Italy > All other countries

Trip Start Aug 20, 2008
Trip End Dec 20, 2008

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Sunday, October 5, 2008

Honestly though, Italy is just superior to... everywhere. There is just so much awesomeness crammed into one little country, it is impossible to experience it all. But I'm trying as hard as I can.
Ok, so. Friday Jessica and I ventured to Venice. We were able to do it all in one day-- we left on a 6:30 am train, got there at 11, were able to explore plenty of the city as well as the island of Murano, and we made it back to Florence at about 10 pm. LONG day, but so worth it. Venice just doesn't seem real to me... water instead of streets, boats/gondolas instead of cars. Even the police, ambulance, taxis, and postal service traveled by boat. And it was so beautiful... mini orchestras playing in the streets, shops filled with Venetian masks and glass jewelry, canals around every corner. I guess Venice is just one of those places that I've always heard about and seen in pictures, so actually being there was a little dreamlike. But yea, Jessica and I wandered the city for a few hours, gawked at the glimmering basilica in Piazza San Marco while dodging thousands of aggressive pigeons, and then took a water bus over to the island of Murano which is famous for glass blowing. We actually got to watch some glass blowers at work which was a very interesting experience... unlike anything I've ever seen before.
Oh yes... we had a funny and slightly scary experience with the water bus. It is basically a boat that operates like a metro system, going in a giant loop around Venice and the surrounding islands. We were trying to get to Murano as I said before, but were unsure of exactly which stop to get off at because there was no map on the inside of the boat. So us being the geniuses we are, decided that Jessica would leave her stuff with me while she stepped onto the dock for a second to check the map. And of course, right when she stepped off the boat, the gate shut behind her and the boat took off. I had ALL of her stuff, ie: purse, money, cell phone. Now, an intelligent person would come up with a quick plan, like, "Jessica, stay there! I will come back and find you!" But no. We both just started laughing hysterically. After a few minutes it started to settle in that I had no way of contacting her and no idea how we would meet up again... the loop of the boat takes over an hour, so going around again didn't seem like the best plan. Luckily, there was one more stop on the same island, and two nice gentlemen told me how to walk back to the previous dock. And luckily, Jessica DID stay put instead of trying to find me, and was waiting like a faithful labrador by the water. It could have turned out so much worse... at one point I thought that we would just have to go our separate ways and meet back at the train station that evening. Reunited and it felt so good.
Overall, loooved Venezia! It would have been awesome to ride in a gondola, but neither of us were willing to pay 80 euros for a half-hour ride... so we just took a photo with a gondolier instead :)
Saturday, Jessica had a few friends visiting from Granada, Spain so we all hung out around Florence. We decided to go to the Accademia musuem and see Michelangelo's "David." I have been avoiding museums and basically ALL of the major tourist attractions in Florence because every day is a mob scene of tour groups, but I decided it wouldn't hurt to wait in one line this time. And it wasn't that bad, a little less than 1 hour. The museum was really nice, and seeing the David was a little trippy. There was also a wing of the museum with 500 year old musical instruments, which the band-nerd in me enjoyed. But yea, somehow this day at ONE museum was more tiring for me than our whole day-trip to Venice.. I was wiped out. Maybe I've just been on the go constantly and it's all catching up.
But there is no time for sleep! There is so much more to do and see! Sunday, my three roommates and I took a train to Cortona, the village where "Under the Tuscan Sun" was filmed. And of course, we watched the movie right before we went so we would be able to recognize things. When you see the movie, you just assume it's all a movie set... there's no way a place could aaactually be so perfect. But wow, the real thing is SO SO SO SO SO SOSOSOOSSOSO beautiful!! This seriously is toward the top of my list of places I've been. Absolutely gorgeous. The town was up on a hill overlooking the countryside with perfect fall weather... the leaves were changing colors. Our day here was pretty relaxing... we spent an hour or two at an adorable cafe with an incredible view. Then we just wandered the streets of Cortona, took a bazillion photos of every little thing around us, went in a few ancient churches, ate gelato (duh), and spent ample time just staring out into the distance in peace. It was nice to get away from the city for a change. Tuscany is heaven. End of story. I understand why Diane Lane impulse-bought the villa in the film... there is no such thing as willpower in Cortona.
Now I am exhausted. SO glad I don't have class on Mondays, I always need that day to get my life back together after these busy weekends. Ciaooooo
Here are my photos.
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