Thursday, May 10, 2007

ITALY

Okay! Italy has been very busy, we have done A LOT of walking and have had a great time. We are in Rome now but I will recap the last 9, 10, 11, or twelve days...
we arrived in Italy and couch surfed with Matteo in La Spezia for two nights, we had a great bed in a beautiful old apartment in the center of La Spezia and after relaxing for a week in Monaco we decided to just relax for the day in La Spezia before heading off to Cinque Terra...but Italy closes on Sundays, so we walked around looking for something to do and then resigned to eating gelato on a park bench and soaking up the sun until we met Matteo and the other couch surfers at Matteo's for dinner which he cooked for us and was AMAZING! We had pasta with ricotta cheese and his home-made pesto and olive oil (it was the best thing I've eaten in Italy so far) and curry chicken with beans and home made ice cream...we got to meet one of Matteo's friends and he was very funny and very friendly. The next day we headed to Riomaggiore to start our exploration of Cinque Terra which was beautiful, we stayed in this hostel which had one double bed that we snagged, and five bunks all in one room although there was one less bed than people booked for the room and there was some confusion in the middle of the night! The hike through the five villages was awesome, the weather was great for most of it before we got to the fourth village and it started to rain, so we took the train to the last village and sat on the beach until it really started to rain and we took the train back to Riomaggiore. We took some great pictures but all the pictures are going to have to wait until we get home...after we left Cinque Terra we went to Pisa for a couple of hours and saw everything that leans, Pisa is more than just a tower apparently they let some guy build a three buildings that all lean! I guess architecture was not really what he should have been doing. We headed to Bologna after being stuck in Florence trying to get a train on the night of a long weekend and finally met up with Emily who hosted us on her couch and took us to a great little bar for beers and even scored some free beers, she was full of info about the town and took us around the next day, showing us all the secrets like the sculptor who wanted to put a larger penis on the statue but the Catholics wouldn't let him so when you look at the statue from a certain angle his hand is positioned so that he has a large erection! And the dome where you can whisper in one corner and another person can hear you PERFECTLY in another! We had great panini and gelato for lunch and went to a market and bought some fruit and headed off to Venice. Just our luck the city on water was under water with terrible rain all day when we arrived. when the rain finally broke we went on boat rides and saw the sights. The highlight was going to the OPERA! we saw a comedy about love in this little museum with gorgeous paintings and tons of history! The next day with clear skies we got to see the St. Marks's basilica and a lot of pigeons! We took the elevator to the top of the bell tower and saw Venice from the sky - an great view, even the pigeons looked good from there. We went to Murano, the glass island where all of Venice's glass makers were moved to avoid the fires that frequently happened. Sarah stopped in every shop and finally bought a pair of earrings. The last day it rained again and we left the floating city the way we came in...soaking wet. Heading to Florence, we hadn't booked a hotel and weren't sure how long we would stay but we got a great deal on a hotel from a guy who came up to us in the train station and decided to stay two nights...Florence is beautiful. The train station not so much but the area around the old bridge, the only one not blown up in WWII, is so amazing! We were super lucky and went to see the David sculpture expecting a huge line and only waited for 15 minutes with no reservation! It was pretty good, maybe the best piece of art we've seen so far. We went for lunch at this crazy little restaurant called Marios and it was really good, just a bunch of tables where everyone sits next to each other and the food comes out really fast but it is all cooked slow-food style and its only open for lunch so there are big lines but totally worth it! And the wine was only 3 euros for 1/2 litre! Then we cruised to Sienna for a night and Sienna is magical, it really feels and looks like you stepped back through time. We were even lucky enough to see the parade of all the town's people marching, drumming, waiving flags and singing the town song for the beginning of Palio where they race horses through the streets of the city at the beginning of June and in September. We went to the famous basilica in Sienna and went up the tower and into the crypt and the baptistery before leaving for San Gimignano in the heart of Tuscany. It was a beautiful little town with 13 of 72 medieval towers still standing. We rented a SCOOTER and went touring the hillsides for wineries. We found many but stopped at three, tasted some excellent wine and picked up a few bottles for our cellar back home, and soaked every minute out of the most beautiful area I've ever seen. And NOW we are in Rome, where we have walked and walked and walked in search of things that would take our breath away but EVERYTHING is covered in scaffolding for cleaning or repairs or perhaps just to piss off all the tourists who came here to see all the stuff Rome is know for only to find a large picture of it wrapped around the scaffolding. But Trevi fountain was sans scaffolding and very beautiful, number 1 fountain so far!

Wheeefff...so thats it for now we are in Rome for another couple days and then off to Naples and the Amalfi coast and then off to GREECE! Hope everyone is doing well, send us an email we'd love to know whats happening in your lives.

1 comment:

annabelle said...

Hi,
How are you? Well, I can now follow your trip thanks to the blog, it's a very nice idea. It's just as if I was travelling with you, weel kind of, because I am studying for the exams!!
Hope you find Greece well, and that you still enjoy it. Are you going to Turkey then? or Spain????
Never mind, you know that I can host you 'til july.
As soon as you know when you plan visiting granada, please send me an e mail because perhaps I will have one week holidays in june, and PERHAPS will go somewhere...

That's all for now

Enjoy!

bisous

Annabelle