I don't even know where to begin. Can I just say that Italy was AMAZING! I've been asked what my favorite part was and everything was so different that I don't have a specific favorite. I LOVE the city and therefore Rome was incredible. We spent the most time in Rome seeing all the sites: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Vatican, St. Peter's, Sistine chapel, Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps. We walked for days and days. We basically landed in Rome at 8:30 am on Monday, dropped off our stuff at the hostel and then went out for the day and it seemed to never stop for 4 days.
We found this little ristorante around the corner from our hostel and every night we were in Roma we were there for dinner. They had incredible bruschetta, not to mention lasagna, chicken, basically everything was fabulous! Service was fabulous too... adorable waiters!
After Rome, we headed to Florence where we basically spent half a day and saw the David. Also had the most incredible panini EVER! Salami and mozzarella. I ordered water to drink and they gave me a glass. The glass was broke so I left it on the counter and figured I'd just drink my water from the bottle... OH NO... you cannot do that in Italy. The little old woman brought me a glass to my table so I drank my water from a glass. I might add... no ice (ever). It's the little things you take for granted but I soooo have a new appreciation for ice. I even drank coke without ice!
After Florence, we were off to Genoa. It was beautiful there. We walked along Passeggiata di Nervi which looked over the Ligurian sea (aka Mediterranean sea). There was not any sand and people layed out on rocks! We finally found a beach with some sand but no seashells. Weird but still beautiful!
After Genoa we headed for the Alps (near Cuneo). We stayed with an old friend of Brigid's (Paolo) at Stiera Sport & Vacanza Villaggio. We went to a hot spring 20 km from the France border, a market, and white water rafting. This was probably the most relaxing time of our trip and Paolo was so much fun. Stiera Sport & Vacanza Villaggio is a great place! They have archery, kayaking, white water rafting, biking. It's a great get away from everything! The scenery is unbelievable and breathtaking. I thought I died and went to heaven there!
Next we were off to Venice. Again, another incredible city. We spent the day there, mostly at Piazza San Marco. Yes, every where you go is by boat. You can get around the city on foot via bridges but it's a lot easier via water buses. We stayed on the island of Lido which is close to Venice but cheaper. The beach was right across the street and the seashells on the beach were all intact! You could actually find a whole seashell unlike when you go to Cali or Hawaii.
Finally, we headed back to Rome on Friday so we could spend our last day in Rome for last minute shopping. When we got back to Rome, we went to our local ristorante and had some chicken. The waiters took us out dancing that night and it was definitely a night I plan to never forget! On Sat. we did our last minute shopping and went to Piazza Novona where I bought some drawings. I need to get them framed and put up in my house. I can't wait!!!
Finally on Sunday, Sept. 28th we were back on our way home. 8 hr 44 min flight from Rome to JFK. At JFK I was tired and exhausted and we had a hamburger (LOVE AMERICAN FOOD). We sat on the tarmac for 2 hours before we could take off... not the greatest thing to do when you are exhausted and just want to get home. We then had another 4-1/2 hour flight. We made it home safe and within a couple of days I was caught up on my sleep.
I can't wait to go back and explore southern Italy... hopefully meet some family as well. First though, need to finish my master's and learn some Italian.