Posts Tagged ‘cold’

We went to see the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus today!

Took the bus to the Catacombs!

Beautiful area above the catacombs

We bought our tickets for 8 euros each, and then waited by the entrance of the catacombs for an English speaking guide. There were a bunch of germans there, lots of italians, a few french people and a bunch of english speaking tourists. Our tour guide went in last.

Now unfortunately, it was forbidden to take pictures inside the catacombs, but let me tell you, it was quite the sight to see. We only explored the 2nd floor (there are 4 levels) and the path we took (about half an hour of walking) only represented 2% of the catacombs. The entire length of the hallways and corridors (its like a labyrinth)  totals 20 kilometers! It is hypothesized that there were 500,000 tombs in these catacombs.

Here’s some information about them:

First page of the pampflet

2nd page of the pampflet

It was really something to see. There were about 7-8 tombs per floor, vertically stacked, and how it worked was they would dig the tunnel, add tombs along the sides, then lower the floor in order to add more tombs. The freshest graves were the deepest – no remains existed however, any that did were removed.

It’s just a field on top, wouldn’t even know its there if not for the fancy gates:

The gates to the Catacombs

Afterward we hopped back on the bus (we’re getting the hang of foreign public transportation!) and headed back to our hostel to pick up our bags. We then took the metro to a regional train station and were off to our Country Club resort we booked (only 20 euros a night!).

We arrived at the station as described in our directions, but saw no shuttle bus to the Country Club. So, we got out our phone GPS and punched in the address. It was a few kilometers away from a train stop… 3 stops ago! So we got back on the train, and went to the stop and followed our GPS. We arrived at the location Google gave us and there was nothing there. We asked a local and she said it was WAAAAY down this street. We started walking. Few kilometers in and we still saw nothing. We called the club and were told to keep walking! Another few kilometers. We asked another local who didn’t speak any english, and she made motions with her hands to indicate it is much much further down this street. At long last we arrived. The place existed! It turns out it was right next to the original train station we got off at. Thank you google. Thank you.

We were shuttled to our “bungalow” and it was surprisingly nice!

The bungalow with 2 bunk beds!

We then took the shuttle bus to the Colombo station (the shuttle we were suppose to take originally instead of walking miles) and headed to the beach. The first Ocean I’ve ever swam in! The Mediterranean sea! Huge waves, quite fun to swim in and ride the waves. Very salty though!

The beach! Covered in black sand, very soft!

Went back to the resort and checked out the local grocery store. We had a dinner of hot dogs. Also bought a kilogram of cookies for 1 euro! They were actually good!

We also bought some alcohol – There was a Discotek that night!

Lemoncello and Sambuca!

We watched several episodes of The Bing Bang Theory (great show) and checked out the Discotek around 11PM. It was empty. We went back to the cabin and watched a few more episodes, and went back again. Still empty. Strange, seeing as we saw lots of people our age earlier in the day…

We rented two 125CC scooters for 45 euros for the day.

Our scooters

On our way to San Gimignano! Did you know there aren't street names in Italy... or easy to see ones anyways...

Now, seeing as we were in Italy, we imagined it would always be hot, so when I asked Heinz if we should bring jackets, he said no.

An hour later on the scooters we were shivering. An hour after that it started to rain. A little chilly to say the least.

Kinda wet.

After winding our way through the country side of Italy (curvy roads everywhere!) we followed city signs to cities on the way to San Gimignano, since the street names google maps gave us were useless.

Beautiful scenery though!

After 3.5 hours we made it to San Gimignano, the city of towers!

San Gimignano!

We climbed the tallest tower for 5 euros – amazing view. For those of you who don’t know, this city is in a well known video game called Assassins Creed II.

Ta da!

Another fun shot

Beautiful city

It was around 4:00pm (we only had an hour or so to visit the city) and we started to hear thunder, so we purchased some rain coats from a souvenir store… the shopkeep didn’t mention they were children’s sizes…

Atleast their waterproof... right?

We started our trip home, leaving at 4:30PM from San Gimignano. We were hopeful, there was a train to Rome for 8 and we were suppose to have the scooters back before that…

An hour later we were still winding around country roads… And it had started to rain. We followed signs to cities in the direction of Pisa, but it was as though we never got any closer. Finally we decided to go on the freeway the FI-PI-LI, which I assumed was the Firenze-Pisa-Livorno highway. It had started to rain heavily and it was a brutal ride. When we got on the highway, it headed to Firenze first (a city east of Pisa) . . . an hour later we made it there. Then we made it onto the exchange to the Pisa highway… 76km away from Pisa (we had seen a sign earlier that said it was only 40km away)… by now it was pouring and extremely cold. We stopped at a gas station but the snack bar had just closed. The staff felt sorry for us though and wadded up paper towel for us to stick in our jackets – the one waitress gave me an actual towel to stuff in my jacket. It actually helped a lot.  They didn’t speak any english by the way.

We rode another hour in the cold windy and freezing rain conditions . . . on a highway, with 125CC scooters. We stopped for gas again and were told that it’s illegal to ride 125CC scooters on the highway (90km limit) but the gas station attendant said they probably wouldn’t notice at night (150CC is the minimum). We went into the attached snack bar and warmed up using the hand driers in the bathroom and bought some high-calorie snacks to keep our energy up. A bag of cookies, a bag of potato chips, and 3 toblerones. The cashier gave us garbage bags and we constructed better rain suits. Then we continued.

Took another few hours, and the rain lightened up a bit. Our makeshift rain suits really helped! We finally made it to Pisa, and rode around for a bit trying to find the small section of town we were familiar with, we hit a stroke of luck and found the market square and made it back to our hotel. We dropped off the scooters and checked our hotel to see if they had any rooms available, they did. Gave us a triple for 30 euros each (same price we paid previously for a double). We dried off a bit, called the scooter rental place and went back into town to get some dinner. We had spaghetti with eggs cream and bacon (it has a name I forget though…). The food never tasted so good.

We made it back to the hotel around 11:00 and collapsed in bed. It had taken 5.5 hours to get home from San Gimignano, in less then ideal conditions…

This is the way I think we ended up going…

All kinds of fail. Not the most direct route by any means...

Remember all pictures can be found on the picasa web albums page under the gallery tab!