we could have gone back to Capri and seen things we missed

Al said again, this was his favorite site and he didn't change his mind afterwards.

Damn skippy. Highly recommended!

Italy II: Sorrento and Rome

Arrivederci a Sorrento!

The next day (Wed) was a full on relaxation day. We spent the morning by the pool, and I should mention that yes, I did see a couple of nude, female sunbathers (Lin-Wei of course missed seeing them). It was, however, the bad kind of naked, and not the good kind. It was even the pretty obviously pregnant but still letting them hang out there naked. But I hooked
The pools by which we chilled
up the drinks nonetheless. Lunch and shopping in the city, and then back to the pool for the afternoon. That was a pretty good day, and a rare one indeed on a Bonney vacation.

On Thursday morning we packed all of our stuff, checked out, and roused Sal the angry coughing car one last time for the return trip to Rome. It is about a three hour drive to Rome, where it sprinkled rain a bit, but otherwise was fairly uneventful. We planned a stop at Hadrian's villa before starting the Rome portion of our vacation, but more about that in Part II.

Hadrian's Villa

Model of Emperor Hadrian's Villa
On the road to Rome we made the call to check out Hadrian's villa before dropping the car off in Rome. We did stop at one last AutoGrill for gas and food, and we wondered, "Would this be the last AutoGrill we'd ever stop at, for the rest of our lives?" It was with a certain sense of melancholy that I ate my roadside lasagna and drank my roadside coke. This was, by the way, the only time we had to gas up Sal the angry coughing car. That diesel car got some pretty decent gas mileage, but a full tank came with nearly $100 price tag. That sucked...

Emperor Hadrian built a pretty long wall back in the day, but he built a pretty sweet-ass villa if I do say so myself. About 45 minutes east of Rome, he build a sprawling compound of pleasure palaces, theaters, baths, lakes, and did I mention the pleasure palaces? A ticket purchase, a wrong turn, and yes another hike up a hill finds us in the model room, and that alone is worth the price of admission. The villa looked daunting in the model, and was so in real life.

Ruins at Hadrian's Villa
It took us a couple of hours to explore the grounds, and man, I really really wished I could have seen it in its heyday. But yeah, the only way I would have seen it back then would have been as a Celtic slave digging the artificial lake or bricking up the walls to the baths. But I'm sure that would have been cool as well.

It was cool to see so many structures still standing, and it was interesting to see how pretty much everything was made out of brick. When I thought of Roman times I mostly
Dining Hall on a small island
pictured marble and granite buildings, but all that was just a facade on a brick base. And holy crap did they use a lot of bricks! And once again I was given pause thinking about a society that could build something this grand just disappearing off the face of the Earth...

But enough about the life, universe, and everything. We had a standing invitation to the eternal city, and it was time to get our Roma on!

Coughing, wheezing, Sal was particularly protestant on this final afternoon. I was also starting to sweat on our drive back to the airport car rental station. I needed to return Sal with a full tank of gas, but we had about a 45 minute drive back to the airport. Also, even after weathering the trauma of driving in Sorrento, I was still terrified that our car was going to get hit and we'd be stuck with a huge insurance bill. I should mention that earlier in the summer we were involved in a hit and run, and we had over $1000 damage to the car that we had to pay for, so I was particularly sensitive about this.

But, 45 minutes later, with a full tank of gas (at least according to the fuel gauage) we pulled into the Fiumicino airport avis ramp, and Sal passed with flying colors. Giving him the finge...um, waving goodbye to Sal, we lugged our baggage to the train terminal, got our tickets, and sat with the backpackers waiting for our train to Roma.

To the eternal city!

Copyright (c) The Sticklers 2009