Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Home Sweet Castiglion!

AA: This past Monday a small group of us ventured out to the town of Positano. Tradition says that city was founded by the Greek god Poseidon as a tribute to the nymph Pasitea whom he was madly in love with.  The coming and going of getting here is an interesting story in of itself, but our experience in town was incredible!
We got an early start to the day and made it to the train station in St. Agnello to take a short train to Sorrento. We made that train with no trouble at all, but once we got there we had to frantically look for the next bus that was supposed to leave just a few minutes later! We found the bus, only to realize it was packed and we had to wait for the next bus to come around. We made it on the bus and luckily I fell asleep, cause apparently the bus ride to Positano was on a pretty windy road that got insanely close to the cliffs that dropped off into nothing. I'm not the biggest fan of heights so I was thankful that I wasn't aware of what was going on around me! One of my friends woke me up once we arrived and we hopped off without any plans, sense of direction, or a place to put our big bags we had taken from Rome. We spent a few minutes on the side of the road collecting ourselves, but as we started walking it seemed as though a beacon of light shone upon the Brikette hostel at the top of the next hill. I walked in and the friendly British man working the counter didn't hesitate to offer a place for us to drop our load, grab some wifi and a cold water too!!
  We mainly spent our time walking around and enjoying the town with the occasional stop for pizza and gelato! The landscape was breathtaking! The whole city sits on the sides of the cliffs that drop down into the ocean. The design of the town appeared to be houses on houses stacked on top of one another. It was quite impressive, but the amount of greenery that overflowed on the tops and sides of the buildings was really fascinating! Sometimes Bougainville would cover an entire facade!  
In addition to the mass amounts of plants that overtook the walls and rooftops, Positano also had a lot of small potted plants that were scattered across the walkways and walls. I could tell that the town took pride in the natural beauty and paid a lot of attention to the little details that helped boost the overall aesthetics  as well.
We had planed perfectly which combination of buses and trains would get us back home to Castiglion Fiorentino before bedtime, but the plan quickly turned into a dream. Once we climbed back up the giant hills, the first bus driver drove right past us at our stop, even as he looked at us silly Americans frantically trying to wave him down. We were able to catch the next bus around, but we had only minutes to purchase tickets and get on the next train from Sorrento to Naples. Of course the train from Sorrento was running late by the time we arrived in Naples, so we walked very swiftly up the stairs through the station, which is know world wide for being one of the worst places for pickpocket-ers, grabbed tickets for our next train to Rome and made it with what we thought were only seconds to spare!  Actually, the train ended up sitting there for another 30 minutes before pulling out of the station. We calculated the times and the train that was supposed to get us from Rome to Castiglion would leave at the exact time that our train was pulling in. We weren't going down without a fight though! It was as though we were in a movie, we  were practically bursting out the seams of the train, we jumped out the doors and ran down the never ending platform. We miraculously ran into (literally) a few of our other friends that were a part of our group who were coming from Pompeii and  were also running as if our lives depended on it to the train schedule board that determined our fate... Platform 2est... None of us new what that even meant, but we sprinted in a random direction anyways! This is the part where we were supposed to barely catch the train just in the nick of time and make it back to Casiglion happily ever after, but plot twist!!! ... No train... No where in sight, only a few locals that I'm sure we're laughing hysterically inside at the sight of 11 Americanos in utter despair.
After we finish catching our breath and drying our tears, we do the only thing we know how... Call Dr. Lombardini!!! Surely he can save the day! Unfortunately, there wasn't much he could do on his end, so we decided to divide and conquer! Some went to the bathroom, some got food for the first time that day and some worked some magic and were able to score us tickets on the next train to Arezzo for no extra charge. The only set back was it was going to pull in at 12:45am and we would need to find a cab from there to Castiglion.
So, two buses, four trains and three cab drives later we made it back to Castiglion Fiorentino, home sweet home!!
Despite all of the craziness of the journey, Positano is easily one of my favorite towns that I have visited so far, even though it didn't have as much historical significance as Siena, Florence  or Rome, it still has the most beautiful combination of my two favorite things; mountains and the ocean!

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