Sunday, July 22, 2007

Italy: Bologna, Padua, Venice, Verona, Tuscany

Ok, if you are following on from the last post then you will be relieved to learn that I had a really good dinner. Not very Italian though... I started with a big slab of focaccia which was super tasty and real cheap. But then things got a little crazy... I was walking a long and saw a sign for a shwama! I hadn't had one since Syria so I thought I would treat myself. It was really good... but it got me in a middle eastern mood so I had to follow it up with some baklava. So I am well fed and ready to post about the rest of my Italian Adventure.

[Lauren: You like my new hat? I lost the sweat hat sorry...]

So from Florence I jumped on a train and headed to Bologna where I was to have my first solo couch surfing experience. I had exchanged an email or two with the dude I was to stay with and he seemed a bit of alright... turned out he was fantastic! He picked me up from the train station on his scooter! And took me out to an Italian family party (celebrating a baptism) which was incredible. Everyone was so open and hospitable, there were only two things they did not condone: an empty stomach or an empty wine glass. Fortunately the food was most excellent the the wine... dam, I think I like wine now, it was so so good, classic Tuscan flavours.

The graffiti in Italy, specifically Bologna as its a student town, is always very political which is awesome.

From tasty Ragu (Spag Bol!) to Padua. For me Padua was going to simply be a cheap base to make day trips to Venice, but it turned out (thanks to another fantastic CouchSurfing host) to be a pretty darn interesting town, I think I saw the tomb where Luke is buried (he was smuggled over in a barrel of pork), although I am not 100% sure.

Venice is cool. Much like Florence it had the theme park feeling, but again you got the vibe that it was legit. I lurked through the Palazzo where the Venetian boss sat, it was very cool, especially the massive (whole walls, 4x10m) maps from the 1500's (no New Zealand...). I went back to Venice on Saturday night with my host and a bunch of other couch surfing folk for a festival of some kind, it involved heaps of people, loads of fire works, a few bottles of wine and hanging out on the beach till sun rise. Good times in Venice indeed.

I popped over to Verona for a day and a night. It was actually surprisingly beautiful. All I expected was a statue and a balcony, but alas I was again in awe of a pretty city.

And the last 5 or so days (I have lost count) I have been back to central Italy and lurking about in Tuscany. Spent a few nights in Livorno (The communist heart of Italy where people supported France in the World Cup final as they so dislike the current political situation in Italy), Mt Amiata where I stayed with a CS dude and his family who run a restaurant. Back to Perugia for a night out. Then to Certaldo for a buskers festival where Rox and I danced to some hippies playing bongo drums till the sun rose. We are such hippies.

There you have it, that's my current state of being. Thanks for all the comments on the previous post, they motivated me well. Currently I am in Genoa, which my first impression is that its the best city in the world... I will keep you posted on how it pans out.

PS I also went to Siena for a day, it was very Italian, Tuscan, Old and Romantic. There are probably some whole regions I have forgotten to mention... Oh well, it will give me something to talk about when (or if) I get home.

Italy: Rome, Perugia, Pisa, Florence

So here it is, only a few weeks late, an abridged account of what I have been up to.

So we hit Rome for 5 days, I don't need to tell you how awesome it is. Read all about what happened here, there is no point me cutting and pasting it... I am so lazy.

After Rome it was off to Perugia where Andy started his Italiano course. Perugia was super cool. Met some really cool people and enjoyed some good times there. Perugia is very old school, narrow streets etc, perched on top of a hill. Also very important to the Entruscans, one of my new favourite ancient peoples.

From Perugia to Pisa for a day. I really don't want to ruin any ones trip to Pisa, but I was a little disappointed. I didn't really know what to expect (perhaps a leaning tower), and, well, that's all there is. Its just a tower. Worth a few hours of your time. I spent maybe 4 hours there, 3 hours of which I was asleep on the grass beside the tower...

From Pisa it was on to Florence. I loved Florence. I am not sure why. It felt a little like a theme park and not really like a real city, yet you were still aware that it had a whole lot of real history. I went to the Uffizi Art Gallery and also saw Michelangelo's David. The two highlight's though were going to the History of Science Museum (I learnt heaps and say Galileo's middle finger!), and chillin out by myself beside the river while the sun was setting enjoying the view. Sounds a little nomantic, but it was cool. You see, Florence was my first real solo travel adventure... no longer was Rox there to save me. Solo travel is fantastic! (I still love you Rox.. its just different is all.. its not you, it me!).

So yeah, Florence was super cool.

There you have one back dated post. Right now I am waiting to meet a couch surfing host in Genoa, and its about dinner time... so I am going to sneak out and get something to eat (I hear foccacia bread and pesto and very Genoan...) and most likely a sweet treat.. perhaps a beer. Hmm, so many options... my plan is to return to this computer in an hour or so and post about the last weeks adventures in Padua, Venice, Verona, Livorno, Siena, Certaldo etc.... thats the plan anyway...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


So, I am the worst blogger in the history of people who blogged. I have many excuses: being to busy, too lazy, technological incombatibilities, the time zone, the heat, the distraction of all the food... all legitimate excuses... but still excuses none the less. So I am sorry for the poor state of this blog and will seek to remedy it some time soon. I need to catch up on Rome, Monte Cassino, Perugia, Florence, Bologna, Padova, Venice, Verona, Livorno.... I have done a little bit in the last few weeks.

I would appreciate it if you, you who has some much spare time on their hand so as to read this poor excuse for a blog, could put some comments below: The more offensive the better... I need some motivation... something which is hard to come by in this heat.

Ciao amici,