After traveling in Italy for nearly a month and visiting cities both great and small, I am still in awe of everything that London has to offer. London was a wonderfully rich experience. Here’s what we did in a single afternoon, after exploring the city on foot all day. Continue reading
This is a simple one: pack less stuff.
Seriously. Less, less, less.
We are in love with the rail system in Italy. You can, without planning ahead and without spending much money, arrive at a train station, buy tickets from a machine using a touchscreen, and board a train headed to your next destination. Traveling like this allows you to roll into a place like Pisa, take the requisite photo of you and your mates propping up the tower, and roll out in around an hour. Like Venice, Pisa is a place that you want to “check off” and move on. Continue reading
We left Florence almost on a whim on Wednesday the 12th after recalling the pictures and descriptions of a small section of the Italian coastline called Cinque Terre (CHING-kwah TEHR-ah). We booked a place to stay only the morning we left Florence, just before heading to the train station towards the coast. We headed west through Italy, landing in Monterosso al Mare (the northernmost of the five towns in Cinque Terre). After that, we caught a train two towns north of that and landed in Bonassola, where we are staying.
When traveling, it’s a good idea to try not to visit a place just to “tick it off the list” of places you wish to see. Instead, you should learn a little about the place you are visiting, check out its local food and drink, meet its people, see what it looks like under a setting sun, that sort of thing. Venice… Venice is a little different. A sure sign of troubling things to come: when you can see not one but three cruise ships docked next to the city you are in route to. Continue reading
The past two weeks feel like both a blur and a lifetime. Just over two weeks ago, we were in London, and before that, in the States. We have only really been gone for three weeks… but it just feels like ages upon ages. Part of it may be that we aren’t really planning our trip ahead of time, just the next step. It has been tough for me to not know what every step in our journey is and when it will end, but this has enabled us to ultimately have better experiences, I think, because we are more open to them. Continue reading
We woke this morning around 7:30 am to bright sunshine and a gentle breeze. It was chilly out, especially in the shade, but the sun made up for it. It’s now 12:30 pm, and in that span of time we’ve experienced clouds, rain, thunder, lightning, and hail (for the third time this week!). It’s now overcast with light rain and a gentle breeze. The locals are telling me that this is the coldest weather in 200 years. Not exactly what comes to mind when you think of central Italy in late May.
22nd of May, 2013
Picking up where we left off in a previous post, we stopped at a bar in Perugia for our first Italian meal – pizza and a beer! We each ordered our own small pizzas and were hungry enough to eat the whole things with beer. They were deeeelicious!
Perugia is beautiful. It’s everything you’d expect from a small Italian town - everything is stone, the buildings climb 5+ stories on both sides of the narrow streets, the food smells amazing, and the sun is shining. That’s right, sun! Hear that London? There is a SUN! Continue reading
20th of May, 2013
Today, we decided to do the last few touristy things we wanted to do in London. We ate a decent breakfast, then bought some all-day train passes at the station near us. This would enable us to get into some of the major attractions in London at a 2-for-1 price. Our first visit was to the Tower of London! We decided to visit the Crown Jewels first as I had read in some travel blog somewhere that this is very popular and can get crowded later in the day. We headed straight towards the building that housed the jewels and waited in line just before a couple large groups of school children got in line. Score! Or so we thought. Turns out school kids don’t have the same type of appreciation for history and learning as we do, so once we were actually in, their whole goal was to glance at each item, say “ooh, ahh,” then rush on to the next one. We finally decided to just wait for all the kids to pass so we could relax a bit more. Everything was beautiful and lavish – tons of gold and jewels for everything used in ceremonies, including giant gold punch bowls that hold around 114 bottles of wine (around 22.5 gallons of wine!). That will get you a little drunk! Continue reading