Trip Start Jan 03, 2008
Trip End Dec 17, 2008

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Flag of Italy  , Calabria,
Thursday, July 3, 2008

The temperature reached nearly 40 degrees when we arrived in Florence. We got the camper set up and then headed into town. Florence is such a relaxed, clean and pretty city. Mum was blown away again, especially by the unbelievable Dumo! We were very lucky get into a line that went directly in, as they then shut the doors and about 500 people we left standing in the heat for at least 40 minutes.
We then headed to the Academia to view the real David. This is an amazing sculpture, so will all stood around with our mouths open and commenting on various aspects of the body. I say wow look at the detail in the hands, Mum comments on the knees and Jordan on the nostrils...we then all walk away to inspect it at a different angle...and Cam nudges grandma and say's "What about those balls!" and walks away. Well mum nearly wet her pants and then couldn't look at the thing without giggling again. She only just said what others were thinking.
It was Florence too that Mum decided she didn't want to leave so we managed to get in contact with her travel agent and have extended her stay by another 9 days, so we have grandma with us for another two weeks!
We then drove through the Tuscan hills to the Chianti area, where we stopped at various wineries to do some sampling and made our way through to Assisi.
The girls all got up early and took the first mini van to Assisi, the weather was bearable first thing in the morning and we were the only ones in most of the sights for the first couple of hours. Assisi was a very moving and peaceful town, the streets are beautiful and the views from the Rocca Maggiore were unbelievable. I would recommend anyone travelling through Italy to try and get to Assisi. It blew us away.
We then travelled through temperatures reaching 45 degrees, rain, hail, and thunder and lightening to get to Pompeii. Apparently the rains had hit Naples and Pompeii just before we arrived and had nearly flooded the entire town. Luckily they had stopped so we set up camp, had dinner and a couple of Assisi reds then an early night for an early start to Pompeii.
The ruins were fascinating, it is unreal what they have managed to unearth and restore. Our early start (waiting for gates to open) meant we beat the crowds of tourist buses and the crazy heat of the day. After 3 and a half hours touring the ruins and tagging on to the end of guided tours to here just that little bit extra we headed off down the road again with our sights set on Sicily.
We made a group decision to only drive 200km's and stop for the rest of the day at the beach. What a great decision! Praia a Mare was a little town on the coast with crystal clear water and amazing shingle beaches! We spent the afternoon snorkeling and drinking Heiny's! We could have stayed here for at least a week but with Mum here and wanting to show her as much as we can we left again the next morning on the coastal road to the ferry to take us to Sicily.
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