I'm on top of the world!

Aug 6, 2013

The Homestretch: Sailing, Daniel Radcliffe, and Bleeding Through the Streets of Matera. WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE

July 21st-August 6th
     Hey there my fine fellows. Guess who comes home tomorrow? That’s right. It’s me. AND Laura is tagging along. This isn’t my farewell post however; I still have two wonderful weeks to write about, so here they are.
Nico and the boat of bambini.
     Last post left off in my leaving the wonderful city of Venice to go to Santa Maria Di Leuca in the very farthest south part of the heel of the boot of Italy (Well that was a mouthful, huh?). It took all day by train to get to Lecce and then after an hour of exploring that cute little town, another bus took me to Leuca just in time for dinner (you know, at 10 PM). Gabriele, the owner of the sailing school, picked me up from the bus and then drove me to the school where I was immediately hoisted on the shoulders of two crazy Italian men. I quickly learned their names were Nico and Mauro, then I met Gabriele’s wife, Lucia, and the other sailing instructor, Arianna. I also met Ivan, a crazy awesome Frenchman who is sailing the world in a blow up sail boat with a tent on top. The dinner included a lot of accordion, dancing, and general happiness. I later found out they chose to have me because they saw one of my YouTube videos of me being crazy and thought I’d fit in great. So pretty much a GREAT first night.
I LOVE GELATO.
Snorkeling and stuff.
Kayaking in some caves, yo.
     I slept in pretty late the next few mornings, but the first day I went sailing with Gabriele and a couple kids I called V and Fran. Gabriele asked me to steer and use the rudder, but what does an Oklahoma girl know about sailing? We’re completely landlocked! I nearly wrecked us, so he took control and then later attempted to teach me how to use it again, but I was slightly terrified. He also asked if I wanted to try sailing, but I said no because all of the lessons were in Italian and I didn’t want to capsize and be eaten by the jellyfish. I am a GREAT watcher. Heh… heh… So uh, instead, the next day I went Kayaking alone on the sea to some caves on the far side of the town. It was kind of scary since I am afraid of fish and I had never kayaked on the sea before. I nearly got knocked over by a huge wave and then had to bail water with an old sponge, but I lived to tell the tale! Sadly no mermaids, but it’s okay. Next time. Next time.
Sailing races!
     The following day I went sailing again and the following I went snorkeling and saw some really pretty purple fish. I also watched some smaller fish try and eat my feet, but in the end they just settled for the nasty dead skin on them instead. I also had an accident when the waterproof bag I had my camera in wasn’t completely waterproof. No problem though. I put it in some rice and then it was relatively fine. Ish. So everything I’ve told you about Leuca is all fine and dandy, but it was really the people who made the place so great (The mosquitoes are what made it not so great). 
     It was fantastic hanging out with everyone, going to bars, taking night drives, and trying new food (even if the tentacles had visible suckers still. GAG). Almost everyone could speak a bit of English and even though Mauro couldn’t, we still managed to have a few fights conversations with Arianna’s help. 
Sunny Leuca.
     It was a little hard to stay engaged in the conversations sometimes when they spoke in Italian, but I could understand some of it and many times someone would kindly stop the conversation and explain what they were discussing. Even though it was supposed to be a work stay, it was definitely more like a holiday. The only work I really did was wash dishes and make grilled cheese once. It was heaven. Every holiday must come to an end though, and after a glorious week (that really deserves a post to itself), I sadly had to say goodbye at 5 AM when Chiara, a friend of Lucia’s, took me with her to Matera where she works.
Matera! Where they filmed the Passion.
     Matera is a city that has been continuously inhabited for 1700 years. The houses are made of stone and there are hundreds of caves that used to be inhabited as well. Several of the churches are inside caves. In fact, you have seen Matera if you watched The Passion of the Christ. The town was used for filming and I visited the spot where Jesus was crucified in the movie. Unfortunately, I had just gotten rid of my sock tan so I decided to wear flip flops. 
Cave at Sunset.
     I realized about half an hour into my exploration of the place that I had made a bad choice because of the difficult and dangerous terrain. I thought to myself: I better go put on my tennis shoes so I don’t get hurt. I need to be careful. Then I promptly tripped down some stone stairs and split my big toe in half. I had to walk back a half mile with my flip flop full of blood, limping like a cripple and muttering to myself like a mad woman. I utilized my first aid certification on my toe and then met my CouchSurfer, Katia, who just so happened to be studying medicine. We had a good laugh about my idiocy and then she took me back to her place to meet her brother and mother. They were charming people and we had a great night, but only one as I was off to Naples the following day.
Seconds after I wounded myself.
After walking a kilometer back to the first aid.

Pompeii volcano victims.
Mount Vesuvius! The volcano that destroyed volcano.
     My host in Naples was a friend of Katia’s, Davide. During the day he worked, so I would go hang with another CSer named Francesco and during the night I would hang with Davide and have delicious pizza or pasta. The first day, I went to the ruins of Pompeii with Francesco and it was amazing! We even got in free thanks to him. The casts of people were quite unsettling as you could still see the terror on their faces. 
     After Pompei, we went to Fran’s house (which had the most beautiful room I had ever seen; It seriously looked like something out of a castle, with two pianos!) and had a lovely lunch, then went to the Amalfi coast with his sister, Roberta. The next day we stayed in Naples and he showed me Christmas traditions and artisans as well as the fish market. GROSS. The clams squirted me. -__- Davide learned of my castle obsession and took me to a few in town. One was called Elmo. Haha. Elmo. 
The Napoli underground.
     Anyway, the last day, I went with Fran intending to snorkel to the underwater ruins of Baia, but the mean lady didn’t get my reservation, so we didn’t get to go. Instead, we went to the beach and that night we mat Davide for a tour of the underground! It was wonderful! I wanted to wander off. REALLY BAD. But I was good and stayed with the group.
     I should point out, that all this time I was still injured from Matera and from leaning more on the left foot, that big toe developed a horribly painful blister. In turn, I leaned more on the right again and then my feet, which were super dry from all the ocean salt, cracked open in several places in the sole. So I couldn’t walk for a couple days without moderate pain. I pushed through the pain because I HAD to. 
Pompeii and me.
     I couldn’t let that stop me with only a week left. No way. So I left Naples and began my long trek back to England. First I stopped in Milan again and stayed with Darko who I had met last time. We met his friend, Nico, for sushi and a mini tour by scooter. 
Also gelato. Always gelato. But then, after meeting his lovely family, it was time to leave again. I actually told him my train left at 7:45 when it left at 7:25, so he raced me to my train and we barely made it. So, THANK YOU DARKO!! Then I was back in Switzerland: The land of people in parachutes and some of the most beautiful castles in Europe. 
PIZZA! And new glasses.
     But only for two hours and then I was back to Brussels where I helped a bawling girl find a train to Rotterdam after she missed her first one. Then I got lost. Apparently, I was on the completely wrong side of town when I found about 15 policemen outside and asked them for directions. They were very kind and drove me to the bus station, but not before they got lost themselves. At least I felt better about myself after that.
     After once again having no idea where I was (it was a parking garage/ferry boat/mall.I mean come on.You’d be confused too), I FINALLY I made it to England where I then got to wait four hours in a coffee shop for Laura to arrive. Then she did and the reunion was beautiful. Except not really. I said hi and so did she and then we hugged and left the station. We went to her wonderful uncle Adrian’s house and met him and his partner Darren for some dinner and telly and then bed. The following day, I met Paul, my first CS host, again and one of his surfers for some drinks and then it was time. I SAW DANIEL RADCLIFFE IN THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAN AND THEN I MET HIM BY THE STAGE DOOR, GOT MY POSTER SIGNED, PICTURES, I TOUCHED HIS HAND, AND HE SPOKE TO ME. It went like this:
Me: “DAN! HEY DAN! CHRIS RANKIN SAYS HI!” Dan: “Oh does he? Tell him hello back!”
My future husband.
Then I collapsed. Luckily there were so many people that I didn’t actually hit the ground. Truthfully, I had told Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in the HP movies, that I was seeing Dan and did he want me to tell Dan hi for him and Chris said yes, so none of it was a lie. I still can’t think directly about the experience because I’m afraid I’ll lose it. After, Laura and I went to Platform 9 and ¾ for a quick photo shoot in King’s Cross before heading back to Adrian’s place. Then I saw a fox on a fence and skyped Kacy. Now I’m on a train to Birmingham. DANIEL. Sorry. Okay. That’s all for now. I’m too emotional about Dan to continue. WAHHHHHH. DAN!!!!!! More soon! x


He's smiling because he found his one true love. (ME)
Oh Dan. I am ready to get married now.
Russell

3 comments:

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  2. Nice trip :D I'm glad u enjoyed the days together in Pompei and Napoli :)

    Francesco

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