Saturday, 26 July 2014

Amy’s Adventurous Adventures in Europe: Italy

Europe Arts Tour: Days 9 - 14

Maybe in an alternate universe I wouldn’t have been excessively lazy and would have actually completed my series of blogs on my travels around Europe within a month of when I got back…

The final three stops on our fabulous, magical escapade were Venice, Florence and Rome, and seeing as they are all in the same country (Italy for all you non-geographers who live under rocks in the Serengeti) I have decided to combine them into one great big blog. Note that this is entirely unrelated to the fact that at this point in the trip I was so lazy that almost all of my entries into my travel journal were little more than: “We did this. It was fun. I am tired.”

 Anyway, one very long, cramped and unsanitary train trip swept us into Venice. Of course, the sightseeing was pretty much filled with every single teenage girl grumbling about how hungry she was and how all she wanted was to have a long shower, but even then the complaints were interrupted by sighs of amazement at the stunning city. Eventually, we were taken to lunch and given a proper Italian welcome: A full plate of lasagna for a starter and then a massive salad and then some chicken and then tiramisu. You could’ve rolled me back to the hotel, I swear.

Although the Venetians are fantabulous at cooking, I have to say that their drama – or at least the one play we had the unfortunate luck of seeing – is… Terrible, to put it lightly. The only part of our trip that was meant to satisfy the drama students was going to see a play on the history of Venice – in English, thank goodness. While it was intended to be humorous, I don’t think I heard one person laugh for the entire performance. You know when a play is so bad it’s funny? Well this play was so much worse than bad that it wasn’t even amusing any more; it was just plain bad. Luckily on the way home we discovered a stall that sold ‘Pizza Wraps’ (which are basically just rolled up pieces of pizza) and were immediately cheered up once again by the genius of Italian cooking.
Me shamelessly posing by a river

The next day consisted of even more sightseeing and another art museum – the Peggy Guggenheim collection, which was phenomenal, even coming from a person who does not understand art or the intention behind it whatsoever. Then the highlight (after the food) of our stay in Venice: the gondola ride. Our gondolier refused to serenade us, though, but it was enchanting and stunning all the same.

At this point we had to take another train to reach Florence, which I didn’t mind so much at first, because it was a fairly nice train and my iPod was fully charged. It ended up being a nightmare when our train came to a halt in the middle of the trip. We had to wait on the stationary train for police to come and investigate the scene, because apparently a woman had tried to commit suicide on the rails (it was truly awful and saddening, but the bigger issue amongst the passengers seemed to be that we were running out of food). And incredibly enough, the group of girls on the train behind us (our group had to be separated – I’m not sure why) had a drunken stowaway on board, so they too had to witness a police investigation. We reached Florence just before midnight, over five hours later than we’d expected to arrive.

The highlight of the Florence trip was definitely our bike ride through Tuscany (technically not in Florence but whatever). Even though I am even less coordinated on a bike than I am on foot, I would even go so far as to say it was one of my favourite parts of the entire tour. Except for the part where I almost rode into a – stationary – car and my music teacher almost crashed her own bike because she was laughing so hard at me… The sights were stunning though, and we stopped for lunch at a little restaurant right in between all the hills for the best meal of the trip – but maybe that’s just because we’d been riding bikes all day. Eventually, it started raining, but that was good because it meant we didn’t have to ride up this huge hill to get back to where we’d started – instead the tour leaders brought down trucks to fetch us all. After that we toured this beautiful little castle where the owners of a wine farm lived, and I’ve decided that when I’m a famous multimillionaire I’m going to buy it. (HAH. Amy as a multimillionaire… Good one…)

Second highlight of Florence: ice cream cone as big as my head and the Disney store, because we are all secretly children at heart and can’t resist a life-size Simba toy and ice cream no matter how much we say we “like” salad and makeup.

Thank you, Pantheon, for being so photogenic
And our final stop: Rome. Rome is absolutely incredible. Of course we saw all the major things like the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Pantheon. We also ate a bucket load of ice cream because it was so incredibly hot, and then pizza because when in Rome… (See what I did there? Wow I am hilarious, good job, Amy.) If we thought Rome was busy, we were in for a shock when we went to the Vattican. Oh. My. Word. After that trip I was almost sure that I would be perfectly content if I never saw another human being again in my entire life. (Okay so I was kind of like that before I went… But after the trip I was even more convinced.) It was still pretty, but so, so tiring.

I was almost relieved to get on the flight to Paris, and then another flight home. Scratch that – I was REALLY relieved to get on the flight home. Even though the trip was amazing, there’s only so much sightseeing that you can take. Also, there’s only so much teenage girl you can take. (Yes I realize I am also a teenage girl, but I like to think I am part of the elitist group that prefers to listen to Green Day rather than One Direction and is more concerned with their reading and internet habits than how much lipstick they should wear to appear “sexy but not slutty, yah know?”) You won’t be surprised to read that the last entry in my travel journal is: “I can’t wait to get home. I just need some SPACE,” with “space” in huge bold letters and underlined several times…

On the whole, though, it was a phenomenally magical trip and I would just about cut off my finger to be able to go back to those places (probably only with a small group of super duper close friends if I’m being entirely honest). Yeah, the awesomeness of these places is really not expressed very well in my blogs (as you can tell) but I highly recommend going there anyway. Well, I recommend going everywhere. Keep travelling until you find somewhere where there are no people or bugs or scary, weird animals, but lots of food and free wifi and an abandoned bookstore nearby. Then you can call me and send me a coded message with instructions on how to get there, and then you can erase it from your memory. That would be really great.

Thanks for reading, if you got this far. (It was really long but we all know how lazy I am so I probably won’t cut it down…)

I think the number one thing we’ve learned about this experience is that I should never ever become a travel writer. Ever.

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