was frightening. It had a capacity of 80000 people at its peak and 100 years before, it must have been a place surely ahead of its time.
After colloseo, we went to fontana di trevi(pic 4)...its a fountain for which people say that u put a coin in it and you'll be able to come back to this place again in life and obviously enuough i didnt put any coin coz I hardly had any extra cash...followed by pantheon(pic 3),wich was a pagan temple converted to a church after the victory of christianity over pagans..This was our last visit for the day. So again the question of dinner n place to sleep came to haunt us....As we couldnt afford to spend around 20 euros for sleeping, we decided to spend our night in waiting room of the railway station. We went there but as in Venice, found out that this too will close at midnight. We had dinner there and remained there till 12. Luckily we showed our tickets and passports to the policemen there and they allowed us to remain inside. This time I was fully prepared. I also had a blanket with me so i rolled myself into that on the platform's floor till morning when we woke up at 6. Trust me it was a sound sleep there after having walked whole day before that.
Next morning, remaining five guys of our group arrived and we went to Vatican today...The queue for Sistine Chapel was more than a km first, we stood in d queue as law-abiding people do, then after realising the actual length of the queue, started jumping it with many Europeans looking at us wid disgrace...but all we cared for was to get into the Capello Sistina....Finally inside, we soon realized that this piece of Michaelangelo's work was more brilliant than what we had heard...He painted the ceiling with ultimate perfection when he was in 30s and though its totally on a plane surface, you can clearly feel the 3-d effect...then came the last supper, painted by him in his 60s and even more brilliant work of art. Thanks to another english guide who we overheard obviously, we were able to appreciate his work with greater understanding. There were also some paintings by Raphael, which were again mesmerizing!!!
Next, we went to St. Peter's basillica(pic 1). This is the place where pope gives mass....but on our way we found roads blocked by the crowd as there was some festival going on at that time and pope was to come there. Hence we couldn't get into the basillica and went to few other places, finally reaching railway station again in the night..this time to take a train to Pisa wich was our destination for next day....
Our train departed from roma at 12.15 in the night. Without any reservation, the result was a few more hours on the floor, thankfully this time inside the warm train compartment...Finally we reached pisa at 3.30 and again went to the waitin room. Even though there were vaccant seats here but its always better to lie down to sleep so we lied on the floor for one more night.....In the morning, we reached  leaning tower of pisa at 8 itself and it was more tilted than it seems in pics... distance between the actual top and the top which exists is 4.5 m and the height of the tower is 52 m...Entry was 13 euros to go to the top and it was more than worth it...At the top,  the floor is tilted in one can even fall down in case of rain if there were no railings..This truly deserves to be among the wonders of the world!!
Next we went to a beach. As I had only seen sandy beaches in movies and this was the first I saw, I was surprised to see just rocks on the beach with hardly any sand spot. It being a sunny day, many many people were sunbathing there. As this was my first beach visit, immediately I jumped into the sea only to realize that the water was quite cold and the salt in it made me quite uncomfortable and I came out almost as quickly as I had gone in.
Then, I started my journey back to my place in hoping to sleep in a proper bed after a long time. As always, I goofed up and ended up oversleeping in the train resulting in reaching ahead of my destination. Final result: One more night on the floor!!!