So at the last minute, the train schedule changed and we had to take a bus from Florence to Rome and catch the overnight train there. I wish that that wasn’t the case, because on the 4 hour bus ride to Rome, two seats in front of me, this kid randomly threw up on the floor. It was there for almost three hours, and we were all suffocating ourselves in our blankets. We got off at a rest stop to go to the bathroom and get food, and me being the squeamish and stubborn one that I am, refused to get back on the bus until it was cleaned off the floor. So I marched right up to the bus driver and told him so. He cleaned it, and only then did I get back on the bus. The overnight train was a good time. It was my first time on one and I felt like I was in Harry Potter. I was expecting the cart lady to come rolling down the aisles offering us pumpkin pastries at any second.
Lauren and I started this thing, where we talk like detectives and record everything we do by times. For example (and the reason behind us giggling for about 20 minutes in the dark while we were trying to fall asleep on the train) “11:24, we lay down for a snooze.” It’s not funny unless you do it in the detective voice from those old black and white movies. Anyways, we did this the entire trip, and needless to say, everyone was annoyed with it by the end of the trip.
The next morning we were awoken by Francesco and when we opened our cabin door all we saw was ocean. It was beautiful. We got off the train and all got cappuccinos and pastries, and walked to a beautiful garden in Taormina with stones and statues and gorgeous flowers(birds of paradise) and trees. Lauren and I took some immature pictures imitating statues and we found some mating caterpillars. Emily really wanted me to pick one up to take a picture of me with it, and just as I was reaching for it, Mark slaps my hand away and pulls me away and says “Honey, leave them alone, they’re having sex. How would you like it if someone pet you? The sock is on the door, just leave them be”. HAHAHA. About an hour after our morning pastry, Francesco took us to the best bakery where we watched them make canolis in the back kitchen, and then we ate them. It was the best canoli I ever had.
After this we take a bus to the beach and lay out for 4 hours. It was the most relaxing thing ever and it was quite a change actually laying on send rather than rocks. We got back on the bus and drove two hours to Syracusa where our hotel was, checked in, showered, and rested until dinner. These trips take a lot out of me so I went to bed early both nights.
The next day we woke up early, ate breakfast at our hotel and started our walking tour of Syracusa. We went into this cave and this dog was going absolutely crazy barking up at the top and like trying to climb up the cave walls, and then frantically chasing his tale. A picture was taken of the dog, and on several peoples cameras there was an or over the dogs head, so we agreed that a ghost was definitely messing with this dog. Afterwards we went to an amphitheater which was pretty cool and apparently Al Pacino has performed there. Above the amphitheater were caves and waterfalls and apparently people used to “make love” in these caves which looked really uncomfortable but it was weird because it actually looked like the shape of beds were formed in there.
We continued to tour the city, and Francesco was being completely inappropriate the entire time. Mind you this man has to be in his 70’s. He had a friend there that he knew that was helping him chaperone and show us around, and evidently he was gay because Francesco kept telling us to “follow the gay man”. We were in the catacombs which weren’t as cool as in Paris (all the bones were gone in this one), and Francesco lights up a cigarette and then tells us that when we were done taking pictures, to “turn around and follow the gay”. At one point when we were outside, sitting on the steps of the church this ADORABLE little boy, had to have been just about 2, kept running over to us and smiling and flirting and would get soo mad when his dad would pick him up and try to take him away.
The last thing that we did on Saturday was take a boat ride out into the ocean. I’m pretty sure everyone but me and Lauren jumped into the water, climbed a cliff and jumped off. Few had bathing suits. Most jumped in clothes, or underwear. I was satisfied just watching. The highlight of this boatride for me though, was when this poor bird was drowning—I was near tears until the boat driver pulled over and saved it. It made my day. My dinner was terrible. I basically had a plate of cheese. It’s ridiculously hard being a vegetarian over here.
Sunday we went to Noto. I loved the architecture there. It was soo clean and much different from that of Florence or any other place that I’ve been in Italy for that matter. After this we went to the beach again for another 2 hours, ate lunch, and were off to the train station. While we were waiting for our late train (it would be a miracle if a train was ever on time in Italy) I decided to fulfill a bet that I had with Lauren. I bet that Francesco would let me have a puff of his cigarette. She bet that there was no way he would let me. We bet a huge bag of peanut m&m’s because they’re 4 euros here and hard to find. I asked him, and he handed it over. I took a tiny puff and barely had it out of my mouth before pointing at Lauren and jumping around because I just won a bag of M&M’s.
13 more days.