Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Break

Ciao tutti!
I was able to spend about a week with my lovely parentals before they continued forth on their Italian Adventure to the Italian Riviera and Rome. I tried to show them as much of Torino as possible before they had to leave, and I think they enjoyed themselves. I took them to eat great food and see the beautiful sites, but one week wasn't enough, for them to see Torino or for me to see them, but after 7 months of not seeing them it was still good! 2 days after they left Torino to finish celebrating their 30th year anniversary, I went off my own way onto my own adventure that would last 9 days.
Spring break was incredibly exhausting, but the best spring break I've ever had! I chose to go to 3 places... Marrakech, Morocco then to Barcelona, Spain and lastly to Ireland where I stayed in Dublin and visited Wicklow.

Morocco was the craziest place I have ever been to! I have never seen anything like it before... the culture is completely different than any other I have ever seen. I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. And yes I traveled there alone, but no worries because I wasn't alone for one second, except when I went roaming around on  my own for a bit on the first day. After roaming around Marrakech for about 4 hours I had to go back to my hostel and take a nap because of my ridiculous journey to get to there. I had to leave Torino at 11:00 pm to take an 1 and a half hour train to Milan. Then I had to wait at the freezing Milan Central Train Station for 3 hours until the bus came to take me to Bergamo Airport which was a 1 hour trip. Then from Bergamo, I finally flew to Marrakech, and I arrived at about 10 am. My hostel sent a taxi to the airport to pick me up which was awesome, and when I arrived at the hostel, they and their cat Mimi greeted me with mint tea and cookies. They gave me a map and showed me how to get around, and they taught me how I should barter with the locals which saved me a lot of dirham! They were so nice and helpful. So after my nap in my room that I shared with 7 other people, I woke up to hear someone rummaging around in their bags in one of the bunks near mine. We started talking, and then decided to spend the rest of the day together. His name was Peter, and he's from Slovakia, but moved to California for work. I had so much fun with him. He is such a funny guy, and we had great conversations that were very interesting. We both loved taking pictures, and we spent about 2 or 3 hours on a restaurant terrace just taking pictures of the sun setting over the main square as the chaos continued to burst on the streets below us, drums and chants filled the air as we breathed in the smell of curry coming from the street restaurants, watching them fighting with each other for customers to eat at their tables.Peter and I were walking through the street restaurants (which only come up at night) to get to the markets on the other side, and a man literally started pulling me into the restaurant to eat there, but luckily tall, strong Peter saved me. Haha. He was good at that since me being a white, blonde, blue-eyed american I got more  attention than I wanted. Peter and I ate our dinner, continued taking pictures and bought souvenirs until we finally got tired enough and headed back to the hostel a little after midnight, even though the locals were still frantically beating their drums and enchanting their snakes behind us.
       The next morning, Peter and I had our free breakfast at the hostel (including the best coffee ever), and then we had to say goodbye because I was off to a trip to a hike up the mountains to a waterfall, and he would be gone to Egypt by the time I returned. It's sad having to say goodbye to people with whom you get along so well. That day, the hostel had organized the trip, and just myself left to another a hostel to get more people that wanted to go. That's where I met my other two new friends, Natalie from New Zealand and Tom from England. They both live in Seville, Spain as English teachers, and they're roommates. Natalie and I got along so well. She is just as crazy as I am, so we had fun basking in our weirdness. We drove to the waterfall in a van and made a few stops along the way. The first stop was a local woman's house where she made us tea and let us look through her house which was nice, for a summer home since it wasn't really completely inside. Our group sat together on a large sofa drinking tea and talking. We had people from Italy, France and German in our group. It was interesting. Our next stop was at some camels on the side of the road. We were able to ride them, and, of course, there were Moroccans trying to sell us jewelry. The next stop was at a garden where they grow all kinds of herbs to make creams, lotions and oils. It was really cool to see how certain herbs can be used and watching them make everything. The next stop was where we had to cross a river to a blacksmith on the other side. It was alright. Finally we stopped for food, which Natalie, Tom and I found too expensive so we went somewhere else while the wealthy french people ate. Our food was better anyways. After everyone was well replenished, we began our journey up the mountain. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. It took a long time, and I probably would have fallen if it wasn't for our travel guide who was hopping all over the rocks like a spider monkey.The view at the top was breathtaking, and then to get back down, we had to go further up. Natalie and I made it even more fun by singing songs relating to what we were doing like "Top of the world looking down on creation..." "Ooooh, we're halfway there, oooh living on a prayer." ect. ect. Tom enjoyed our voices I'm sure. We all slept on the van ride back because of the effort we exerted throughout the day. Once we returned to the crowded streets of Marrakech, the 3 of us decided to smoke some hookah with the turtles of the hostel and then head over to a restaurant for some happy hour drinks and to see some belly dancing which I involved myself in. I felt like I was swaying my hips in succession with theirs, but I don't think that's really how it looked! Haha. While we were at the restaurant, we decided it would be a good idea to write our own rap, about Morocco. We created our own rap names, and began the lyrics to our Moroccan rap. Soon we decided to go back to their hostel and smoke some more hookah while we finished our rap. Tom ended up going to bed early so it was just Natalie and I finishing our song by ourselves. After we completed it, we recorded it. It is embarrassingly amazing. If anyone wants to see it, just Facebook me and I'll message it to you because I am  not posting it up here. The next day I hung out with 6 students that are studying in Paris. 4 of them are from the states, one from Canada and the other from Australia. They were all super cool, and we went out to eat together and then relaxed at our hostel afterwards smoking some hookah [it's just what you do when you're in Morocco]. All of them but one had to leave in the morning to Casablanca, and one of the 2 girls, Abby, wasn't leaving until a little later, so we hung out until then. And a few hours after she left for Paris did I leave to go to my next stop. Barcelona.

I arrived in Barcelona a little after midnight to my hostel. I didn't really like my hostel in Barcelona. The only thing I really appreciated about it was the fact that they had muffins AND fruit for the included breakfast, which never happens at hostels. I shared a room with 13 other people, but I never really saw any of them because they way the room was set up. Each bed was like it's own little room with boards separating each bed from the other, and they each had curtains as doors. Hostels are how I meet people, so that really messed up my methods, but it was kinda cool in the fact that you have more privacy. The next day, it rained, hard. I went out anyway with my umbrella, but soon I grew tired of the cold water seeping in through my boots, turning my feet numb, and once I found out that there was a hole in my umbrella that slowly dampened my hair I was done with the rain. I couldn't even take any pictures. So I just went back to my hostel after eating some delicious Spanish food, and read off my Nook until the rain stopped hours later and I went back out to take pictures. The next day, I did a lot more. I went to the beach, and did a bus tour of the city which is could since I had no idea where to go. Then I went to the aquarium and the Gaudi house which was the coolest designed houses I have ever seen! So weird yet amazing. I had Paella and Spanish wine for dinner and got a good 2 hours of sleep before I had to take my taxi to the train station to take the bus to the Girona airport for my 6:55 am flight to Dublin.

I got to my ridiculously expensive hotel (at least for me)  in Dublin at about 11 am. It was a really nice hotel with a delicious breakfast! But the only reason why I stayed there was because all hostels were completely booked and my couchsurfing plan didn't fall through as I had hoped. Dublin was really cool even though it was a tad dreary because it rained a bit. On  my second day, I went to Wicklow Mountain National Park.It was so beautiful. I spent 6 hours there roaming around through the lush green trees and flowing chilled rivers. At one point I was walking up a hill, where the trees were so dense that I couldn't see an ounce of light coming trough. And then about 30 feet in front of me along the grass, I saw a large brown furry creature walking towards me, so I immediately turned around and sprinted back down the hill as fast as I could. I have never seen a bear before that wasn't inside a cage. People said there aren't any bears in the park, but I beg to differ! What else could it have been? On the bus back to Dublin I met these two guys from Wisconsin who were really nice, so I was glad to meet more people to hang out with.
       I took a ton of pictures as always once I got back to Dublin, had some fish and chips and visited the Jameson Distillery which was amazing. I got some free whiskey, and became an official whiskey tester according to my certificate. I met a couple from Houston there, and we all had lunch at the distillery accompanied by some whiskey sours. They were really nice and fun to talk to. Both of them worked for the Air force. I went to a club on my second night with some people I met and it was crazy. I just met some more people and danced to the crazy music. It was a blast. The next day rushed by in a flurry of green and Guinness. It seemed as if everyone in the world was in Dublin dressed like leprechauns for St. Patrick's day. The parade was loud and consumed the entire city. I hung out with some people I met the day before and to be honest I couldn't tell you much. It was the best St. Patrick's day, I know that, at least. One of the people I was with let me put my bag at their place so that I didn't have to carry it around with me the whole night. There were tons of bars, pints of beer, loads of singing and a myriad of people! I'm just happy I was able to make it to the bus that took me to the Dublin Airport. I had fallen asleep on bus, and I woke about 6 Italian guys being very loud, which was good so I wouldn't miss my stop. I didn't move when I heard them. I just continued to lay on my bag with my hair covering my face, then I heard them. The guys were speaking in Italian, and they were talking about me. They obviously thought I couldn't understand them. They were taking about if I were pretty or ugly and how they couldn't see me because my face was covered, and they were wondering when I was going to wake up. Then I sit up, and they're all looking at me as I say... "Allora, bella oppure brutto?" Which means, "So, pretty or ugly?" haha. They all freak out and one of them said "Oh! Ha sentito tutti!" "She heard everything!" Haha. It was hilarious. Then I started talking to them until their stop came. Soon I was at the airport. I found a nice cushioned bench on the top floor where I fell asleep before my flight in 5 hours. I woke up a few hours later and saw every other bench occupied by another fellow drunken St. Patrick's Day Celebrator. Also the floors were covered with passed out people dressed in green. It was a long journey back to Torino as I had to fly to Barcelona first then to Milan because it was cheaper that way.

It was such an extraordinary vacation, but I am happy to be back in Torino after being away for so long. I missed my city. Then I thought about when I'm going to have to leave in less than 2 months. I can't believe I have been living here for this long. My roommate and I were just talking about how we feel like this is our life; like this is what we do. I'm going to be so sad to leave Italy, to leave Europe, but then again, I can't wait to see my family and friends again! I miss you all!

Well, I appreciate it if you took your time to read this crazy long post, and I hope you enjoyed it!

1 comment:

  1. You should write a book about your travels. I really enjoyed reading this post even though it was incredibly long. Love you and can’t wait for you to get back home! Mom