If there is something you have always wanted to do, somewhere you have always wanted to go but have made excuses as to why you can not do the things that you desire, maybe you have told yourself that you do not deserve it. I am here to, say STOP right there! Go and be a little bit selfish, visit that place, experience the dream! I did and it was one of the best decisions ever!
My dream was to travel, on my own, with no one to answer to, to experience a sense of freedom that I had not experienced in a very long time. To decide what I wanted to and where I wanted to go. So the research began, I googled a few places of interest to me, I had always fancied Italy, the beautiful buildings the amazing history. I booked the flights and apartment for two nights. Now, what was I going to do there? Thankfully I came across this wonderful tour company, Dark Rome tours also known as City Wonders. They had so many different packages at great prices too, I went for the Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii tour, somewhere I had always wanted to go. I started to get excited!
As the days counted down until my flight I was busy explaining to my little boy that mummy was going on a little adventure, he was excited for me, but said he would miss me. I ensured him that I would ring him when I was able to. This made him happy. The main reasons for wanting this time by myself, was to be able to get my head around the last few years previous, a lot had happened, ( I am writing about these experiences in another post) my head had been all over the place. I needed more than ever some self reflection time.
Adventure day arrived, I was all packed, I took a backpack as I was only going to be staying for two nights, it took two trains and a tram to get to the airport. My sense of direction at the best of times is awful so this was an achievement to make it onto the plane! I went with Easy Jet for the first time, they were great! The flight was very chilled out and relaxing and I arrived at Fiumicino airport about 45 minutes from Rome. I now needed to find where I was staying, I got into a taxi with a very young Italian driver, I was in for a shock! Shouting at other drivers, numerous beeping and weaving in and out of the traffic, I needed a stiff drink!! There was somewhat of a language barrier also but thankfully I made it to my apartment….what an apartment!
(All pictures belong to me)
I was met by a lovely Italian lady, she showed me around and made me feel very welcome. I dumped my bag after she had gone, the I decided to go and have a look around the area, I was in a place called Fumicino surrounded by a lovely beach and restaurants that served mainly fish. My first meal was a fish risotto, which was okay but nothing to write home about. I was feeling giddy and excited as the tour I had booked for the next day, a full day of adventure awaited me! One problem…how was I going to get myself to the meeting place which was in Rome? The lady that owned the apartment came to my rescue, She organised everything for me, her friend was a taxi driver so she booked him for me, for both journeys to and from Rome. I was saved and very grateful indeed.
Next morning, up early coffee, quick bite to eat and straight outside to wait for my taxi. The taxi driver spoke great English and to my surprise he drove very safely, after my first experience this was very refreshing. He was great company, the drive was very scenic, lots of historical views. When we arrived in Rome he pointed out the meeting place and handed me his card, he told me one of his colleagues would be picking me up at the agreed time later on that day.
As I got closer to the meeting place I could see many people arriving, there were a few different tours leaving from the same place. Now to figure out which tour I belonged to? Looking for an indication as to where my leader was, I realised that he had not arrived yet, so I began to talk to other people, I met a lovely gent and his best friend, he was disabled, he was helping and encouraging him to keep going and take plenty of rest. They were from America. I met another American young lady and she like myself was travelling alone, we discussed all the benefits that we had found travelling like we were and she agreed that it was a great sense of freedom! The meeting place below:
( I own this picture)
Finally, our guide arrived and checked us in and took us to the awaiting coach. We were off! The first stop was Vesuvius, the guide was amazing! He had a wealth of knowledge and clearly loved his job, passionate, funny, with quirky stories that kept us entertained on the long journey to Vesuvius. We were to hike up to the top and then back down again, it was such a hot day with clear skies, he kept pushing the importance of drinking water, I had never drunk so much water in my life! We were told that the coach driver was an expert at driving up Versuvius, I remember thinking…he has got to be joking?? No, he was not, we made sharp bends and steep hills, he made it look easy! What surprised me the most was actually how many people had made their homes on the volcano, shops too! We arrived and the hike began, water in hand I set of, there were three shops to look out for on the way, when you get to the third you are almost at the top! It was so hot, a major trek too. I powered along excited to get to the top. When I got to the top this is what I saw:
Naples from the top of Vesuvius and the crater ( I own these pictures)
Then we had to come back down, to the meeting spot, this was fun as it was downhill all the way…weee! Then it was time head on to lunch at a fancy Italian restaurant. The tour guide had taken our orders on the way to Vesuvius. Pizza! All the way. At the bottom I met yet another lone woman traveller, I was sensing a theme now! As long as you know the risks then go for it!!
What an achievement, I set out to do something different and quite challenging, I did it!
Please look out for part 2 this will be about the fancy restaurant, Pompeii and my experience there. Thank you for reading part 1 I hope you enjoyed it. Go and live your dream! But then come back and read my blog. I will be posting a new blog every few days.