What's happening? Why am I awake? What time is it? Why am I awake at 2 am? What is that noise? Should I get out of bed? Why am I standing out of bed at 2 am? Isn't it 2 am? Shouldn't I be asleep? Where am I? Who am I? Where is that noise coming from? Why can't I see anything? What time is it? Why is that noise happening at 2 am? Who am I? What am I doing here? Is this a fire alarm? Should I go outside? What time is it? Why am I out of bed at 2 am? Where is my shirt? Where are my keys? Why am I awake at 2 am? Where is my keycard? Where's my phone? Why won't this door open? Why is my door locked? What time is it?
Eventually, I made it outside. The fire alarm went off at 2 in the morning in my building on a night where I was only going to get 3 hours of sleep anyway because I had to catch a 4 am bus for a 4:30 train because I had (stupidly!) purchased tickets for a plane that required me to be at the airport before the Underground began running. Which reminds me, I don't understand why they can't run the tubes all night. I feel like they'd get some use, this city is huge.
As you may have already noticed, "Where is my sweatshirt?" or "Won't it be insanely cold outside?" never occurred to me. Indeed, it was freezing outside but I mean it's not like we had to stand out there for half an hour before the fire trucks showed up. Oh, wait. Yes, it was exactly like that. With a response time like that it's no wonder this city has had some trouble with fire in its past. Regardless, I was back in bed around 2:35 and pretty much sat there trying to fall back asleep until my alarm went off at 3 at which point I hopped up, took a shower, shaved, checked that I had everything packed, and rushed out the door because in just a few hours I was going to be in ITALY!
The trip over went very well. I caught a bus to London Victoria where I hopped on the first Gatwick Express of the day (4:30) and in half an hour I was at the airport. Getting through security was very easy and quick, and I had more than enough time to grab some breakfast and wander through the Duty Free shops. Gatwick is a fairly nice airport, I enjoyed wandering around and looking at everything.
My gate was supposed to open at 6:10. For whatever reason the gate number wasn't announced until about 6:18. The tickets said that they gate would be closing at 6:25 so you can probably understand why a group of people standing in front of the departures board suddenly began to sprint toward the gate. Check-in was easy and I was quickly put on a bus that took us out on the tarmac to the plane. I got to pick my own seat on the plane, which seemed normal to everyone but me. I mostly slept on the flight over but woke up in time to see Napoli out the window.
In later posts I will bitch like never before about Italian transportation (Actually, I'll begin to do so in the next paragraph) but I have to give them credit here. My plane stopped on the tarmac at 10:38, I was in line for customs by 10:45, through customs by 10:55 and on an 11:00 bus to Sorrento with time to spare. That is absolutely amazing, and a miracle in my opinion.
I didn't feel the greatest on the bus ride but I chalked that up to not having eaten much. The bus dropped people off at Pompeii so I got a close up view of Mt. Vesuvius which was really cool. Once we got off the highway it was really cool to see the small italian towns along the coast, though I began to feel even more nauseous at this point. Eventually I just leaned back, put some calming music on my iPod, closed my eyes, steadied my breathing, and waited for the trip to end. We'll refer to this as "assuming the position" from now on. Occasionally I would un-assume the position and look out at the beautiful coast but that would just make it even more necessary to assume the position.
After about an hour and a half we made it to Sorrento. Sorrento has placed Informazione booths at various points in the city which was really nice because it made it easy to figure out your way around town. They even had an information booklet you could take that had a map. I made my way from the Bus/Train station to the coast where I was planning on catching a ferry to Amalfi. It ends up that they decided not to run a ferry to Amalfi that day. No reason, they just didn't have one. Okay, informazione booth, how can I get to Amalfi? Oh, a bus? You mean from the bus stop I just spent 30 minutes walking to here from? Where the other informazione booth told me that I could catch a ferry to Amalfi at the harbor? Okay.
Before heading back to the bus stop I decided to stop and get some food. After hearing Ann talk about it all summer I decided I had to have an insalata caprese and I was so glad I did. It was amazing. The mozzarella was unlike anything I've had back home. There were some olives on it that were a bit overwhelming, the taste was very strong, but other than that it was great. I also had a caffè freddo which was similarly fantastic. Again, it had a very powerful taste but I really liked it. I'll have to start making that back home.
So filled up, and WIDE awake, I headed back up to the bus stop where after about a half hour wait I caught the bus to Amalfi via Positano. A quick note about the busses. These drivers are the most talented drivers on earth. I don't know why they aren't Formula 1 drivers or something, maybe the thrill of Formula 1 just isn't enough for them so they decided to drive busses along the Amalfi Coast. The roads are barely wide enough for 2 cars at the widest and there are hairpin turns unlike anything I had ever seen before. Before most turns the driver will honk the horn before taking over the entire road in order to make the turn. More than once (more than 50 times actually) the bus would be within a centimeter of scratching against a car or another bus. But, aside from the war raging inside my stomach, there never was any problem with the bus rides. They all got me to my destination safely and sometimes even on time.
So anyway, I boarded the bus in Sorrento, assumed the position, and was on my way to Amalfi.
Part 2 will be posted at noon on Wednesday.