Friday, July 28, 2006

Florence (day 2) and Siena (day 1)

So I napped a bit, after seeing the sights, and then realized i got my days confused, and it was wednesday not tuesday, so I missed out on the Galleria della accademia, its okay though, ive been there twice, so it would have been nice for a third, but not essential.

I met a couple argentinian guys from Buenos Aires, and they laughed at my awful spanish and inability to understand their slang. My secret was out, talking to them left me feeling pretty inadequate.. maybe Ill spend a year in italy improving my italian, then a year in argentina fixing up my shoddy spanish.
THEN ill start on the living. HA.

I also met four portugese people, so we went out at night together, and ended up drinking in a cute little bar and meeting some brazilian, cuban, mexican and other hispanic people, so everyone was talking in their own language and everyone else was understanding, it was hillarious.


Drama. In the morning I was going to Siena. I woke up. I showered. I took my room key (which had my locker key attatched to it) with me. I came back into my room (which i was sharing with this crazy chinese girl who sang to herself). I put the key down. And I went to look for it on my bed two minutes later, and it was GONE.
I turned my suitcase inside out, searched EVERY nook and cranny. No Key. Which meant no locker, which meant no camera, passport, etc. AGH.
So I noticed that the chinese girl had her key, and had a locker key attatched to it (it didnt come like that from the hostel, i happened to have put my locker key on the same ring so that i wouldnt lose it, go figure). So i asked her to check and see if maybe ours got mixed up. She refused. I asked her to please just check just in case, and she went all psycho on me shouting jerry springer style that "no one accuses her of stealing".. woah.
I go downstairs and ask the guy to help me out here, but crazy chinese girl has already fled.
AFTER MUCH PANICKING, the guy who works there produces a spare key to my locker and i get my stuff out. But, because I "lost" (read: was nicked) my key, i had to pay a 10€ deposit. So, where i gained the 5 euros from stolen food yesterday I lost double.
Damn that Karma.

Now it also turns out that I am missing a skirt! I remember packing it, when i went to get changed in Siena it wasnt there... HUMPH, damn that karma, its getting me back doubletime.

Anyways, Siena. ((no pictures yet, will upload when i find a computer that lets me))
I met Laura in Siena and we went to the apartment she rented for the tour. I went to the market to get some food, and we chilled out.
We then rented our bikes with the three boys she was taking on the tour, and headed out to bike through Tuscany. MY GOD AM I OUT OF SHAPE!! I was in so much pain! so much hills, and my little legs couldnt do it!
We biked through this hillside town and passed all these sunflower fields, it was amazing.. then everyone biked back home, and I took the bus back being my weak self.
The guys who own the apartment were staying in cooked me dinner because Laura and the three boys went to a restaurant, and Im saving money.
I decided that maybe this biking through tuscany thing isnt for me, I just cant handle 5 hours a day of uphill going, my ass was SO sore this morning from that bloody bike seat.

So, no bike tour of tuscany for me. I had the one day experience, now its time to run away with my tail between my legs.
But.. INSTEAD, the two guys whose apartment were at are friends of Laura, and they invited me to go camping with them on the tuscan coast for two nights. So im going to see siena today, then go camping with the guys, then come back and see Perugia, Assisi and or Pisa.. then off to Ancona for Greece.

Pictures soon to follow.

Leave me comments people! i want to know this blog is worth the effort!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Florence (day 2)

On the train to Florence I was pretty cushy, laying on two seats all chilled...

So I woke up pretty early today and did the wandering thing, all the way to ponte vecchio, with the intent of going into the galleria della accademia, but the line up was huge. I saw a sign saying its open this evening at 7pm, so I may do that instead.
I bought the leather jacket that I saw with Joe back two years ago. 2 years ago they were letting it go for 150 euro, and i wouldnt pay more than 100 so i didnt end up getting it. Today I wandered into a shop and saw it, and the guy asked for 200 euro. I told him that I wouldnt pay more than 100, and he told me it was a "brand new model, only 2 months old" HA, TRY TWO YEARS!!!, anyway, he shouted at me and was generally nasty, so I left. Found the same jacket, and waddyaknow.. I managed to get it down to 120 euro.. I stopped trying to lower it more, because i was already pushing it by using my feminine wiles (no mom and dad, not like that, just the sheer fact that Im female, young, and theyre all greesy older italian men meant they gave me a good "nice people price", nothing more.)

Anyway, went to the supermarket and wanted to get some food because theres a fridge in my room. Heres where I feel really bad. I went to pay, with visa because i spent all my cash on the jacket, and their visa machine breaks down during the transaction. So they tell me to go to a cashpoint. I wander around looking for one, and cant find the supermarket to go back and pay!!! so I went to my hostel with 5 euros worth of unpaid for, practically stolen food. Karma is going to bite me for that one.

en la piazza del duommo

the gates of paradise

the cathedral

tasty chocolate goodness!

the ponte vecchio

The Rape of The Sabines, one of my favourite sculptures.. this isnt the original, thats in the vatican, ive seen it though!

A copy of the David that sits in Piazza della Signora.. this has nothing on the original, the original is massive and glows of beautiful white marble.. but woah, what a body.

The courtyard to the Medici Palace

pretty florentine streets..

"un panino perfavore!!"

and last but not least, the cliche tourist shot with the ponte vecchio behind.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


So I got on a train to Florence and met a girl called Laura, who studied in Bologna for a year but is originally from the San Francisco Area. She put together a biking tour of tuscany for american kids, and now it looks like im joining in! Its a bit pricy, but theres wine tastings, cooking courses, nights spent in monastaries, and biking through tuscany, Hurrah!

Anyone who knows me well knows that Florence is my favourite city in the world. I plan on retiring and having my vineyard in tuscany, with easy access to florence. Always.

Im here now. Third time in as many years. Last time i was here was with Joe for a couple days, Im only here a couple days again, so I hope to make the most of it.

Today I just settled into my hostel, which is surprisingly awesome.. I was supposed to be in a three bed dorm, but they put me in a double room, where Im the only person staying, so I have it to myself. The internet is free (hence the mass updates) and I have a fridge in my room so Ill be eating budget, hurrah! Not to mention Im hearing live jazz through the open window in the computer room.

I wandered around the Mercato di San Lorenzo, near the duomo, because I love it, its my favourite market, full of leather, books, and so many other curiosities, with people shouting at you to buy things at "especial pric'e" (pronounced like so).

Tomorrow Im going to la galeria della accademia to see Michelangelos David for the third time.. I love that statue, and the unfinished slaves are there as well. Then Im going to wander the Ponte Vecchio, and get lost somewhere and eat Gelati..

La vita e bella qui, como me piache la italia!

seriously, if you ever cant find me, look for me in Italy.


So I got into Venice at around 1pm, and thought Id have no trouble getting a hostel.... Oh i thought so wrong, so very very wrong. After calling every one I could, and spending 2 euro for 10 minutes to look someup on the internet (to find they were all full), I trudged back to the trainstation in the blistering heat (read- covered in sweat) to bargain with the guys who offer hotels at "discount" prices. They were all uber expensive, but one "very nice man" told me that all the rooms in his hotel were booked, but if i needed a cheap place to stay i could sleep in his room (read-in his BED) for a lower price. He assured me it was a very big bed. HA.
So, I choked and paid the 40 euros for a room of my own.. no creepy italian men in that one. Thats the second sicilian man who offers me a bed for the night. What is with them? You KNOW youre in italy when creepy men start talking to you. And apparently its blatantly obvious that im Argentinian.. or so everyone here tells me, my accent is a dead giveaway. Hah, read that all you people who keep telling me that Im canadian. HMPH.

Enough with the groaning and moaning. I ditched my stuff and bought a gelato to cool my nerves. I was hoping the pretty hostel Derek and I stayed in would be about, so I tried looking for it, but considering Derek and I had enough trouble finding it when we were staying there, Im not surprised that I couldnt even locate a trace of it.

I did all the sights that are there, I love venice, I loved it the first time, and although it isnt as great as it was when me and derek went, it was still beautiful.

Those of you who dont fall in love with Venice at first sight, I no longer value your opinion on anything aesthetic.
Proof follows:

The venetian specialty, masks..

Perfect timing, I have one with out, but I like the gondolieri.

I didnt dare get in one of these overpriced things, it gave me flashbacks to Derek and My Gondola Ride from Hell with the gondola armada back in 2003.. oh god. but theyre at least pretty to look at.

Now I only wish I had gotten up at the crack of dawn to see st.marcs square completely empty. I want to see it in winter too, so I guess Ill be coming back to Venice after all.. ((p.s., Derek, look at the tower on the right. thats where you and I sat for about three hours playing with my Venetian Masks and peoplewatching.. member?))

The armada.

Look Mom, Im tanned! Awful picture, I know. but at least Im not colore latte!

Now do you love Venice? I stepped foot there and decided that I need to live there at some point in my life. Thats final. Suiganme Los Buenos.


Salzburg was a one day affair, where I ended up making friends with a Korean girl whose name i cannot pronounce, spell, or remember, and she took me to the hostel she was staying at. Though we got on the bus in the wrong direction, so it took an hour and 15 minutes as opposed to 15 minutes. Balls.
Anyway, the Hostel was in the back of the church, part of the church really, and was gorgeous. Not cheap, but not the most expensive either.

Dropped my stuff and went exploring..

this is the front of the church I was staying in..

The streets of Salzburg..

Nothing makes me happier than the sight and the smell of a fresh fruit and veg market.
It really is the simple things in life that please. Although I thought this complicated contraption was hillarious. Its like a six man bike!

Austrian dolls anyone?

This is one of the main squares in Salzburg.. I loved the duomo and how unoppulant it was.

And these dudes playing mozart on wierd instruments was the icing on the cake!

I sat down to rest in the Mozart Square (named thus because of the huge mozart statue) and this adorable beautiful little girl was trying to work her camera.. I snuck a picture (naughty, I know) because I loved how she looked.. and this coming from someone who hates kids.

It would appear austrian fashion is either worlds ahead, or behind us..

View from my hostel window.. awesome.

At night I met up with the Korean girl again and we went to the square to watch "La Traviata", there was a festival on so they were showing it on a huge screen. I still prefer the Opera De Paris version I saw with Joe a couple years ago, this was a more modern adaptation, so I didnt cry when Violetta died.. but none'theless, the music was beautiful, and theres something about watching an opera for free in the open air with a bunch of strangers.

The next morning I was up at 530am thanks to the girls in my room, and left at 630am to catch my train to Venice.. Hurrah!

Vienna (day 2, 3, 4)

So, we arrive in Vienna direct from Prague, and on our way to our hostel we notice this, which was just plain funny for its own sake...

The hostel was pretty lush to find, thanks to Daves recommendation, it was also very chill, loads of people to chat to, and very friendly atmosphere..

We went out the first night with the entire hostel, pretty much. Everyone just got together and headed for the drinking-bar strip, for a night out. Lizzy stayed out dancing till 5am, but I was sleepy so I headed home, with a bit of drama of getting on the wrong bus with the two scotsmen that were at our hostel.

The next day we wandered around, seeing sights, and of course, for dinner we had the traditional feast.. Goulash and WienerSnitzel.. see? In a small little viennese restaurant.

Day 3 we went hardcore,First had a completely LUSH breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt and other tasty things in the courtyard of the hostel in the sun..

and then saw all the imperial palace, as well as some random pointy structures, while still having time to check out RUNCH comics, some crazy comic book store, where I got to hang out with Warf... theres one dream come true for me !

I also had a small affair with Spiderman.. but.. who can blame me.. hes so pretty.

So yes, Vienna is pretty, with a lot of pointy things.. see?

We went over to this church and met an orlandobloom lookalike named Gizmo.. (i shit you not, hes albanian)

Gizmo was friendly and let us model mozartstyle, so...

Bet he regrets it now!

Then we went into Mozarts House, though we werent allowed to take pictures inside, so heres the outside..

Took a break and had some proper Viennese cakes, their traditional chocolaty one and another one that was so unbelievably divine

Walked past what I thought was one of the coolest posters ever..

And of course, the imperial palace saved for last..

(Band playing within the courtyard of the palace)