Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Time is Flying!

Times flies when you are having fun!!!
Jessica was right that Sicily is beautiful. We arrived at Mazzara after a long night and full day of travel and sight seeing. The overnight train from Florence to Reggio Calabria was good. I had a couchette all to my self and it had a connecting door to Robbie and Mona’s couchette. We visited until time for bed and each closed our doors for a restful night of slumber. At about 4 am I heard some yelling in the hall and I thought that something had broken because the train slowed to a stop just a minute after that. In the morning, I was told that the yelling came from Robbie who caught a thief coming into their couchette! Robbie jumped down from the top berth and grabbed the guy by the arm. He tried to say that he was just in the wrong car but he had broken the lock on the door and was up to no good. The attendant came running and they made the guy get off the train. All that excitement but the motion of the train lulled me right back to sleep!

We took the cog train up to Taormino for supper and it is so beautiful. We went back up see the Greek Theater the next morning. Next was the Villa Casale in the middle of the island and then Agrigento. It rained and rained and rained in Agrigento but we still walked through the Valley of the Temples.

Palermo was also raining and raining. We went to the Cappucin Church there and I thought that I had walked into a scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean! In this crypt instead of decorating it with the cleaned bones of those dearly departed, they just hang them up on the wall with a rope around their chest!!! Clothes, dried skin and all! It was weird but strangely compelling!

Next was the overnight boat/ferry to Naples and the tour of the Archeological Museum there. The tour guide Giuseppina, also prepared our sack lunches for Pompeii and I have never seen so much food in a sack. We each got a huge sack (not a package, a sack!) of potato chips and a sandwich of about a half a loaf of bread with a fourth a pound of ham!

Overnight in Sorrento for two nights with Capri ( I love Capri!!), worship service with some of the Christians from Naples and Monday morning a bus ride over the most amazing road in the world to Positano, no wait, an even more amazing road came after Amalfi. We took a boat from Positano to Amalfi. Positano is beautiful and we walked from way above the town down 6, 345, 297 steps to the port. Really, I counted every step!!! A boat from Positano to Amalfi, lunch with the cutest, funniest old man serving as the head waiter (when Robbie asked if they had seats for five the little man said, “of course, we have been waiting for you!”). Then that other incredible bus ride over the twistiest, tiniest, windingest road in the world.

Those of you who know Robbie know that he makes friends everywhere he goes and then the new friends name their children after him and want to adopt him…well, there is a sweet family from Vernazza who own the restaurant the HUF group always eats at and he invited Anna (who is 78) and her son Robbie (in his fifties) to go with us to Siciliy. They are so nice and Anna is so sweet. When we said goodbye at the train station last night she had Robbie translate to me that “Beckie and I did not talk with words, but we talked with our eyes!” She is precious!

Many, many funny stories because Mona, Tracy and Beckie were traveling together but one funny, tragic, happy-ending story…. After our train arrived in Florence last night the students went to get on the bus but Robbie, Tracy and I were saying goodbye to Anna and her son and we needed to get out to the villa to be there when the students arrived so we took a taxi (JRS, I know that is a totally ungrammatical sentence but I don’t care!). One of our really sweet girls got on the bus and realized that she had left her purse on the train. She jumped off the bus leaving her suitcase with the others and didn’t even give them a chance to say one would go back with her or anything. So the bus took off and she ran back to the station and jumped on the train to look for her purse…just as the train was pulling out again and leaving for Bologna. She did not find her purse and she was on her way to Bologna with no ticket, no money, no ID, no passport at 10:45 at night. The students forgot to tell me any of this until midnight when she still was not at the villa. No one had heard from her and we had no clue where she was or what was happening. At 12:20 am the phone rang and she said that she was in Bologna in the police station at the train station with no purse but maybe the purse was at the police office in the Florence train station. No trains were headed back to Florence until 4 am and if Tracy drove to Bologna she might not get there until 3 am because the extra car had been loaned out and on and on and on as each bit of news got worse. So, the girl decided to wait in Bologna and take the train back at 4 am. When she got to Florence they told her that they did not have her purse but maybe the one man who was not in the office had her purse and on and on and on! So she rode the bus out to the villa and walked up the hill by herself to arrive at my door at 7:10 am without her purse. I sent her to bed!! When she woke up at about 2:30, she got herself organized and got the photocopy of her passport to either prove she owned the purse if it was found or to start the process of replacing her passport. I just heard the good news that the one man who was not in the office this morning did have her purse!! Jan and Steve, get ready because each HUF group has to have one experience like this!

The other good news is that Barbara Duke has arrive safe and sound. We ate pizza a Gallo’s tonight, cappuccino at Mario’s this afternoon and tomorrow is the tour of Santa Croce, the Bargello and lunch at Del Pennello and an afternoon of strolling around Florence. Life is good!

[I know that I haven’t posted any photos lately but the internet is so slow and it takes so long to upload them…maybe after this next free travel I can catch up!]


At 4:58 PM, Blogger Tammie's Thoughts said...

Tim just walked in the door and he is going to yell at me because I haven't packed on thing to leave for Chicago, but i just had to check your blog first...Sounds like you had a great time and are still having a great time. Love to Robbie and Mona and Jon and Barbara...Can't wait to get there...it's less than a month now!

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Jack R. Shock said...

I'm going to use "couchette" in a sentence no fewer than 5 times today.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Reagan said...

wait. when do you leave for free travel? remember: handelmeyer's mustard. the original. red label. more than one jar, please.

At 4:18 PM, Blogger DCT said...

Your adventures sound wonderful as usual. Everyone asked about you at ArkSHA and I told them you were suffering in Italy. They were very sympathetic. Hope you are having a wonderful time in Munich as I type this. It is a wonderfuf city but to be there with someone who knows it so well is an added bonus. Tell your hosts hello and that we missed them at homecoming as well.

At 6:05 PM, Blogger Jack R. Shock said...

1. Girl looky here. I ate too much at Casa Brava and my couchette is too tight.
2. Did you see that dress that Couchette is wearing today?
3. I forgot to bring my couchette to class. May I borrow yours?
4. Who ate the last doggone couchette?
5. A wasp stung me on my couchette.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Tammie's Thoughts said...

JRS, you are too funny for words! And so creative! I am very ready for Rebecca Jane to write another post. I'm having withdrawals!


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