I’m falling behind on my daily posts! I’ve been feeling pretty under the weather these past couple of days, so I’m sorry for the lack of posts. Here’s a little picture recap of what we’ve been doing.
We bought the new version of The Game of Life. I like the older version better, but it’s still fun!
Mom and I went to the market and bought all of these veggies for 1 euro, plus 4 peaches for 50 cents. Can’t beat those prices, and everything is so fresh! These guys were roasted up with olive oil and Italian spices as a side dish one night.
I hope we ate these before ‘End of Dluo’. Whatever that means…
We took a tour of the Bourbon Tunnels. Really, really interesting, the tour company offers three different experiences: the basic walk-through tour, an adventure tour complete with rafting down a part of the aqueduct and zip lining, and a ‘spelunking’ adventure where you are given hard hats, flashlights, and a suit and you can crawl through some of the narrowest parts of the aqueduct. We only did the basic, but I reaally want to go back and try the adventure tour.
That, ladies and gents, is a Reese’s ice cream sandwich. Soooo good, especially when you hit a chunk of peanut butter. love it.
And that pretty much catches us up! For the rest of the day I plan on being parked on the couch with a box of Kleenex next to me, trying to watch America’s Next Top Model. Jealous?
A 5:15 wakeup call courtesy of thunder kicked off yesterday’s odd weather. It was a huge thunderstorm, and while I’m usually all for them, Saturday’s storm actually made me jump a few times. Not the most relaxing way to start your weekend! Fortunately, we had to get up early anyway because we were going on a mini cruise! We had purchased tickets through the USO to take a ferry boat from Castellammare down past Sorrento to Positano and Amalfi. The ferry offers a stop at Positano and a stop at Amalfi and our group (Me, Quin, Blaine) decided to explore Amalfi since Q and I have been to Positano a few times. I didn’t take my camera on the boat because there are swim calls during the ride and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving it unattended on the boat.
We were a little worried when we first started the cruise because it was still raining a bit and sitting in the cabin was making me a little seasick. My brother made friends with our ‘guide’ Roberto, and he wasn’t really feelin’ the cabin either. Luckily the sun came out and we moved to the upper deck, which was a better situation for all.
We stopped for a swim call in between Capri and Positano, which is my favorite part of the cruise. They lower some stairs into the water, but it’s more fun to jump off the platform on the side! The water is so salty, it’s the only place in the world where I can actually back float. We swam around the boat for about half an hour and then hopped back on to continue on our way.
When we got to Amalfi, the first thing we did was tour the church there. It is incredibly beautiful.
It was relatively small so it didn’t take us too long, but it was in amazing condition and the art and architecture of the cathedral really succeeds in moving your soul. After our little tour, we wandered the streets looking for gifts for Blaine’s family and Quin’s girlfriend. Quin succeeded with a cute little ceramic octopus and a citrus perfume, but Blaine didn’t find anything that suited his fancy 😦 Next time!
We only had about 2 hours in the city, so we grabbed a quick granita, which is like a slushie, and then headed back to the harbor to catch our boat. While we were waiting we watched a couple of guys playing water polo in kayaks! I had never seen that before and it was really fun to watch the pickup game.
Our ride home was a little choppier as another wave of rain passed over the boat. The water was rough and sitting under the cabin again made me reaaally uncomfortable. I thought I actually was going to get sea sick, but then the rain stopped and we moved up top again, so I dodged that bullet! Thank goodness. After a 14 hour day and some rough seas, we finally made it back home and I was quite grateful to be sitting on my very stable and unmoving couch.
We watched the movie Stand By Me last night, which Blaine and I had never seen. I really liked it! I’m not sure about Blaine, I think he fell asleep for a bit 😛 But it was a really cute story about four 12 year old boys who were learning about their place in the world and were finding out who they were; your basic coming of age story. It’s based on a book by Stephen King and is a great watch.
Yesterday Blaine and I went on a great adventure. Originally it was going to be me, Quin and Blaine but Q wasn’t feeling too well so he ended up staying at home. I was a little nervous about navigating the city on my own, but we had no problems! We left around 10, walked to the metro, and made it to our first stop sometime between 11 and 11:30. What was our first stop? The Santa Chiara cloisters!
It was a really beautiful area, I’m sure you know by now that I’m a sucker for any green space. The coolest part, though, was the hand painted tiles lining the entire courtyard on the benches and the columns. There were dozens of different scenes and the paint was still so vibrant and cheerful. It was a very peaceful place to be.
We made a quick stop inside the museum and the gift shop. They were neat and there was an archeological area inside the museum where you could see the remains of an old Roman bath, but it wasn’t anything crazy. The courtyard itself definitely stole the show for us.
After taking in the cloisters, we headed towards our next stop: the Underground Naples tour! It was a pretty short walk, but instead of going off my Dad’s directions he had given me the night before (big mistake!) we followed a Google map I had printed. Google took us down a pretty shifty side street. It was covered in graffiti, which isn’t really unusual for Naples, but there were also broken chairs in the middle of the alley and Blaine and I had the pleasure of walking past a man relieving himself in a corner. Welcome to Italy, Blaine!! Needless to say, we hurried through that alley and didn’t take that way back once we were finished.
We grabbed a quick pizza right by the start of the Underground tour and it was deeeelicious! I’m a creature of habit and ordered the eggplant pizza. I can’t get enough of the stuff!
It was fantastic and I ate way too much. We still had a little time to kill after lunch before our tour, so we hopped across the street to get a much needed cappuccino. We asked for a little cocoa on top and it tasted like a full-on chocolate cappuccino. In other words, it was the perfect drink.
Properly fueled, Blaine and I headed to our tour, which we both highly recommend if you’re in Naples! We had a very knowledgable tour guide (she is Scottish but is studying archeology in Naples) and it’s always exciting to be sneaking around underground through little tunnels. You get a history of Naples from when the Greeks founded it up to just after the second World War. There is a planter of flowers in one of the underground aqueducts that is never watered. UV lamps are used and the soil is changed every once in a while, but the plants grow due to the near 100% humidity in the aqueduct. Pretty awesome! I also really enjoyed carrying my little candle through the tiniest tunnel and popping out in a cistern. That was amazing, although it was a tight squeeze at some points!
The tour isn’t all underground, though. We were also taken to an old theater where it is rumored Emperor Nero played a few times! All in all it took a little over an hour and a half and we loved every minute of it. We were pretty tired afterwards and by the time we made it home we were ready to pass out!
I’m back home with my computer charger, so let’s continue with this recap! I left off eating a delicious soup at Hohenzollern Castle. After the snack, we walked around the grounds a little more, taking in a not-too-exciting casemate and some awesome statues around the outside of the castle.
Good ol’ Friedrich Wilhelm III
Once we were finished at the castle we headed to the Ritter Sport Museum! The building was really interesting, but much smaller than I anticipated. There are actually two museums in the same building, one is an art museum and the other is a history museum for Ritter Sport chocolate.
Quin going into what we thought was the museum. Turns out it’s an office building.
Quin going into the actual museum
I was a little worn out from the castle and the museum wasn’t crazy interesting, but it was still fun to go and learn a little bit about the history. Plus you get free samples! They have a mini model of the museum with a factory next door and a little Ritter Sport truck drives around the track, receives a chocolate square from the factory, and delivers the chocolate to you!
Here he comes!
The best part was walking around the chocolate shop! They had a box of chocolates that was 1 meter long, it was ridiculous. I think we walked away with about 7 pounds of chocolate. I better start working out again…
That’s a looot of chocolate
We snacked on our treats as we drove to our next destination: the Wanderplatz! Literally translated to ‘walking space’, it’s a park that has tons of walking, biking, and hiking trails and it was beautiful! Dad wanted to grab a beer at one of the restored mills he’d heard about along the river, so we parked at the top of a paved trail and walked about 1.5 kilometers and then took a dirt path to an old mill-turned-bar. We each grabbed a beer and then sat back and relaxed as we listened to a big group of Germans having a great time next to us and said hey to some of the local dogs. Very relaxing!
Tasty beer 🙂 Mom, Dad, and Quin had a Pils and I had the Paulaner Braun
Then it was time to call it a night and we headed back to the hotel, ate dinner at one of its restaurants, and hit the sheets.
Today started much the same way as yesterday with a hotel breakfast. It was fairly standard but good and filling. After breakfast we quickly suited up and got in the car to head to Hohenzollern Castle for a tour. The ride was about 40 minutes from our hotel, but the drive was very pleasant with all the greenery and little towns along the way. We arrived about 50 minutes early for our tour to give ourselves time to look around and walk to the top of the castle. The drive up the mountain was great, there seemed to be a lot of hiking trails along the way and it would be very easy to spend a whole day there between the trails and the castle tour. Our friends also told us there was a zip line by the castle, but we didn’t see anything about that.
The view of the castle from the road
There is a shuttle bus offered from the parking lot to the castle, but our family decided to walk instead. It was a beautiful walk and the weather was cool, although it was very steep with a lot of steps. It only took us about 15 minutes to hike to the top and it was nice to be surrounded by such lush forest.
Check out this giant snail we saw on our way to the top!
The tour took about an hour and was done very well with a lot of fun extra facts thrown in as well as a good historical outline of the castle and this part of Germany. One of those facts: the castle was actually never lived in, it was just built as a memorial for the family! Parts of the castle are still used for balls and weddings, but to protect the floor you’re given these giant slippers to wear throughout the tour.
We enjoyed the beautiful castle and its amazing views and stopped at the castle restaurant for a quick snack as well.
The sentries’ view from the top
The tour met at the top of these stairs.
Snack at the restaurant: Yummy Gulaschsuppe with apple-cranberry juice. Loved it!
Part 2 and day 4 will have to come later, I forgot to pack my computer charger! 😦