Buongiorno tutti

Trip Start Apr 14, 2009
Trip End Aug 06, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our first Italian experience wasn't too good.  It was like magic, as soon as we crossed the Swiss border and changed trains... the informative and efficient Germanic train system was replaced with a dirty, lazy, hot Italian one so we had a few stinking hours.  Cancelled train to Venice, the next train henceforth contained twice the number of passengers.  Above 30 degrees.  Couldn't use our reserved seat.  Train then decided not to take us all the way to Venice, and had to get another one, only to find no helpful information at our new train station.

Oh well! We got over that when we arrived in Venice and sussed out the water town for an hour or so, and at around 8:30 took the shuttle bus to our new camping stlye hostel home for the next two nights.

Saturday was then front to back loaded with Venice, as we didn't see much our first day.  12 hours walking around the main island, crossing canal bridges, walking down alleys filled with restaurants and markets, and yes, we got absolutely lost, more than once.  But that's part of it.  Not many street signs...just a few signs pointing you towards the places of interest.  Gets funny when you approach an intersection that suggests you go left, and also right, to get to your destination.  Confusing, and the locals probably just sit back and laugh, so we have to aswell.

It is a beautiful city, we perhaps didn't quite think it was great as some would tell us, be we had a great day.  Chris got to try out the language skills he learnt in primary school, we had lasagne, gelati AND pizza, and we think we covered most of the island in the full day we had.  Our last hour or so was spent watching the sunset beside a canal with a nice bottle of red.  We had to spoil ourselves a little of course.

Fun times in the middle of that night.  Woke up at 2am and found the dreaded BED BUGS!!  They don't like Chris, which served him very well.  But they just loved Alicia, and her legs will wear the memories for quite a while we think.  Many little red, itchy bumps.  She's coping OK :-)

Sunday we began our journey with Busabout, and boarded our all day coach ride to Rome.  5 nights, which is absolutely plenty.  Again our accommodation is with a camping style hostel group which is located outside town, we have been catching a bus and train combo to get into Rome proper.  But at the price we paid for our two person tent, it's great value.  There's a pool...two bars...

First full day we had a tour of the Vatican.  It is ridiculous how rich that place is.  The art in their museums and courtyards is mindblowing.  It's an experience to check out, and great to learn the history.  We both got sore necks looking up to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel...couldn't imagine how Michelangelo's felt as he was painting it!  Climbing the dome was a tight struggle with a few hundred steps but worth it for the views.  The coolest thing though was crossing our first national border by foot, and taking photos with one foot in each the Vatican and Italy.

Across the other days we've had plenty of walking around, and much more public transport.  We checked out "Ancient" Rome with the Forum, Paletine Hill and of course the Collosseum.  Alicia threw coins into the Trevi Fountain, which looks amazing in the evening.  We climbed a few Spanish steps, entered the Pantheon, and ate more delicious food.  Oh we learnt the valuable lesson of how to tell if gelati is good.  Check out the banana flavour, and if it looks yellow then give it a miss.  If it's white, then the flavours are made with real fruit and they're made properly!  See there you go.  Who says we ain't learning on this trip?

We hop back on the bus to head to Tuscany tomorrow...a few days in the Chianti wine region then a couple in Florence.  Hope all is well with you.

P.S.  Chris is impressed he got through this without making an Ancient Rome gluteus maximus joke.
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mog on

Roman Philosophy
Sounds like you're getting a good workout - 'Max' certainly isn't 'resting on his laurels'!

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