Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Tuscany and Venice

So, no updates for a while.. will have to squeeze a lot into this one.

First, Florence. Florence was heaps of fun. We didn't do too many of the touristy places like the galleries and museums.. not enough time to see things properly. So we basically walked around the city at random.. spent a lot of time at the markets (the girls got a whole bunch of leather jackets) and went out and ate a lot of great food.

Of course, in Florence was the now infamous "Marco Incident" - where Jem got the number of this local dude Marco, and decided to go to dinner with him.. but only after convincing the rest of us to do covert surveillence and even eat at the same resteraunt. I'll leave the details to Mach.. bug him if he doesn't send an email with the story soon.

One of the days in Florence we did a day trip to Sienna. Sienna is a very cool city. Very pretty, quiet and with very few tourists. Unfortunately for us, later that day the local football team (Siena F.C.) was playing this other team, you might have heard of them, called "A.C. Milan". Yes, THAT A. C. Milan. The town got packed with football fans and wasn't much fun afterwards.. I'll definately be going back to Siena and Tuscany later on though. It's very picturesque, and has few tourists.

After Florence we had a day in Bologna - only because we didn't find accom in Venice. Blogna was a disaster in many ways - but with one definate highlight. Our "hostel" turned out to be a camping ground / motel in the outskirts of the city, and we had to walk for almost an hour with out packs to get there. Later we discovered the bus that would have taken us right there. Then, during our exploration of the city we managed to find ourselves in the University area - which quickly turned into the Newtown / Redfern of Bologna. Not very nice. After finally getting out of that place we managed to get to a big square, Piazza Saint Petriono. We walked into the Basillica not expecting much, but boy were we wrong. The place was HUUGE. Easily 50m roof, with multiple parabolic arches. Built in 1490 something, and used to crown Charles V in 1500 something. Awesome.

Leaving Bologna, we headed to Venice. The fabled Venice. Of course out accom was on the mainland in Metre - coz we left it too late to book. Finding the place was another adventure, but we finally did, after a hour of walking around. We even managed to take a bus going the wrong way and discover the Metre equivalent of Bankstown Square - where everything was priced NORMALLY, which is about 1/3 of what it costs in tourist places. We had dinner at a very cool pizza place where you can order your own custom pizza and they make it in front of you.

So, anyway, to Venice. What's my impressions of Venice? Not very good, unfortunately. Maybe it's just been hyped up too much, but all I saw was a fake city built around tourists. Every shop was just selling the same (impressive) tourist trinkets. The place is crowded beyond belief, and everywhere you turn you hear Amerian or Brish accents, or German or French or Spanish. I don't think I'll be coming back to Venice. It's like a zoo or a poor imitation of a once grand, LIVING city. The others seem to like it quite a lot, and are walking around as I type this up at this extremely expensive Venitian internet cafe.

Oh, also, Lucky and Thu are MIA. We haven't heard of them since we left Rome, and they haven't been answering SMSes. So hopefull they are ok.

We are headed to Prague soon (hopefully that will live up to least SOME of it's hype), after a day trip to Purda to check out it's Gothic architecture..

Hopefully the next update will be soon. With more pictures.

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