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Journals from Ireland, National University of Ireland in Galway

2011-04-30 My Italian and Greek Adventure


16 April 2011

This month has certainly flown by, I can’t believe it! Two days ago I got back from spending twelve days traveling throughout Italy and Greece with my roommates.  It was an amazing adventure and we were able to see a lot.  Here is a “taste” of my travel itinerary.

April 2 --> Galway to Dublin Airport to Rome, Italy to Pisa (finally!)

It was a LONG travel day, but completely worth it.  My roommates and I left Galway at around 1:00 am to catch a bus to Dublin for our 6:00 flight to Rome.  By the time we finally made it into Pisa, it was the middle of the afternoon, leaving us just enough time to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, eat dinner, and go to bed early.  Not an overly adventuresome day, but considering we’d been traveling for almost 15 hours it was a good start to our trip.

April 3-5 --> Pisa to Florence

Florence was by far my favorite city in Italy.  It was so beautiful and the people were very friendly.  The first day we went to the Boboli Gardens and spent the majority of the afternoon there.  It was a very relaxing and nice to spend so much time out in the warm sun.  The next day we went to the museum that houses the David and we went inside the Duomo, which is a very large church located in one of the main plazas.  It was very interesting.  For the two nights that we were in Florence, we watched the sunset while sitting at Piazza Michaelangelo, which is at the top of a hill overlooking the city.  It was quite picturesque. 

April 5-6 --> Florence to Venice

Venice was a very interesting city, but I love all of the winding streets and canals of Venice.  The city itself is rather confusing because all of the streets wind around in circles, it feels like, so using a map was almost pointless!  Luckily, there are signs on buildings pointing in directions of places to go.  So the first day we went to San Marco.  It is a huge plaza with all kinds of shops.  Venice was a lovely place, but I can’t imagine staying much more than two days there (which is what we did) because it is so confusing!

April 6-7 --> Venice to Naples (night train)

I took my first overnight train to Naples from Venice, which was about a 10-hour ride.  What an experience!  I shared a sleeper room with my roommate, so I felt very secure because we could lock the door.  The bed I slept on was basically three seats combined with a thin sheet and a pillow.  It was not the most restful night’s sleep, but it was better than sitting up in a chair for 10 hours, which was our other option.  I am not sure if I will take another night train again, but it was a good experience and it got us to our next destination.

April 7-8 --> Naples (Pompeii)

Naples is not the best city, but the primary reason we were there was to visit Pompeii, which was a very interesting and educational excursion.  I really enjoyed getting to see the ancient ruins.

April 8-9 --> Naples to Rome (Overnight in Rome to fly to Athens)

Originally we had intended on spending most of the 8th in Naples, but after realizing how dirty and unappealing the city was we decided to head to Rome early the next morning after visiting Pompeii, giving us time to explore a part of the city.  That day we went to the Pantheon, Piazza Novana, and Campo Dei Fiori, which is an open air market.  I really enjoyed the market because of all the fresh vegetables and fruits.  I had some of the best oranges there.  Piazza Novana was also a lot of fun because of all the street artists there.

April 9-12 --> Rome to Athens, Greece

This trip was my second visit to Athens and I loved it just as much as the first time I went.  Even now, I am still surprised at how large the city is!  At this point in the trip we were pretty exhausted because we had been on the go so much, so Athens was a very relaxed, but enjoyable three days.  We saw the Acropolis and a few other ancient remains – all of which were neat to see.  We also visited the Olympic Stadium, which was huge!  Until I saw it, I had no concept for its size.

April 12-14 --> Athens to Rome to Galway

Our final two days were spent in Rome visiting the sites.  My favorite was probably the Trevi Fountain because it was so peaceful, but the Sistine Chapel and the Coliseum were neat to see as well.  By the end of the twelve days, though, I was ready to be back in Galway, so it was very refreshing to land back in Ireland.

Aside from the exposure to other countries and cultures, I think I learned a lot about how I like to travel, budgeting, and language barriers. Two weeks of traveling was a long time for me, but it was a great experience and I really enjoyed myself. 

Now, I must rest up because my sister comes to visit tomorrow for the week.  It is going to be a lot of fun showing her around Galway and sharing with her my experiences here.


Elizabeth Bond

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