Spring Break '12. While most of my friends spent the last couple weeks heading to Florida and Mexico, I've been in chilly Copenhagen slogging through midterms. So, with the goal of seeing the sun, my friend and I have headed to Italy for the first leg of my vacation.
This whole backpacking thing sounds very romantic in the beginning. I mean, it counts as backpacking because I packed everything into one backpack, right? But what I always forget about these trips is that setting your expectation high is about the worst thing you could do.
Take our hostel, for example. It seemed fabulous. A little grimy and hot, maybe, but the married couple we roomed with was nice enough. Sadly, it didn't take long for that nice-looking husband to turn into a log-sawing snore factory beyond anything I have ever experienced. I was genuinely concerned for his health by the time I awoke, completely exhausted, for a day of exploring Venice.
But I remained optimistic. We were in Venice! And even though we had too little time to do a lot and too much time to do nothing, we made it work. And it was fantastic. I am not a proponent of spending just two days in any one place. I don't think it allows you to really feel out a place or find those little un-touristy gems that make a vacation really worthwhile.
But this is diehard backpacking, obviously, and you do what you can. So we ate some fried things, bought some glass, missed our water taxi, and almost got comfortable with the city's confusing streets.
And then we took a night train. If I hadn't spent the night before being kept awake by some world record snoring I'd say I slept poorly on the train, but in light of that it wasn't bad at all.
But, just like the day before, I managed to wake up outside of Naples in incredibly good spirits. I say this all the time, but for me this really is an once-in-a-lifetime trip. I'm lucky enough to be able to take a trip like this, so I try never to forget that.
So while I relay these tales to you in order to perhaps make you laugh, the real moral of the story is this: just go with it. Even if your spring break isn't perfect, even if you're tired and dirty, you can make something wonderful from your vacation if you want to. And I certainly do.
Photo: at http://milvetstravel.net/naples.html