. . . and then Italy!
Trip Start Jun 20, 2003
20Trip End Mar 01, 2004
We spent the next two nights in Florence, where we did all the touristy things you are supposed to do in the birthplace of the Renaissance, including staring up in wonderment at Michealangelo's David
However, it was here we had a bit of a meltdown. We have been on the road for about three months now with six months to go, and -- while this may sound ridiculous -- we were becoming quite tired of living out of our backpacks, eating out night after night, and constantly touring around. Also, we were positively sick of wearing the same few clothes over and over again. The grass is always greener, they say, and we definitely started to feel a bit of homesickness. So we changed our plans for the rest of Italy and decided to take off some time for us.
We first went over to the Cinque Terra, which is a group of five fishing villages (maybe a street long each) right along on the Italian Riveria. Its a great little place, very relaxing. You can hike from village to village on these little rocky, hilly trails with amazing views of the sea. And the beaches were great! Hopefully, one of the pictures we are posting can convey how beautiful it was, but you absolutely must go here. We were lucky to hit great weather, and one day took a 2 hour hike from the little village we were staying at to the next, and spent the rest of the day alternating between baking on the beach and swimming in the glass-like waters of the Mediterranean.
We then went to Siena. All we did there was wander around eating gelato (truly an amazing creation -- especially the nutella flavor). We did some serious clothes shopping and then ate some more! Barely took a picture. Then we were off to Assisi (of St
So we were perfectly recharged as we headed off to Rome -- to Michealangelo's Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, the Colossuem, and the Roman Forum. You know, all the touristy stuff. We were really glad to have taken the time off because we absolutely loved Rome. St. Peter's Basilica was particularly moving. Between Italy and France we feel like we have taken an art history course. In fact, that has been the best part about Western Europe; we came for the food but just fell in love with the culture and history.
Italy was just one of those places we know we will go to again and again. But alas, our time here is up, and we are off to Athens for a brief stay, and head into Turkey! We are ready for the rest of the trip, and are so excited about traveling to the Middle East and experiencing a totally different culture (not to mention some wonderfully spicy food). Talk to you soon!!!