Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category


Day Two Hundred and Forty Seven: Cactus

September 24, 2012

Weather: 26oC
Money: €22 accommodation + €5 breakfast + €2 lunch + €5.50 dinner + €4 gelato = €38.50
Bus hours/ Kms: 4/288
Sleeping arrangements: Hotel Antares, 6 bed dorm with bathroom
Current city: Nice

Not much to report on today, except for an amazing gelato experience.

We left La Spezia at lunch time after spending the morning packing up and catching the train from Riomaggiore and waiting around for the bus.

We arrived in Nice around 5. The drive along the cost was amazing. Such cool towns! We even saw Monaco from about 50m away so I think we can count that as another country in our tally. I love coastal roads. There was probably a faster way to come, but I’m glad we got to do today’s amazing drive.

(photo is not mine. Borrowed from google images)

Tonight we had pizza for dinner. After leaving Italy, we are still having pizza! (I also should report that I had either pizza or pasta everyday that we were in Italy. Good effort). Then, I had Cactus flavoured ice cream. It was so good. Like kind of a cross between musk and mint or something? I liked it anyway. Hope had jasmin. The lavender one was also good. And another flower one I can’t remember. Yum.



Day Two Hundred and Forty Six: Cinque Terre

September 23, 2012

Weather: 25oC
Money: €23 accommodation + €10 train + €8 lunch + €4 breakfast + €6 gelato + €10 dinner = €61

We’ve had a busy and exploratory day today. We bought a combined parks and train pass today which allowed us to walk between the five towns or catch the train as much as we wanted. We walked from Riomaggiore and Manarola and it was beautiful. Tonight we will go again and watch the sun set. That will be swell.



We caught the train between the rest because the easy path is closed and the other one is yucky. And we had the wrong shoes on. Good excuse Taryn.

My favourite town was Vernazza. Cute.




Day Two Hundred and Forty Five: Pisa

September 23, 2012

Weather: 20oC
Money: €23 accommodation + €5.50 lunch + €2 train + €10 dinner + €5 gelato = €45.50
Bus hours/Kms: 2.5/166
Sleeping arrangements: Affittacamere Patrizia, 4 bed dorm with bathroom
Current town: Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

Something I like about Busabout is that they make it easy to decide where we should go. Something else I like is that they make photo stops at things that are worth seeing but that you wouldn’t want to spend a night at. Like, Pisa.

Our bus left Florence at 8am as is normal after a compulsory night stop. We made our stop at Pisa at about 9:30. By that time, the area around the Leaning Tower was already super busy. It’s pretty cool, but once we’d taken our compulsory ‘leaning’ photos, we were done there. Just in time to go back on the bus!

We arrived to La Spezia at lunch time and caught the train to the town of Riomaggiore where we are staying for two nights. The town is the first of five small cliffy seaside villages called Cinque Terre. My limited Spanish and even more limited Italian makes me think it translates as ‘five lands’, which is cute.

Our ‘hostel’ is basically one of many apartments around Riomaggiore. We have eight people in ours and it’s about 20 steps from the harbour, although it has no windows so we can’t see anything. It’s pretty good though!

We are keen to explore a bit tomorrow!




Day Two Hundred and Forty Four: Gelato

September 21, 2012

Weather: 27oC
Money: €23 accommodation + €9 gelato + €8 lunch + €13.50 dinner + €11 art gallery = €64.50
Current city: Florence

Beautiful day in the land of Flo today. I love it here. Especially in the sun. It’s sweet as.

We got up early again today to get to the gallery where Michelangelo’s David lives. We only had to wait for about 15 minutes which was awesome. The gallery is nice. It’s small enough to manage in one go without being overwhelmed with too many rooms or too much information. It was a good morning trip.

I spent ages on Facebook today uploading photos. You lucky blog readers get photos as they happen. Facey readers have to wait five months. Bahaha.

This afternoon we went up to Michelangelo Piazza. There is a nice rose garden with no roses and a lot of cool sculptures. Also, the view of Florence is awesome!




Here is a David replica. He’s living in a plaza with lots of other statues.

Tonight we went out for a lovely dinner with our lovely friends. It’s both of their birthdays today. Ahh.



Tomorrow we leave Florence. And I haven’t even done a blog on my Flobservations. Oh well.


Day Two Hundred and Forty Three: Umbrella

September 20, 2012

Weather: 17oC, raining
Money: €22 accommodation + €1 coffee + €3.50 lunch + €6 gelato + €3.50 dinner = €36
People with umbrellas: 2000

It was raining on the rock today. We had an early start to catch up with Teresa and Jane for a cheap but excellent coffee before they museumed it up. Our early start didn’t lead to greater productivity, however, as the rain was a coming down. So, we returned home for some skyping and Facebook.

We ventured out again when the cleaner wanted to clean the room. This time, we did some seeing of things. First, a massive crowd of umbrellas.


There are these people sell umbrellas. A lot of people selling a lot of umbrellas. And I guess it’s a good business when it’s raining. But gee it makes for annoying sightseeing. Umbrella people are annoying. They can’t drive them. Ahh.


There’s an old bridge in Florence that is one of only three bridges in Europe with shops along it. Apparently it survived WW2 because Hitler liked it. So we set about to find it. And, it was not hard to locate. Follow the umbrellas!


We also saw some cool buildings. I like this one. It’s not even marked on the map!


We met up with the girls for gelato before returning home for a repeat of yesterday’s home cooked pasta. Yum and cheap!

Tomorrow we are going to go see David in the gallery. Apparently the line can be up to three hours long so we will go early!


Day Two Hundred and Forty Two: Firenze

September 19, 2012

Weather: 22oC
Money: €23 accommodation + €5 lunch + €2 gelato + €6.50 dinner = €36.50
Current city: Florence
Bus hours/Kms: 1.5/71
Sleeping arrangements: David Inn, 6 bed dorm with bathroom

We had a nice sleep in today and then went on a downhill hike to the supermarket to pickup some breakfast and lunch supplies before catching the bus to Florence. Downhill hike means uphill hike too, which is always unfortunate.

The bus left Siena at 1 and we were at our hostel in Florence by 3. It seems really nice so far! I think the place that is the Busabout drop off hostel was fully booked when we booked our accommodation, so we are staying somewhere else. It’s literally across the road from the gallery where Michelangelo’s David is living and the monster duomo is at the end of the street.

Speaking of duomo, a duomo is a cathedral church, that may or may not be in use, according to Wikipedia. There you go, I know you were all left hanging after yesterday’s question. Anyway, the duomo in Florence is huge. But very beautiful. And you can pay to go in, pay to look at the baptistery, pay to go up the bell tower and pay for something else. Costly little venture. I’m happy to enjoy the free exteriors!



We only had a little bit of exploring time today. Much more to come in the next two days!



Day Two Hundred and Forty One: Il Campo

September 19, 2012

Weather: 23oC
Money: €22 accommodation + €3 breakfast + €7 lunch + €11 dinner + €6 gelato = €47
Current country: Italy
Current region: Tuscany

Siena. Cute town of amazing gelato. We caught the bus into the old town. It’s car free, which is nice. Apparently taxis, buses, scooters, motorbikes and even some cars don’t count as cars.

I’d say Siena is doable in about 1 hour. It is very cute though, and there are some cool old buildings. The main piazza is called Il Campo and they have a famous horse race there twice a year. We made it our destination for lunch and some of the afternoon.


Teresa and Jane, our new friends, recommended amazing gelato at a place called Grom. I had blueberry and yoghurt and it was amazing. It tasted like 100 blueberries, all mashed up and frozen. It was so delicious. And, so healthy that I could justify having another ones from a different place later.


Siena has a cool Duomo. I don’t know this word but it seems to be the word for a big church. Anyway. It has a Duomo. We don’t pay to go into things anymore, but this one is known for its amazing marble floors.


We caught the bus home and had dinner at the campsite, pizza, surprisingly! Loving Italy!


Day Two Hundred and Forty: Siena

September 19, 2012

Weather: 20oC
Money: €22 accommodation + €9 lunch + €2.50 gelato + €10 dinner = €43.50
Bus hours/Kms: 3.5/235

We left Rome today. It’s a bit sad because I did really love it. But I’m satisfied with what we did there! The bus left from the other side of the city at 8am and buses only run once an hour on Sunday, so we left our house at 6am.

We made it in plenty of time, and departed Rome for Siena. On the way, we stopped for a couple of hours at Orvieto, which is a cute cliff top village. We took the funicular up to the top and had some exploring time which included amazing gelato.




The bus arrived to Siena at lunch time so we ate and then had a rest in the afternoon. Apparently we can both fall asleep at any time. Whoops.

Hope we can sleep tonight!




Day Two Hundred and Thirty Nine: When in Rome…

September 16, 2012

Weather: 26oC, beautiful
Money: €20 accommodation + €6 train + €6.50 lunch + €2 gelato + €50 art + €6 dinner + €12 colosseum = €102.50
Tourist attractions seen: a lot.

Today we smashed out the tourism on our last day in Rome. We went crazy!

First was the Roman Forum. It’s basically ruins, next to the Coloseum. It’s super cool. These are old council buildings, churches, monuments and palaces. I can’t believe stuff this cool exists!





Next was Palatine Hill which in the day was the upper class area of Rome and also the hill where it is believed that Romulus founded the city from!

This was a garden, even though it looks like (and is called) a stadium.

Next was the Colosseum. I loved it. It’s super cool. And big, and exactly how I imagined it.



After that, we caught the train to Termini and then a bus into the old part of the city. Some crazy dude was mouthing Hope, we aren’t really sure why, but we ended up getting off the bus before our stop. He was mental. And lucky we got off because Hope almost would have clawed his face off. She said he was lucky she trimmed her fingernails today. I can imagine her doing that, too. Anyway, we happened upon a few things. One was Trajan’s Market. There was no market that I could see, but I could imagine it on the space. The story goes that he wanted a market but didn’t have enou space so he dug out an entire hill.

Next was the Palazzo Venezia which is one of the palaces of Renaissance Rome. It’s where Mussolini gave his speeches from! Next was the Pantheon (our actual destination for the city). I liked it and it makes me insanely excited for Athens.


We wandered through Piazza Navono to have a look at the fountains. There were heaps of artists there and I might have bought some art to carry around for the next couple of months. It’s of Rome though, so I think it’s ok. The lady I bought it off was from Scotland and was really sweet. I think I only bought it because she didn’t hassle me!


Our last stop was the Spanish Steps which we didn’t really care if we saw or not, but we were kind of in the area. We saw them, but not really. Here’s why:


So. Tonight Hope cooked pasta for dinner and we have packed, ready for a stupid early start in the morning! We are camping in Siena, so might not have internet for blogs! Seems to be the way with the camp sites. Don’t stress mums! X


Day Two Hundred and Thirty Eight: Vatican and Trevi

September 15, 2012

Weather: 19oC, drizzle
Money: €20 accommodation + €15 tour + €15 Vatican entry + €5 snacks + €5 lunch + €9 dinner + €4.50 train = €73.50
Country tally: 25 (I can count the Vatican, right?)

We did a tour today of the Vatican and surrounding areas. It was great. It started at this church, one of Michelangelo’s creations. It’s called Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri or the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs at the Diocletian Baths for short. I liked it. Old. 20120914-225728.jpg

We wandered the streets for a while, looking at different things and then had a lesson on the history of Christianity, which I’m ok with. We stopped at Castel Sant’ Angelo, which was originally built to be for Emperor Hadrian’s tomb, until it was converted into the Papal fortress, residence and prison. Now its a museum. We also stopped here for the Bridge of Angels.



Our tour guide told us about the Popes and the first (untitled) pope, Jesus’ right hand man, Peter. Peter’s tomb in underneath St Peter’s Basilica, which is the biggest church in the world, the first legal Christian church, and the tallest building in Rome. It has 4.5 tonnes of gold inside. And it is CRAZY. Massive.



Inside is this:

It’s the Pieta by Michelangelo. Carved out of a chunk of marble, it’s Mary and Jesus. Michelangelo finished this by the time he was 24.


I like this. These are massive artworks, and the are many of them. It looks like a painting but actually it’s glass mosaic type things. Who can believe that! No wonder the interior decoration took 36 years!

This is a bronze canopy over St Peter’s tomb. Apparently it took all the bronze in Rome to build half of it and they got the rest from the Pantheon. Rude.

Photo credit to Wikipedia. It’s better than mine!

Next destination was the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. I found them fairly underwhelming, but to be fair, we were getting tired and maybe didn’t give it a fair go. Here are photos! Again, props to Wikipedia. No photos allowed in Sistine!




I guess it is pretty incredible when you see the size of it and effort that it would have taken dear old Michelangelo who didn’t want to do it, didn’t enjoy doing it and hated it after doing it!

After the Vatican we went to the Trevi Fountain, which is epic. Or in Italian, epico.


Rome for the win. I love it!
Like this Swiss guard uniform.