So a couple weeks ago, I went on my first adult 'Solo Trip' and if I had to sum it up in three words I would have to say, It Was Amazing!
I originally flew into London to attend my cousins wedding and of course meet up with my best friend Sascha. The wedding was beautiful and being able to be reunited with my family is always a blessing. I ended up dancing the night away with my grandmother and Sascha and I stayed the weekend at the Le Meridien Piccadilly which is in the center of London. While I was there I also got to meet up with one of my friends that I met in Amsterdam earlier this year. We hit Shoreditch which has definitely developed over time. We went to Box Park and Brick Lane and spent the evening enjoying the food and people.
I was originally going on this trip with a friend, and we had planned to spend 4 days in Barcelona, however when I found out that my friend couldn't come a few days before it was time to go, I rearranged my plans. I thought of places that I wanted to go and was willing to go by myself and while I still wanted to visit Spain, Italy was calling my name. I've travelled to Italy before, Rome, Florence, Milan, Bologna, all which were very beautiful places and left such an impression on me that I decided that that was where I wanted to go.
The Amalfi Coast had been on my bucket list since I heard Jay-Z say 'island hoppin' off the Amalfi Coast,' back in 2006, so with those lines on repeat in my head, I booked my ticket. I searched for the most cost efficient route and ended up booking a flight out on RyanAir from Stansted at 6am and a returning flight on EasyJet (I know I said i'd never fly with them again) that Thursday. Now because I already knew that EasyJets luggage policy is completely NOT BIANCA FRIENDLY, I had to adapt some new packing tricks. Granted, I was only going to be gone for 4 days, I still wanted to take a bag of some sort, and my traveling bag with my clothes etc. I managed to fit everything into a roll-on carry-on luggage to avoid paying any extra fees and with that, on Monday morning I landed in Naples, ready to explore.
Prior to going, I purchased a 3 day arte campania card which is basically a pass that allowed me to get on the local buses and trains of Naples, as well as enter 2 major attractions for free and one for half off. I Should have activated the card at the airport, but I was so excited that I got into a taxi and headed to my hotel.
Since I didn’t activate my card at the airport, I had something to do once I arrived at the hotel around 11am and my room wasn’t ready. I stayed at the Grand Hotel Capodimonte in Naples which was such a convenient location for me. After dropping of my luggage, I was able to start exploring. I was told that I would be able to activate my card at the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte and so I headed that way. Although it was just about a 10 minute walk from my hotel, I managed to make my first friend Maria, who was an older woman that spoke no English but managed to lead me to my destination.
Once I got there, it was majestic. The actual museum is inside some sort of courtyard so I walked around for a bit and then entered the museum where I was told that they did not have the card I needed. The lady called around and told me that if I make my way down to the center I would find it at another museum… 4 hours, 4 stores and some sore feet later, I was able to retrieve the card at a local museum shop as everywhere else I had went didn’t have it in stock at the moment. Some of the places weren’t as helpful as the others, but on my journey I met Jennifer who spoke Spanish and showed me around a bit and helped me ultimately get one step closer to where I need to be. By the time I finally got the card I was worn out & starving, so I popped into a restaurant and had some delicious seafood pasta with wine.
I didn’t get to use my pass that day because I didn’t feel like figuring out the bus system so I hopped in a taxi and made my way back.
The following morning, I slept in and missed breakfast but by the time I got up around noon I was ready for my first actual outing. The bus stop was right outside of my hotel door, which I took down to the underground metro station, to get to Girabaldi Station where I would then take another train to get to Pompeii. Upon arriving I thought that I might not have gone to the right place. The weather was great and there were vendors outside of the station, the sign said Pompeii Scavi which stands for ruins, but from the look of the outside… I wasn’t impressed.
That soon dissipated once I walked in and ended up getting lost down countless roads of ruins for 3 hours. I didn’t book any specific tour because I was travelling alone and wanted to be able to come and go and explore as I pleased, stopping occasionally to take a photograph for a couple struggling to get that perfect ussie, and also getting my perfect selfie. Before the 1.5 hour journey back to Naples, I got a bite to eat outside of the ruins at a lovely and quaint restaurant and then headed back into the city. I wanted to hang out downtown in the center and check out the nightlife, but since it was only around 9 o’clock I told myself I’d go to my room, change and then come back out.
… That didn’t happen.
I even made plans with the lovely gentleman that worked at my hotel. He invited me out to a birthday outing with his friends and to go bar hopping. I was so pumped… that I Passed out and woke up around 4am.
On my third, and final day in Italy, it was time for me to go to the Amalfi Coast. I still missed breakfast, but grabbed some pizza for lunch *BTW ALL THE FOOD IN NAPLES IS AMAZING* and started my voyage. I say voyage because it took about 2 hours to get from my hotel to Sorrento. And then another 90 minutes roughly to travel down the coast to Amalfi, stopping in towns like Positano, before reaching Amalfi.
I was speechless on the drive down, I even shed a few tears. I kept experiencing these waves of appreciation, just being so grateful that I was able to take that trip and see this place that I had been dreaming about for 11 years. I had a list of places I wanted to see before I reached 30 and I was just so proud that I made it there. When I reached the bottom, again, I was at a loss for words. It was more beautiful than the pictures and it looked just like the pictures at the same time. I walked around and ate a café in front of Cathedral of St. Andrew and actually ended up running into my best friend from 6th grades mother who was also there on vacation. I ate dinner by the water and watched the sun set as my phone died, and then set out on the 4 hour journey back. This time, I didn’t really want to go out and party because my day was just so filled, but when I got back to the hotel, I ended up making up for flaking the previous night and went out and hung with my new friend Vincenzo and his friends. He taught me some Neapolitan words and also explained to me that Naples had their own language separate from regular Italian which I didn’t know.
My flight out of Italy was at 10, but I wasn’t missing breakfast again so I woke up at 7 and was the 2nd person inside. After breakfast, I checked out and made my way back to the airport and was back in London within 2 hours. I was supposed to be leaving London the following afternoon, so from the airport I met up with some of my friends in Camden Town and we walked around for a bit. The rest of my trip was a bit of a shitshow because for some reason, I thought that my return flight was at 5pm when in reality, it was at 4pm so I ended up missing the flight and had to purchase a whole new return ticket home. One take away from the trip is to ALWAYS GET TRAVEL INSURANCE! I think i've only gotten travel insurance once before, but honestly for $25 extra, it's worth the 'WHAT IF'.
To summarize, Italy was Amazing. I will definitely be going back, and i'm even down with going on another solo trip out there!