Friday, June 11

Viva Italia!

It's kinda hard to get back into blogging after a long time off... I've done and seen to much to write about everything, and I know you wont read it all anyway, but I'm going to do my best....

Italy was really really wonderful. We left Münster on saturday two weeks again early in the AM- which was rough having been out at a party the night before, but we made it to Köln and had a couple hours there to make a stop and climb up to the top of the cathedral which is still I think the coolest building in Europe. So then we hopped our plane to Rome. FYI, when flying in Europe always get there early because seats are not assigned, at least not on Germanwings. They have assigned movie theater seats but not plane seats, go figure. We took a cab to our hotel -- FYI- do not take a cab in Rome!!! it cost almost as much as the flight there! The hotel was fine, a bit far out of the city, but the bus ran often. We went into the city a little that night and just walked around, saw St. Peters sqare at night and found a resturant.

The next day we decided would be Catholic day, it seemed appropriate for a sunday. We went first to the Vatican museum which closes early on Sunday so we did the typical tourist thing and pushed and crowded our way past all kinds of important artwork to get to the Sistene Chapel... which was well worth it because it is really amazing. We stood in there for a good long time looking at our little guide book and figuring out all the stories. It was PACKED in there and kinda smaller than I expected but its not at all overrated and certainly should be seen. I find it amazing how many people from all over the world were there crowded into that little chapel to see this one amazing painting done some 300 years ago. America was nothing but a bunch of pilgrims living in swamps and Michealangelo was lying there in Italy on his back maticulously painting this glorious cealing. So, after Vatican stuff we hit lots of the other big sights, the major Piazza's, the Trevi fountain, the Parthanon, all cool stuff but packed with tourists. Eventually we made our way all the way to the Roman Forum but kind of by accident and it was a really beutiful sight. It was after it was closed to visitors so it was all empty and it had just stoped raining and the sun came our and hit the ruins and lit them up against the greanery in the background, there were even a couple rainbows, it really looked magical. Eric wanted to jump the fence and go in, but I made him wait until the next day!

And so monday was Roman day and we went to the Forum and Palentine hill and the Colloseum. It was really neat, although not quite as magical with all the tourists during the day. We found a free guided tour going on and taged along to hear the stories behind some of the rubble because nothing is at all marked and they dont give out maps or anything, its just all there, everywhere, all these remains of buildings over 2000 years old, and they still have a beauty all their own. I didn't realize how big of an area they covered or that it was all right in the middle of the city, theres a freeway going right around the Colloseum. We spent the afternoon wandering around everything while Eric told me lots of stuff about the ancient Romans, it was nice :) Then after some pizza and gelato we went on another tour with the same girl from earlier (not free this time) it was neat, we turned out to be the only people who showed up for it, it was a tour of some of the hidden neat stuff in Rome. There were some cool little churches with interesting stories behind them and some Boroque buildings that were built when it was something of a trend to have a collection of roman artifacts so the ruins were stuck into the architecture of the newer building. The guid was really nice and we ended oup in the part of town over the river and she showed us her favorite resutant where we had dinner and the pasta was indeed amazing.

The next day we were off to our next stop in Barga, but first we stopped for a few hours in Pisa, just long enough to see the leaning tower and force Eric to take a picure of me pretending to lean on it... and then preten he didn't know me :P All the other tourists were doing it.... Then we had some Pizza in Pisa and got back on the train to Barga, a small town in Tuscany between Pisa and Florence. We got there after buses had stoped running and ended up having to hike our way up the mountain at night with our bags on this dark windy road, it was a little scary, but we made it eventually. We stayed in little bed and breakfast run by a sweet Brittish couple, it was really nice.

The next day we just explored Barga a bit, its so so cute! There's a really old cathedral at the very top fo the hill and then all the little houses with the tiny narrow roads that make no sense, its exactly like all those paintings and postcards you've seen with the pastel buildings with flower boxes and laundry hanging accross the street. We spend much of the afternoon just relaxing in the room, Rome is really exahsting. The next day we went to nearby Lucca, another mideaval town with a city wall and lots of towers and churches. It was also nice, we went in the art museum too.

Friday we took a day trip to Florence. It wasn't really my favorite city, its really big and crowded and didn't have as much charactor I though. The Duomo is cool and we saw Michealangelo's David which for some reason is in a Museum far away from the center and there's nothing else in it really and it cost 9.50!! So, I don't know that I'd say its a must see, it is big and impressive but nothing astoneshing. The Ufuzzi Galery was better, they have The Birth of Venus by Botecceli and some Leonardo Di Vincci and other impressivie stuff. We didn't see too much else because the last train to Barga was fairly early. So we had to head back there for dinner. Italians dont eat dinner until like 9pm. Resturants don't even open until 8. Crazy Italians.

The next day we were off once again to Verona. We stopped shortly in Bologna which we didn't see much of, but did catch a bit of a peach parade of some sort. Then we got to our Bed and breakfast in Verona. It was a bit out in the suburbs run by an italian guy who was nice but a little weird. It was nice enough, we didn't end up seeing any of Verona really, the next day we were kinda tired and it was rainy so we mostly stayed in and just walked to the nearby town for dinner.

Then on Monday we went to Venice which I LOVED. Its so pretty! I spent the first our walking around saying Look! its water! right there! Its a really nice place to just wander all the little narrown streets with pretty canals and bridges. The main areas like San Marco are packed with tourists and also cool to see but when you go back into the neihborhoods it feels empty and quiet. We went to the Peggy Guganhime house to see some modern art, it was fun to walk around together commenting on what we thought of all the pieces. We walked around and I got us a bit lost and we finally ended up way down at the end of the island where there are some parks. On the other side we walked over the brigde to another little mostly fishing island where we saw a lesser known leaning tower in front of the chuch there. Eric was looking for the church in Venice that appears in one of the Indiana Jones movies, but it turns out there are A LOT of churches with white marble facades so we may or may not have seen it. We stayed pretty late and got dinner before going back to Verona for the night.

Then the next day it was back to the train station and off to Milan where we didn't have any kind of hotel reserved. We asked at tourist information for a cheap place and ended up in the ickyest seedyest little hotel ever. eww. We went into the city in the evening to find an I cafe and bookstore and see the Duomo. We walked a long long way looking for a resturant but eventually ended up at a really good Pizzaria run by three Chinese men, it was great! Eric had decided that eating our in italy was a long and drawn out process much like dying of thirst, it often took up to half an hour to get our check at the end of a meal, but these Chinese guys were super quick! We got very little sleep in the seedy hotel room before waking up at 5 to get to the airport. We made it back to Münster in time for me to go strait to my class, which turned out to be cancelled anyway, oh well. Germans are so different from italians. It was nice to get back to the always reliable german train sytem!

Wow, that was really long, and yet I feel like a shortened as much as possible, so you'll have to deal with it. It was a really great trip and it was so fun to do it with Eric. Now we have a week or so to hang our in Munster which is also fun. Its nice to be back and relax a bit. Yesturday we went over to Heike and Silke's place and made Taco's, mmm. Germans don't do mexican food very well so it was fun to make our own good stuff! Tonight we're hopefully grilling out at Frau hensel's garden if it doesn't rain. There's also some kind of festival going on the seekend with bands and stuff we might go to tonight. Yay for Europe :) allright, I gotta go get some Bratwurst for tonight. Ciao!

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