My dear readers, as you know the past days haven't been easy for various reasons. Obviously, the major reason was the demise of my wonderful angel, Lilly, the second is that I seem to be related to people who cannot get good internet deals. Seriously, I have been staying with my generous sister whose internet connection simply sucks and now I am with my parents whose connection is horrendous, too, which is a total nightmare for a wannabe blogger like myself.
Anyway, cease procrastination and complaint and start with the deal. As I have already mentioned, my man and I went to Italy, partly because we are so eager to go on our Europe trip (honestly, no worries, there will be a good update on that later next week), and secondly I needed a getaway after my lovely dog died on 19th September, so I am going to elucidate on that in this post.
First of all, I have to confess something which will convince most people I am positively mad. I am not entirely keen on Italy. I don't really like the language, the way people act there and the general disorganisation and unwillingness (or incapability) to speak English the Italians sport. Still, living in Tirol at the moment means we are very close to bella italia and as we could borrow my man's sister's car as she is presently in London nannying for the family I nannied before, we decided to give ourselves some extra sun-time before heading to the Great (and cold) North.
We stayed for three days, Wednesday to Friday and commenced our journey in rainy and dreary Austria to be welcomed by warm rays of sunshine as soon as we had crossed the border. Italy has a beautiful landscape, though it is hard to put it down to one, as the country develops from the expansive land of the Po area to the soft, rounded hills of Tuscany, wine yards sprawling over the hills and pine trees lining the boulevards. We got a decent wisp of summer down there and soon realised we were dressed far too warmly for the occasion.
Our first stop was the lovely city of Verona in which Shakespeare's famous play Romeo and Juliet is set. Italian cities are mostly enticing, but Verona is a special treasure to encounter. Small, typically Italian streets spread out from the circular piazza which is dominated by the beautifully ancient amphitheatre, the corners lined with pizzerias and a huge fountain centering everything. We reached the piazza and nearly didn't want to leave anymore, but I wanted to show my man the Romeo and Juliet house which is just off the main streets, tucked away in one of the little streets, but always detectable by the throng of tourists pouring in and out. First, you walk through a stony archway which is covered in love messages from people all around the world. Many unorganised tourists who didn't think of a piece of paper and pen to bring, simply used plasters to immortalise their messages.
When you walk through the archway, overwhelmed by the thousands of messages, you enter a little backyard where you can see a house with the infamous balcony where Juliet spoke about her true love. Also, you will find a statue of dear Juliet and it is, so I have heard, common tradition to touch her left breast when taking a picture; however, they had just repainted her left breast golden when we came, so probably they don't like people doing that after all.
We didn't go inside the house as I could recall it was only remotely interesting and we rather opted for exploring the city. We ended up having lunch at the piazza in a quite decent restaurant before we decided to wave goodbye to Verona and continue our journey.
Initially, we wanted to go to Bologna, but the traffic there was so horrendous, we immediately turned around and went on to a motel/hotel in the middle of somewhere which wasn't necessarily nice and was called Oasi something, but it couldn't have been further from an oasis. It wasn't necessarily bad, but simply cold and uninviting and the breakfast was a complete catastrophe (of you can count wrapped up croissants, mouldy fruit and a dingy breakfast room as breakfast included).
So, obviously, we didn't linger the next day and drove on to Florence, which, personally, I don't really like as a city. It is beautiful, admittedly, but terribly crowded by tourists, horrendously overpriced and full of con people who try to rip you of your money. I, honestly, would suggest other cities like Verona, Siena or San Gimignano, which was the city we headed to next, after a little detour to Volterra. Volterra, like San Gimignano, is a picturesque, medieval old town, perched on one of the smooth Tuscan hills. Volterra hasn't much to offer but a stunning view and lovely little lanes winding through the city.
In the evening, we arrived in San Gimignano, even more lovely than Volterra, perhaps, and I would highly recommend visiting San Gimignano when going to Tuscany. There, we stayed in a lovely B&B/guesthouse accommodation which I can highly and which was called Il Fuego. You will find pictures of it in the gallery below; however, getting there and getting the key is slightly complicated, especially as the man renting it out doesn't speak a scrap of English and you had to walk to their restaurant inside the town walls to return the key. Still, a really nice place to stay.
The next morning we explored San Gimignano before heading towards the sea and Pisa. As much as I can recommend San Gimignano, as little I can say the same for Pisa. Sure, the tower is cool but apart from that it is a dusty, ugly city with nothing much to offer and as soon as you have seen the tower you can tick it off your bucket list, if you ask me.
As it was already getting really autumnal in Austria, it was lovely to get the last fingers of summer in Italy and when we finally reached the sea, stopping in a little city called Forte dei Marmi, which was a holiday place for superfluous people with too much money and once I may be one of them, I might return there. We actually got to swim in the sea, which was amazing, even though I had to go in my underwear (highly underestimating the Italian weather).
Being in a state of summery bliss, we decided it was time to go home and drove through the night. We saw this little journey for the big one we are planning and which will be the major part of the future blog posts, so stay tuned for more information and reports on various cultures and countries.
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