Welcome back readers! And me in the future when I try and remember the cool stuffs that happened. Or not so cool. Like when I got to Rome and I had to charge my laptop in a department store in the train station on the floor because I couldn’t contact the CSers I was supposed to meet. Actually, to sum this bit up, they offered to let me share a rented apartment with them and then COMPLETELY flaked and didn’t even get back to me so I contacted Stefano who had offered to host me after I accepted the other offer. He was a lifesaver and picked me up not long after. He gave me enough time to wander before he came and I saw a few awesome places walking distance from the station. I do have to say that the first night was awesome because he took me around Rome on a scooter and everything was beautiful! Since it was my first time on a scooter, I was pretty scared for like five minutes until I decided to not be scared anymore. We visited St. Peter and the Pantheon while they were lit up and gorgeous. Speaking of gorgeous, we all had gelato and coffee after. I wanted peach which is pesce in Italian, but I pronounced it like pesche which means fish. The ice cream man looked at me like I just set my hair on fire. Funny moment. I will not forget those words now. Ever.
|Rome, a Roman, and a Scooter.|
The next day, Stefano had to work so I went to see some highlights during the day including the Coliseum (where a gladiator high-fived me and I met some German girls briefly), the forum (where I was run over by a jerk with a stroller), and St. Peters by day (where I melted because you have to wear modest clothing and all I had were sweats and a jumper). All in all, I probably walked about twenty kilometers in about 40 Celsius heat. Okay okay. Sorry Americans. That’s about twelve miles and about 100 Fahrenheit. Better? K good. Stefano and I met after his work and then he took me out to a few places that night and even treated me to true mozzarella. Apparently there is only one that is actual mozzarella while the rest are imitators. Tasty.
|The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier|
In the morning, I again went to the city while Stefano worked and saw the Pantheon again and went to the same gelato place because it was so darn tasty. I also went to the Trevi fountain, Piazza Venezia where they have the tomb of the unknown soldier (biggest in the world), and Piazza Espagna where I climbed the Spanish steps. Rome is overwhelming. Overwhelmingly beautiful, overwhelmingly crowded, and overwhelmingly hot. I was glad for the evening when Stefano took me to the Roman Globe Theatre to see Romeo and Juliet in Italian. I loved it! Fantastic acting, great directing, and a wonderful way to bring my time in Rome to a close.
|Throwing a Wish to the Trevi Fountain|
|St. Peters and Me Wearing the Dress Code|
|The Spanish Ste|
|The Pantheon and my face.|
My next stop? Florence. Firenze in Italian. I met my host Francesco at the station and we walked to his flat where he made pasta for dinner and then he took me through Florence for a night tour. It was beautiful and a nice break from Rome’s commotion. Francesco was super kind and we visited a massive gothic church then sat on a bridge admiring the view and talking for a long time before we went back for some sleep. While he worked the next day, I retraced our steps and then let myself wander into every open door.
|Hey Mom! When I grow up, |
I want to stand in front of a map and look cool.
I think Florence has the most beautiful interiors of churches in Italy. They were all remarkable. While walking to another church, I stumbled upon an open market where I went crazy and bought many wonderful things for people I love. Including myself. I love me too! But sadly, it began to rain and I had to make my way back to Francesco’s place or risk melting. He lives across Ponte Vecchio which means old bridge and it really is old. There are even stores on the bridge still like in the middle ages. Francesco said they used to all be butcher shops, but when the river ran with blood, they decided to change the shops to gold stores. So… really glittery… really distracting. For dinner, we had pizza! And then sadly, I had to leave the next morning.
|Venice! I swear I am wearing clothes.|
Don’t be too sad for me! Next on the itinerary was Venice! I arrived and immediately met a German girl, Lena, who walked with me all around Venice getting lost and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We found many nooks and crannies of Venice and coffee for 85 cents in the coolest little coffee shop. We walked over so many canals and bridges that I couldn’t distinguish one from the rest soon. Eventually, our wanderings took us to the more touristy part of the city and we visited San Marco cathedral/piazza. I tried to go in the exit, but I got caught. Still! I got to look inside for free. I declare Venice’s souvenirs the most beautiful in all of Italy.
|The Streets of Venice.|
With the carnival masks exploding from each store, covered in glitter, papier-mâché, and hand painted décor; there is really nothing like it. Venice quickly became one of my favorite cities. Lena had to leave and meet a friend and I had to go to the luggage locker to retrieve my free gondola ticket from Eurail, so we parted ways and I ran like a mad woman through the streets of Venice, dripping sweat and wild-eyed to arrive at the gondola booth and terrify the poor souls working there.
|I like Canadians.|
Before actually going to the gondola, I wiped as much of the sweat from my body as I could in the bathroom and made friends with the barman to get free water. I also stocked up on napkins just in case I sweat again. Yeah I know. Gross. But shut up cause I was in Venice and you weren’t! (Sob. I’m disgusting.) Anyway, on the gondola at last! I met a cool Indonesian guy and Brad and Jane from Canada. THEY SAY EH. Heh heh. The gondola ride was great and we took tons of pictures of each other and the gondolier.
After the ride, we walked the entire island of Venice together on accident because we went the wrong way. Oops. Jane and Brad ended up without a place to stay, so they just took an overnight train to Rome instead while I headed to Verona to meet with Nicole (Welsh girl I met in Milan), Alvaro, and Andre (a Mexican girl who I proceeded to call Lena the next two days because she didn’t correct me). Alvaro took us all to a viewpoint and we admired the city by night. We also walked by the opera house/mini coliseum building and I decided Verona was also one of my favorite cities. Because it was already quite late, the four of us headed to A’s place and went to bed.
|Castle of Verona.|
The following day was among the most remarkable of my trip. It began with me preparing grilled cheese for breakfast, going back to Venice, dropping our bags with another CSer that was to host us that night, and me painting my fingernails black. Nothing too special so far, but then Nicole and I got lost on purpose, then met with Alvaro and a couple of his Venetian friends for drinks and aperitifs (like tapas or finger-food). They were really nice and fun to be around and come on! They were REAL VENETIANS! I even got to go inside their house and stand outside on the balcony. Cool huh? That night was special because it was the night of Redentore. Google it. Basically celebrated like the fourth of July. Alvaro’s friends took us out on their boat for beers, food, and fireworks. I could have died and went to Heaven. The experience was phenomenal and the fireworks were better than any I’ve ever seen in the US and lasted over a half hour! We had great conversation and a great time. Then Nicole got drunk and decided to leave with some other people. Okay. Weird but she is a big girl and can do whatever she wants. Lena (Really Andre) and I returned to the other CSers place and went to sleep dreaming of fireworks and beer.
The following morning, Lena and I met Nicole at the train station and then hurriedly kissed goodbye. Once again, I was on the move. Destination: Smare Sailing School in Leuca! Jellyfish and Gelato in the next post. Stay with me! Four days until I’m home! x
|Redentore. How can life get any better than this?|