22.08.2012 - 03.09.2012
And now it is Italy! This also means it’s time for the waist line to expand no thanks to the pizza, pasta and of course daily/bi-daily (and maybe once 3 times per day) gelato stops!
We had a short but sweet stop in Venice which suited me fine because I had been there only 2 years ago. Although the place looks so different when it’s packed with tourists in high season compared to the ghost town feel in January! A quick point summary of our day
• Accommodation: It was nice to stay on Venice island its self with a view of a canal from our room but seriously the Italians need to learn how to condition the air! One tiny desk fan just isn’t going to cut it in a heat wave! Let’s just say it was a night of multiple cold showers!
• A whirl wind day –Shopping/walking/Guggenheim: Our day was spent shopping (Bec knows how to shop) and as all must do in Venice, go wondering and lose yourselves in the puzzle works of the streets! We also managed to fit an ‘express tourist’ (my favourite kind) visit to the Guggenheim museum.
• Stalker boys: We knew the English boys from Bled were going to be in Venice and we were going to try catch up with them for dinner on our second night. ‘Coincidently’ as we were walking out of the checking-in location for our hotel at 11pm they boys happened to be walking past. What are the chances?
• Gelato/highlight: Being our first day in Italy and the sweltering heat wave of course it was appropriate to stop for a gelato. I went for a scoop of Nutella and one of hazelnut which would prove to be the BEST gelato of the trip!
Our journey from Venice to Rome took about the same time it takes for you to get from Australia to Dubai! We were up at 6am for our 20min walk over the many bridges and through the weaving streets of Venice to bus station. A short bus ride across the bridge was then followed by a 2km walk to the Busabout pick up spot for a 8am departure. Busabout loves it’s ‘service stops’ so travel takes a little longer then if you were driving yourself. We pulled into the drop off point in Rome at 6.30pm. Myra and I had booked to stay in Trastevere so this meant we had to catch 2 more local buses. Italians being Italians means the timetable system for public transport is non-existent. After waiting 45mins the bus finally arrived and we only had to walk for another 15mins before we reached our ‘hotel’ at 8pm. The memorable days of travel
When you are travelling/planning to travel you always ask people’s opinions of places to visit. Rome hadn’t received the best ratings, so basically I was expecting a big, hot, disorganised, cat infested and slightly dirty city and for the most this was correct. But I found it to be such a fascinating city for so many reasons
• The Romans were an unbelievable force! It’s so hard to fathom what they were able to achieve and how they treated other people. I knew very little of Roman history, so there was a lot to take in
• Roming tours:
1. Ancient Rome with some added American humour (so not overly funny): This tour was all about seeing the sites and learning all about the Roman Empire. This was taken be an American history graduate, who had been living in Rome for 4 years because basically this was the only place in the world where his major of Roman history could possibly useful for a fulltime job (and as a pick up line)
2. Vatican City: a very long hot day around and inside the Vatican. We were given a very ‘academic’ opinion of Christian history (luckily there were no Catholics on the tour)! My highlight was the roof of St. Pauls Basilica, Michelangelo had amazing skills to be able to paint that perspective on such a large scale !
• We got our tourist on at the Spanish steps, Parthenon and the Tivoli fountain. I find the people watching almost more interesting than the sights themselves!
• The Colosseum was my favourite sight. The reason why it was built, the sheer size of the place and to hear the stories of what went on there are fascinating, so different to now days but at the same time so similar!
• And of course me being me I need to mention something food related. Check out this amazing Panini we had right outside the Vatican
Another day on the bus awaited us for our journey through Tuscany to the leather capital of Italy, Florence. Once again I had already visited this city so I was looking forward to having a couple of days off trying to see every sight possible in a city and we enjoyed some relaxing days wondering the city, eating gelato and having picnic lunches!
• Accommodation: This place took the cake for the worst accommodation of the trip. The wet dog smell was off putting, the hairs all over the bathroom sink and floor were a little sickening but the black hairs on the towel were the real winner. (We chose not to look too closely at the beds)
• Night bike tour with an ice cream stop – sums me up very well!
• Florence delivered some of the best food we had in Italy (although the pictures don’t look overly appetizing)
o Hazelnut ice cream – a new favourite.
o Trip advisor treated us well in recommending the best sandwich place in Florence, a tiny wine bar with amazing panni’s, I love prosciutto!
o And a lovely little family run restaurant were the homemade pasta was to die for and there seemed to be a bottomless basket of bread (which is a very dangerous thing when Myra and I are involved)
The last stop in Italy was definitely one of my highlights! Cinque Terre was such a beautiful and a unique place to visit. I was so excited for the walk and it exceeded my expectations in both the scenery and difficultly of the walk! I took a photo blog of our walk which I think gives a fantastic idea of what it was like!
These are a few of the things that made our time in Riomaggiore and Cinque Terre unforgettable
• Accommodation – A few people told us to stay in Riomaggiore which was great advise. Perfect to start the walk from the end town and not nearly as touristy as Monterosso. We had a cute little room with a balcony view of the town and ocean.
• Dinner (take away homemade pasta in a little box), strawberries and wine on the balcony watching the sunset. We joked at how romantic it was!
• Our day hiking the Cinque Terre. We had decided to walk the detour up the mountain instead of taking the train (because of the landslide in November last year part of the trial was closed). This was up hill and Myra wasn’t so happy about it but it was definitely worth it in the end! I love playing mountain goat
• Swimming in Monterosso at the end of our hike to wash of all the dust and dirt was the perfect end to the day! Myra was so excited to be in the ocean for the first time of her trip!
Thanks Italy. We had the most amazing time! I’ll be back (in about a months time)