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Posts Tagged ‘italy’

The Day of Three Cities

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2014 at 3:49 am

One of the most memorable days on this trip has to be a day that we shall call ‘The Day of Three Cities’. When we booked the trip, we knew we wanted to see Florence, but we also knew it was very expensive to stay there, so we decided to leave Venice early in the morning, catch the train to Florence, spend the day there, and take a night train to Caserta where we would meet my lovely friend Marco who I hadn’t seen since my first shipboard contract. Whilst I was booking the trains, I realized that we would have 2 hours in the Pisa Centrale train station before the long train ride to Caserta. I recalled from my time on the Legend that the leaning tower of Pisa was not too far from the train station, so we could see the tower at night then catch our train. I ran this by the girls, they agreed, trains were booked, we were happy. To be honest I might not have ran it by them and just booked it, but…well…details.

Our last morning in Venice arrived; we got up and onto the train and off we went. Arriving in Florence, we found a place to check our bags (platform 16!!!! A stoic Italian gentleman informed us) and away we went to explore. Florence is truly a beautiful city, and having the whole day to explore it, we wandered up and down streets, into gelato shops and across bridges. We wandered up to the highest vantage points, introduced ourselves to the statue of David, and spent some time in the church at the top. Finding a fabulous restaurant at the bottom of the hill, we had some lunch with wine and enjoyed each others company.

While up at the top wandering around, we noticed a plethora of photographers and videographers and wondered what it could be. It was only later on after we had connected to wifi that we discovered it was in fact the paparazzi getting ready for the wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, festivities which we could see from a distance later on in the evening.

Returning to the train station, we caught our train to Pisa, which was…let’s just say….not the fanciest of trains that we caught during our trip. However we called it our midnight train and randomly broke into verses of Journey’s ‘Midnight Train’ and that made everything better. As we arrived into Pisa, my heart sank as it had been almost a year since I’d been to Pisa and at that time we had arrived on a different side of the city and walked towards the central station. AKA….I wasn’t sure what we were doing. We all had massive backpacks on and it was 1am…but our spirits of adventure persevered and off we went into the night. I won’t bore you with the arduous journey of three girls in the night searching for a leaning tower….let’s just cut to the chase. We found the leaning tower and it is just as brilliant at night as it is in the daytime!! We had the entire place to ourselves other than some mischievous Italian youths and we had a great time taking the traditional tourist pictures holding the tower….or pushing it over!

Success put a swing in our steps on the way back. Except for Saffie who had recently broken her foot and also packed quite heavily. But what couldn’t lift her feet still lifted her spirits and we made the short trek back to the train station, stopping only to get Emma a Nutella crepe…which was entirely necessary.

Our train from Pisa to Caserta looked as though it were one of those cool sleeper trains that you see in movies.

It was not.

Upon entering the cars, they looked quite like the Hogwart’s Express from the Harry Potter books, however once we got going, it was more like the train from the movie Eurotrip. Foreign strangers with less than pleasant odors and no English skills made for a very interesting train ride, one which only Emma managed to sleep on, and only because she covered her entire head and shoulders in her jacket. Saffie and I huddled away from our stinky bench companion and tried to sleep, however were often awakened and weren’t particularly comfortable. But it certainly was an adventure, one which I would never take back, as it is hilarious to think about now.

Finally, we arrived in Caserta, at 8:30am that morning, bedraggled and sleep deprived, however we had successful been in three cities that day!! From Venice to Florence to Pisa, and good times were had by all.

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So heavy!!!!

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Us ladies having a lovely time in Florence

Good Morning Italy

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 6:25 am

I must preface this post by saying that it’s not current even though it says ‘yesterday’ in there as if it’s current. It was current when I wrote it, and I did have every intention of posting it immediately so as to be the kind of blogger who is very up to date with everything. However, as it does, life got in the way and I am now one of those bloggers who is apologizing for the delay and getting around to posting it a week later. In my defense, life is a grand adventure and the first rule of adventures is that they can be very distracting.* That being said, I quite enjoy a cheeky blog post written in first person present so I’m not changing it….I hope you enjoy a small tale of Italy….

As our train gently whirrs through the Italian countryside, I’m overwhelmed with waves of nostalgia as memories from the Legend Europe season come flooding into my brain. Arriving into Milan yesterday was hectic, finding our hostel stressful, and we really just focused on getting ready for today. When we booked the trip, it was hundreds of euros cheaper to fly into Milan, which is why we did, it was really only a stopover point. Arriving to a taxi strike meant lots of wandering, trams, trains, me speaking pieces of broken Italian, and by the time we got to the hostel we didn’t have much interest in exploring the city itself. Sorry Milan, I’m sure you’re lovely, I’ll have to give you another chance next time. We did, however, see a crazy massive cemetery and the beautiful architecture of the train station, so there’s that.

Up this morning at the crack of dawn, still exhausted from the calamity of Amsterdam, we arrived at Milano Centrale and located our train after several delicious Italian coffees (and a tea for Emma, she’s jolly well British that one is). Snuggled in my cosy Trenitalia seat, gazing out the window, I’m feeling particularly thoughtful. I am so excited to experience Venice again and in a whole new way. I can’t wait to see the city anew through the eyes of my friends and to remember old adventures. I think that has been one of my favorite parts of this trip so far, not only seeing new things myself, but watching my friends discover parts of the world that I already love. Their excitement makes me excited all over again, as though I’m seeing things for the first time as well.

That brings us here, to the train, still whirring along. I almost feel as though someone hit the pause button, and I have a small window of time with my thoughts. The girls are sleeping like angels, and the rest of the people in our car are eerily quiet, as if they know I need this time to myself. Looks like I still have time to catch a wee nap before we arrive. Dearest Venice, I can’t wait to see you again!! Ciao!!!!

*The second rule of adventures is to wear layers, because you never know!

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Amazing Moments: Trevi Fountain

In Uncategorized on November 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm

As I enjoy my delightful vacation, I’ve been going through all my pictures and remembering all my magnificent adventures. I have been so many amazing places and as I sift through my memories, certain pictures and stories keep coming back again and again as highlights. So I wanted to share some. Today’s photo is from my last day in Rome. The whole day was an amazing experience and the following picture of me tossing a coin into the Trevi fountain just reminds me of it. I can’t not look at this picture without it making me super happy. From the ring I’m wearing that was a gift from my two favorite guests on a Venice sailing to Barcelona, to the smile on my face, to the fountain itself, to the story it reminds me of, everything about this picture will always make my day!

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Pompei, Italy

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on June 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I have seen a lot of things in the last few months. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen thus far is Pompei. From where we dock in Naples, it’s just a short jaunt to the train station. We got to know the route the commuting locals took, which winds through the cluttered, narrow city streets and eventually past an amazing open air market. I always get distracted by the fresh produce and must stop to buy some for the journey. If I lived in Naples, surely I would purchase fresh fish from the market for dinner every night! The train is, well, it has character. Around the office, we’ve nicknamed it the Ghetto Train, as it’s not nearly as comfortable as the Venice or Rome trains (these ones are also more expensive and are more long distance trains than commuter trains, but still, it’s a little ghetto). They are covered in graffiti, which I actually quite like, but it’s not for everyone. Regardless of the train’s amenities, it gets you where you need to go, and that’s really the whole point of a train, isn’t it? And it’s very economical, which we’re big fans of! This particular train that we are concerned with goes to Pompei and Sorrento (where I also was lucky enough to visit, and will discuss later). This day we went to Pompei to explore the legendary city. There is really something chilling about Pompei. I’ve heard about it for years but no one ever managed to convey the sheer magnitude of the demolished city. Being there and seeing the ruins of the city you can almost feel what those people must have felt only moments before they were buried in molten lava. With Mt. Vesuvius towering over us in the distance, we explored the city, stopping to marvel at the mummified bodies of the city’s last citizens. The meticulous detailing in the painted walls that still survive today demonstrate the vibrant life that these people clearly enjoyed. I will never ever forget the feeling of being in that amazing city!!

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Taormina & Mt.Etna, Italy

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2013 at 6:56 am

First of all, I had a really hard time deciding what photos to include today because every single one is like a postcard!!

I loved this tour so much!! The bus ride to Taormina was about an hour so I practiced my bus napping skills. Once we got there the bus parked in an underground parking lot and we took a shuttle up the hill and ended up right in Taormina. The shuttle was super crowded and I think we all had some reservations at first but as it was just going a short way no one really seemed to be too concerned.

Once in Taormina we went to see the Greek theatre which was stunning, the view of Mt. Etna from the top of the theatre was absolutely breathtaking. The guide sat us down and told us all about the theatre and history and whatnot. She was very knowledgeable and helpful. We were fortunate to get there fairly early as there was only one other group of people there at that point. By 11 when we went to meet our bus, there were about 2000 other people everywhere. We had some extra time to shop in the little stores along the street and they had some really nice Sicily souvenirs, as well as gelato, etc.

From there we went for lunch at a lovely little restaurant. There was wine and water to drink, and salad to start, which was delicious and if the first serving wasn’t enough, the waiters came around with seconds as well. Bruschetta appetizers followed, and when I told the waiter I’m a celiac he brought me gluten free bread AND bruschetta on gluten free bread. Great success!! The had three different pasta courses for the mains, spooned out of giant dishes by our efficient servers. The waiter who brought me my appetizer also had some special pasta for me and I have NEVER had gluten free pasta as good as that. It was phenomenal and I was very impressed. For dessert they served up slices of very light and tasty almond ice cream with chocolate sauce. For all courses there was plenty of food and seconds were offered.

After the wonderful lunch we went off to Mt. Etna. I’m sure the tour guide had lots of interesting facts to share, however I practiced my bus napping skills the whole way there, much to the amusement of the guests sitting next to me. Mt. Etna was spectacular!! The craters were so cool and the view of Sicily was unparalleled. I bought a little charm made out of lava!! They had a nice coffee shop and restaurant and souvenir store up there as well.

 

Absolutely stunning, such a wonderful day!!!

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Snapshot from the Vatican

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2013 at 11:16 am

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Snapshot from Venice

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

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After spending last weekend in Venice, I can safely say that I am head over heels in love with Italy.