Two weeks of Pizza, Pasta and blistering heat

Well, it’s finally over. 16 days and Megan and I have officially conquered (parts of) Italy. For the curious out there, our itinerary looked something like:

  • 1 Day Pisa
  • 3 Days Florence
  • 4 Days Siena
  • 5 Days Naples
  • 1 Day Rome
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Our route through Italy

For the longer stops we did a lot of day trips to smaller towns (hence why this map looks a little crazy).

Some highlights from this wonderful country:

  • A place in Naples called “Egg Castle” that was literally built in the water…. and on an egg
  • Attempting to cook fresh pasta with clams (some success)
  • Eating too much cheap but delicious pizza (when our dinners were not a success)
  • Wine on wine on wine on wine
  • Day trip to Capri and taking a boat tour around the Island (BEAUTIFULLLLLL AGH)
  • Gelato gelato gelato
  • Pompeii (one of the best days I’ve had on this trip so far – even though we did slowly die from the 93+ heat all day – seriously you NEED to go in this lifetime)
  • The Tuscan sun and countryside
  • Italian people really do talk with their hands and really do say, “Mama Mia!”

Some things I didn’t like:

  • Wayyyy too many tourists (our fault for visiting this time of year)
  • Pretty expensive, budgeting was difficult some days
  • It was hot as hell (European heat wave)

 

Hmm… I suppose that’s all I have to really say about Italy so now comes,

“CIAOOOOO ITALY!” anddddddddddd

Здравей  България!

Yeah, good luck figuring that out.

Welcome to the Cyrillic alphabet and my next destination: Bulgaria.

 

Sorrento, Italy

Pompeii, Italy

Capri, Italy

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View in Capri
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Beachin ittttttttt

 

Naples, Italy

Pisa, Pizza, Pasta, Siena and Florence, Italy

Word of advice to those who are listening: don’t try to pull an all nighter and try to catch your 7AM flight. It’s going to end up with you sleeping on the floor of an airport. Maybe at some point, or many points, horrified parents rush their children away, silently judging your decisions. Meh, the kids need to learn at some point, right? Right.

And that was the story of how Alexa and Megan bid farewell to Germany.

 

 

Ciao Italy. 

 

(Ciao = hello)… that was me trying to use clever transitioning to begin discussion of our next destination:

ITALIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

(Italia = Italy)

MOVING ON…..

Our first stop was none other than the world famous Pisa. Mostly because the flights were the cheapest. Also because Pisa has some sort of tower you’re supposed to visit. 

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After much pizza and Pisa and about 36 hours we headed to our next bus… well if you want to get technical we “ran after the bus as it rode away from the station to Florence”. From there, we met one of Megan’s friends from North Carolina, Sarah. We ate more delicious pizzas and reminisced in friendship. ‘Twas a grand time all around.

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Me, Megan and Sarah in Florence! Yay!

Florence had some insane history and beautiful architecture, but it was soooooooo busy. I mean, this was probably the busiest city I’ve visted so far. I completely understand why everyone wants to visit such a historic city but holy crap there were too many people for this lady. Most of the time tickets for museums, galleries and even day trips were sold out. Travelers had to book days, if not weeks, in advance to get into any sort of attraction. Most of the time Megan and I just walked around, enjoying the sites and reading up on different buildings.

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I’d say my favorite day was when we rented bikes and rode around the whole city. You have to understand, Italian streets are tiny compared to the US. There are pedestrians EVERYWHERE and Italian drivers just don’t give a fudgeeeee about where they go. They drive like madmen and cut people off all the time. Sometimes at random they’d yell out the window in Italian. Half the time it was to another crappy driver, half the time they were just saying hi to their friend on the street. Either way, it all sounded so angry (I sound like such a Midwest driver right now)….. My point is, Italian drivers are crazy, but if you need to get somewhere fast, call one up.

So, at first, Megan and I were riding our little bicycles going, “holy crap holy crap we’re going to die”. We yielded to everyone and gave plenty of space to those around us. At one point, we got split up in a roundabout because I was too scared to pull infront of a tiny smart car.

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After that I basically said, “Screw it, we’re in Italy. If we want to ride like a Italians we need to think like Italians.” I summoned the skills I acquired from months of driving in Detroit and Megan pulled some sort

 of “fuck it” attitude out of her back pocket because by the end of the day we were whizzing around those Italian streets like we owned them. Come to think of it, at some point I remember riding that bicycle and shouting, “WE OWN DEEZ STREETS!”.

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great day.

Ciaooooooo Florence. 

(Ciao also means goodbye).

……and ciao Siena.

Siena, for those of you who don’t know, is in the Tuscan region of Italy. This is the famous wine region that we all envision when we see think of Italy. Long, winding roads, grape vineyards for miles, red roofed, Tuscan homes and tiny Italian cars. The picture perfect place for a romantic evening for you and your sigificant other…….. Or if you don’t have a significant other, your travel half, Megan, will do.

Traveling through Tuscany can be very difficult if you don’t have a car (which we didn’t – that shit is expensive). So, we had to figure out bus routes through the Italian countryside. Yeah, it sounds easy, but let me tell you…… busses are unreliable because they’re very infrequent and evidently there are times that they don’t even show up. COOL.

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Montepulciano, Italy with our new friend, Ash! 🙂

 

Regardless, we made it to a couple different small towns. Let me just throw some fancy Italian town names at you to show you I am now cultured in the Tuscan countryside: Montepulciano, San Gimingio and Monterigonni. 

Montepulciano was one of my favorites. The town was located atop a huge hill and surrounded by castle walls. There were free wine tastings on every corner. Tunnels were built under the entire town and they’re now used as these massive underground wine cellars. Seriously, every tiny shop we passed seemed to have some sort of secret underground wine system going on. We got to tour a couple, and even got very fashionable aprons from one of the tasting rooms. Alexa is stepping up her domestic game.

 

San Gimingio was special in its own way. Back in the day the town was full of competing families that wanted to prove they were better than one another. Obviously the only way to do this is to build giant towers. Not just any giant tower, that’d be ridiculous. See, your family’s tower has to be taller than all the other towers or you’re not the best.

“Oh, the Robinson’s now have a 52m tall tower? Next week let’s add 2m so we’re even better.”

So it went, these famlies just kept building these tall towers to prove they were better than one another. At one point, there were over 70 towers in the small little town. Then, one day, the head of the town was like, “Nah y’all have to stop because this is getting ridiculous. No one can build a tower taller than the one in the main square. Take it all down you fools.” This was in the 1200s. Obviously, not all of them are left, but we were still privleged enough to see a few left.

Ontop of all this amazing history and tower battles………San Gimingio had some of the best gelato in all of Italy (I googled it). GELATOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO yassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

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Tiramisu with Blueberry + Ricotta…. I died of happiness

All sarcasm and wit aside, the Tuscan area was amazing. I think the bus rides were the best part. Don’t get me wrong, free wine tastings, gelato, and all the historic buildings were great, but I just loved watching the countryside roll on by. Too pretty.

 

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Another great part of our stay in Siena? Going to karoke with our hostel, dancing on chairs and eventually walking through a McDonald’s drive through with my new Aussie friend, Lil. I don’t even like McDonald’s. Guess the travel life has really started to really change who I am as a person.

Ciaooooooooo Siena.