Buona mattina, buongiorno o buona sera!

I'm still missing home and family, friends and the boyfriend, but my roommate and I were discussing how we are starting to feel more at home in Italian society. Our group is also bonding more, which helps so much.

Last weekend, we went to Naples, Pompeii and the island of Capri off the Amalfi Coast. It was one of the best weekends ever.

We left Friday and headed to our first stop, Napoli, in Southern Italy. When we got there, it was raining hard, and it was cold. This added to the adventure of the weekend, because from that point on we were on the lookout for sweaters, because none of us had packed properly.

Naples was a cool place to experience, but we really didn't get to see much of it. The famous pizza was truly delicious. We got a whole and a soda for only five Euro! After lunch, we visited the Archeological Museum for class lecture and saw ruins that had been preserved from the city of Pom-peii, which we would visit on Sunday.

Then we headed to our hotel, which was right on the water on the Amalfi Coast. It was so nice to see the ocean again; I've missed my Pacific. The hotel itself was my favorite so far, so cute and quaint in this little resort-like town. Then, just when it couldn't get any better, they had actual coffee for breakfast in the morning, real American-style cups of coffee!

The second day we went to Capri. I had heard this island was beautiful, but I had no idea how amazing it truly is. To get there, you have to take a 50-minute covered speedboat ride from the port of Naples. Once there, you dock and then take a cable car up the mountain and arrive in Capri.

There were shops everywhere, many of which were designers, and adorable restaurants, all with breathtaking views of nothing but ocean. The island had a total Mediterranean vibe, and it was absolutely blissful to stroll around for the day. We even hiked down to the shoreline, which was about a 20-minute venture down continuous steps and pathways. Being right there on the island shores was magnificent; the hike back up, however, was a chal-lenging feat.

Sunday we went to Pompeii. Seeing the ancient ruins of the city that was destroyed by a volcano, which the citizens of the time thought was just a mountain, was fascinating. You could even see plaster casts that were made by excavators pouring plaster into the holes left where people were buried in the ash and then removed. They were in their dying positions, and it was heart-wrenching.

On a lighter note though, we hiked Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed Pompeii! It's still active, but it's safe to climb to the top, which we did. The pressure change was so great that my ears felt like they were going to cave in for a while, but it was so worth it, getting to see the center crater of this powerful volcano.

One awesome weekend. I can't wait to see what comes next. Ciao!

LACIE GOFF is the daughter of Janice Gualdoni and the granddaughter of Louie and Beauella Gualdoni, all of Herrin. Lacie is a junior at California Lutheran University in Los Angeles, majoring in communication and journalism. She is spending this semester in Rome, studying Italian, history and art history.

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