Trip Start Jun 30, 2006
Trip End Oct 26, 2006

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Flag of Italy  ,
Monday, July 31, 2006

WOW!!! Now, I'm in Europe. Sorry for the such a long pause in the travel blog, but I've been covering a lot of ground and haven't had a chance to write...

So, my journey started in Zürich (Switzerland) where my American Airlines flight landed from Dallas. The flight could have been better - the guy I sat next to was a mute and the plane was a bit outdated. I arrived in Zürich around 9:30am, picked up my luggage, and cleared customs. After the getting my passport stamped, I made my way to the city and rented a bike for free (they do this to help reduce traffic congestion and pollution). I pedaled around the downtown area and along Lake Zürich for a couple of hours. It was good way to cover a lot of ground and see a bulk of the city - the city itself is crowded with business executives, it also has good (but expensive) shopping, and old architecture. After touring the city, I thought a pint of beer was needed. So, I found a local pub and ordered myself a Carlsberg. It tasted great and well deserved; however, it cost me 8.50 swiss francs, which doesn't fit into my backpackers budget. So, I decided to take the next train out of Zürich and headed south towards Italy.

After being on the train for 4 hours, I thought I would get off at Como (Italy) because I've heard nothing but great reviews about this place. The city of Como isn't that special (it's an average mid-size city north of Milan); it's Lake Como that makes it special (beautiful scenary and complete relaxation) place. I walked around for about an hour and half looking for my hostel - finally I found it around 9 o'clock that evening and headed straight to bed (starting to feel the effects of jet lag). I woke up the next morning and took a day trip up to Bellagio (which also borders Lake Como). In the morning, I walked around the city and then I headed to the beach to relax and do some swimming in the lake. The next day, I jumped on another train to Verona.

I traveled to Verona with a new friend (Andrew) I met in Como. I spent the next two nights there roaming the streets. Verona is a pretty cool city... it was the setting of Romeo and Juliet and is considered one of the meccas of the opera. It also has some really old and interesting architecture; like the arena, which was built in1st century (same time as the Roman Colosseum) and is still used today for the opera performances. Since it was opera season in Verona, I scored a cheap (10 euros) ticket to the opera Aida, which was performed in the arena. It was pretty cool... I guess it would have been a heck of a lot cooler if I knew what was going on :)

From Verona, I traveled to Venice the next day. Venice is crazy... no roads, no cars; just canals and boats. It's very easy for someone to get lost in this city because the streets seem like a maze (super narrow and confusing). The first day, I walked around the city (half the time lost) and then ended up drinking a beer and admiring the sunset in San Marco square. The next day, I visited the Basilica in Piazza San Marco and some other museums in the city.

I caught the ferry from Venice to Patras (Greece) and was completely dreading this 30 hour boat ride, but it turned out to be pretty nice. The ferry boat was completely different then I envisioned - it was more like a cruise boat with a casino, disco/bar, restaurants, and pool on board. While boarding the boat, I met a group of five Australian girls (Aussie's are all over the place) and partied with them for a couple of nights. Now, I'm in Athens...

I hope everyone is doing GREAT back home...

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elaynebeyer on

Well Matt....this is proof that you did, in fact, write all the blogs in Peru w/o any assistance from your mom! A great update for us all. This one is great and I'm so glad to hear that you are enhancing your social skills ;) as well as enriching your love of the arts! With all the Aussie women u are meeting, you best tell them if you move there, your fabulous mom accompanies you. I'm part of the deal.(JK!!) Enjoyed our IM chat this am. I love you and Poombah misses your daily tormenting...Have fun with Kristi! I know you two will have a ball together and it will be great to have a touch of home come your way. hughughug/mom

llk on

I'm SO impressed
Sounds like those quick trips through the art museums and churchs are rubbing off on you my friend. Aida as your first opera is a pretty tough one to take on!You are on your way to becoming (oh my God!)cultured and sophisticated! Sounds like you are having a great time. I hope the weather is cooperating. You didn't mention anything about what you were actually doing on the ferry.... just about what was available...and some Aussie ladies....hmmm..... no strange foods to share yet?

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