Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today, we saw the Belfast murals. They are powerful and beautiful and terrifying.

Today, we saw the Belfast murals. They are powerful and beautiful and
For those who aren't familiar with the Troubles in Northern Ireland,
they truly began 800 years ago when England concquered Ireland and
imported English and Scottish Protestants, creating a caste structure.
Over hundreds of years, native Irish Catholics were systematically
persecuted. However, in the northern portion if Ireland, more British-
loyal Protestants lived than Irish-loyal Catholics, so after the War
for Irish Independence, when 26 of the 32 counties won their
independence from Britain, the northern 6 counties opted out of the
new Republic of Ireland. They considered themselves British citizens,
and didn't want to be a single small province in a predominantly
Catholic Irish country.
And so the fighting began, because the republican Catholic minority
wanted to be part of the Irish Republic, and many of those in the
Irish Republic harbored bitterness about the poor treatment over the
centuries and didn't feel that they could rest until all British
influence had been driven out of the country.
Please be aware, btw, that this is only the barest overview of the
Troubles- there is so incredibly much that I can't even begin to touch
on here.
Between 1969 and the cease-fire, over 4,000 people died. That may not
sound like many, but as a percentage of the population it is the
equivalent of 900,000 American deaths. In one 1/2 mile block that we
saw, 170 people were murdered.

The murals are all over Belfast, and there are still approximately a
dozen deaths every year- including one last week as I write this.
The loyalist murals are often violent, angry at losing some of the
power over their country to a group which has so so recently killed
their family members. The republican murals are starker, sadder,
speaking of centuries of oppression against their people. All of them
are beautiful.
One that particularly caught my eye was done by Australian Aborigines,
testifying to the link between the two indigenous people who have been
subjugated by British conquerors. Considering the number of Australian
tourists I have met in Europe who had the money to travel, it's
I have to write a short reflections paper this week, and that will
likely be my topic.
One Unionist mural quotes Oliver Cromwell, who said that Catholicism
is a political system and not a religion, and that 'there will be no
peace in Ireland until the Catholic Church is crushed'.

Gerry, our guide, arranged for us to speak to a mural artist and one
of the things that he said will stick with me forever:
"History is like a rearview mirror. Check it, but if you only focus on
it without looking ahead, you will crash." -Danny D, a former IRA
member who was interned for 10 years in Long Kesh.

After speaking to Danny, Gerry took us to the Republican Museum, a
privately funded and run 'foil' for the British version taught in the
schools here- since Northern Ireland is still owned by Great Britain,
the English story of history is what is taught in public schools. I
won't speculate what is taught in the private parochial schools.
It was intense, and sobering. It began with tribute to the women who
were imprisoned or otherwise victimized during the Troubles-
specifically Republican women, but all were mentioned. There was an
extremely authentic reproduction of a cell from the Long Kesh
Internment Camp, which gave all of us a shiver. A ton of artifacts
were there, donated by former prisoners and displayed lovingly.
Painted harps, boidhrrans, quilting projects, decomissioned weapons,
all of it was there. I had already planned to make a donation, but the
Drs requested that I loan them £30 and they would pay me back to do
it. It was.... amazing and impressive. Afterwards, we saw the Bobby
Sands mural- the best-known mural in Belfast.
Lunch was an interesting affair- I am exhausted (and still a little
sick)- and we all had a great deal to process. We had a meeting that
was nearly an hour long, talking and processing and sharing our
thoughts about it.

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 15- London

It's raining in London, shockingly enough.
After some fun with the Eurostar (please to be noting that there is
nothing comfortable or convenient about them!) yesterday, we arrived,
exhausted but full of nervous energy, into London-town. The tube here
is surprisingly easily navigable, and after a brief period of
lostness, we found our hotel and gratefully dropped our bags.
Dinner involved a bit of exploring until we ran into an amazing little
Turkish place. Hummus, lamb broth, and kebabs later, we were both full-
bellied, exhausted and utterly satisfied. That was easily in the top 3
meals we have eaten in Europe, and a soup, appetizer, and hearty
entree ran us £23- about $35.
Today, we are wandering in the rain not finding Picadilly Square and
waiting for the tea shop to open. We decided on Haymarket Hotel, a
shop called Brumus.
Of course, not having a map, we got lost on the way and stumbled
across Trafalgar Square, necessitating pictures and a bit of
wandering. The National Gallery there is free! but we didn't have time
before tea.
Brumus itself is set within a high-end hotel, complete with couches
which match the walls in the conservatory, where we ate. No, really,
the couches match the walls. I'm serious.
The teas were the best Earl and Lady Greys we've ever had. Perfect
blends between the acid fullness of the tea and the tang of the
bergamot. Absolutely amazing.
The food was good, although only the Desserts were truly impressive-
Babarian creams, peach cake, and raspberry tarts. We ended up chatting
with two American women who were meeting there for tea (one lives
here) for nearly 2 hours about various facets of our lives, and the
differences we've found in different parts of Europe and the States.
It was really one of the nicest afternoons we've spent so far.
We had to run back to the hotel for jackets before catching the tube
once more to Tower Hill and the Jack the Ripper tour- what, did you
really think Chris could come to London and not go on it?
We were worried we would miss it, but the tube is more efficient than
we thought. For £6 each, we listened to the tale of the Whitechapel
In the 1880's, London was only 1sq mile, and was surrounded by the
city of Westminster. The Ripper most likely lived in London and made
most if his kills in Westminster. Currently there are 100,000 people
in London, but at that point there were 600,000, and at least 50% of
women were or had been prostitutes.
The first victim was 42, and had been turned out from a doss house
(public sleeping space- most people were homeless) because she hadn't
yet made her amount (between tuppence and sixpence to sleep there) and
it was there that she met the Ripper. She was found by two market-men,
and had had her throat slashed so deeply as to show the spine.
The third and fourth victims were discovered the same night by a
gentleman driving home. The third was found with her skirts up and two
cuts to her throat, and is believed to have been dead so briefly that
the Ripper was disturbed in the kill- driving him to kill once more
that night. The fourth victim was found less than 10 minutes after the
beat cop had last walked through. She was significantly mutilated and
also had had her throat slashed. Ironically, she had been released
from police custody 30 minutes before.
The fifth, youngest and most gruesome victim, Mary, was murdered in
her own bedroom. She had also had her throat cut, so deeply that her
spine was cut, and numerous other wounds I won't describe. There was
no sign of struggle or sexual assault, and the cause of death for all
of them was strangulation. Consider for a moment that it takes 3-5
minutes to actually die from strangulation, and then in the case of
the 3rd victim, that means less than 5-6 minutes to complete all of
the cuts, remove half the kidney, and flee the scene. The 2nd victim,
the eldest victim at 48, was trying to get out of prostitution but was
found in a similar manner as the others.
A number if theories aboun regarding the identity of the killer, but
only one suspect has no alibi.

After the tour, we had a drink at the famous Ten Bells Pub, which has
been serving since 1753. We'd meant to eat there, but evidently they
no longer serve food, so Chris had an absinthe and I a Pimms before we
found a small pub. Amusingly, it's called s&m. Yes, I am once again
entirely serious.
We had some really good bangers and mash- sausage and mashed potatoes
and peas- before waddling slowly to the hotel and collapsing into bed.

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

Days 11 & 12

Amsterdam is a busy, touristy city, but so far I like it.
We spent yesterday quietly at the house with Cyril and Helena and
their kids, Ciara and Liam. Cyril worked with my dad when I was a
teen, and I consider him family. I met his wife, Helena, a bit later
but she has also become family. Their home is beautiful, and their
kids ridiculously cute. Ciara is 3 and already trilingual- Helena is
Swedish, Cyril is Irish, and they speak Dutch at school.
When we arrived, Liam had a stomach bug.
Wait, back up.
The arrival is worth telling. We bought a seat reservation from Paris
to Den Haag HS, via Strasburg. We assumes that we would change trains
in Strasbrg and then go to Den Haag. Hah! We were delayed in Brussells
for 25 minutes, causing us to miss our Strasburg connection. We
finally figured out how to get onto another train, only to find out
that that track between Rotterdam and Den Haag were shut down.
Awesomeness. So we took a suburban train, then a bus, then another
suburban train, arriving an hour late- with no way to call and tell
Cyril. Shit. See Noel freaking out. We finally found a phone store and
managed to pay to use a phone- Poor Cyril opened the conversation
with, "Where the hell are you?!"
We finally made it to their home, though, and settled in gratefully.
Like everything about the both of them, their home is warm, simply
decorated, and incredibly comfortable. We stayed up til 2am talking
and laughing.
We spent the next day relaxing and playing with the kids and doing
laundry- Oh the paeans I could write to the joys of access to a washer
and dryer!
The evening brought a walk to the ice cream shop with everyone, and a
renewed appreciation for Holland. Everything is laid out with a
deliberate preference for pedestrians and bicyclists, and the amount
of greenspace is incredible. Pedestrians have automatic right of way
at intersections, and public transit goes everywhere.
This morning, we decided to be less lazy and wander Amsterdam. We
hadn't intended to go but decided we might as well. A tram to the
train station and a suburban train later, we are wandering the famous
Amsterdam- and yes, we've passed any number of coffee shops. Instead
of pot, however, we're indulging in my real addiction- tea in a cute
little shop. Unfortunately, it's not really a tea shop but a hip
dessert shop that sells tea. Ah well, even bagged Earl Grey is good,
and I can say I ate a chocolate slut (cake) in Amsterdam ;-)
From there, we took a tour if the Torture Musum. Designed with a
distinctly anti-authoritarian stance, it chronicles medieval torture
devices used both by the Inquisition and by judicial authorities.
Everything from scolds' bridles to the wheel to the iron maiden. It
was incredibly cool- and very sobering. I was impressed by the line
they walked between accessible and interesting information, and
respect for those te instruments were once used on.
After, we wandered for a bit in search of the sex museum. I found a
teacup, took pictures of a couple of beautiful Shires pulling a
Heineken bierkarte, and drooled in the New Rock store. Unfortunately,
they didn't have any boots that were quite what I was looking for-
although I did fall in love with a buttersoft pair of mid-calf black
laceup boots with nice flat soles. Unfortunately, €70 was more than I
could justify.
When we finally found the sex museum- after a detour through the pot-
reeking tourist district- we were a bit disappointed that it was so
high in touristy erotica and so low in actual history or information.
Afterwards, we searched briefly for the Erotica Museum, but after
being assaulted by the smell of pot in the tourist quarter, we decided
that we weren't quite *that* interested in finding it. Instead, we
shopped, wandered the Vodka Museum, and ate pommes frites for lunch
before eventually heading home to dinner with Cyril and Helena and the
kids. Please to be noting- Dutch ice cream is waaaay better than
American. Richer and creamier with a stronger vanilla flavor, it
paired terrifically with Helenas apple crisp for dessert.
We all stayed up and talked later, despite everyone's exhaustion,
knowing that it may be a few years before we see one another again- it
had been 8 before this visit!
Finally, though, we crawled into bed, prepped to go to London the next

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Days 9 & 10

Days 9 & 10

We missed our original Thursday night train to Paris- Chris was
delayed reaching the station- so this necessitated a hotel room near
the station that night, and a 10am train to Paris the next morning.
The train itself was uneventful, Chris slept and I went off in my head
for a few hours. Arriving in Paris, however, I learned something new-
I loathe this city.
Oh, Chris will describe with pleasure the sights, the architecture,
and his trip up the Eiffel Tower and to the Rodin Museum. I, however,
will always chiefly remember the crack-addict-designed metro system
(even the map looks like a plate of multi-colored spaghetti) that
constantly stank of piss and pot and required four connections to
cross the street, the ridiculous prices, overcrowding, and mostly bad
overpriced food.
Paris was Chris's desire, so I will let him describe it favorably.

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 8- Munich

I let us sleep in today- Munich's weather isn't conducive to
exploring, and we've decided to drop Geneva and spend another day
here. Chris is dead to the world, but I considered looking up
horseback riding in the 5k of English Gardens.
Instead, however, bowing to the cold and wet and the fact that I was
sniffly and achey from the weather, I spent the day in bed while Chris
He will write about it tonight.
So for the evening, we went back to the same gasthaus from last night
and it was once more amazing. I had a fantastic chicken nudeln suppe,
and Chris ordered this absolutely amazing pork steak that I swear to
Goddess tasted like a bacon steak. OMG noms!!! Served with broiled
potatoes and grilled onions, it was amazing. Seriously. So far after a
week in Italy, Munich is our hands-down favorite city for food.
Dessert was a homemade apfelkuchenudeln- apple slices breaded in
something thin and sweet and fried, served with powdered sugar and
vanilleis. OMG I LOVE MUNICH'S FOOD!!!

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

Munich day 8

I am completely sold on European night trains. Ours was about the
price of a good hotel, but not really much more, and with half an
Ambien in my system I slept like a baby.
The tiny compartment was a wonder- 2 bunked berths with a private head
complete with toilet, swiveling sink, and shower! I took a brief
shower before bed, then slipped into the soft sheets and down
comforter to sleep. I adore the tiny, efficient space (maybe 7sq ft)
and was marvelously content.
Unfortunately, Chris didn't sleep a wink and arrived exhausted. Since
we also arrived at 7am, there was no way to go directly to the hostel,
so we left our bags in a luggage locker and had breakfast at a coffee
shop around the corner.
It's nice to be somewhere where I speak a least some of the language-
much less intimidating!
Unfortunately, the Internet Access here is nearly as bad as in Italy,
ony somehow worse because Im in theory paying for access at a hotspot.

Well, despite the awful directions to the hostel, we finally found it.
My little bitnof remaining German is almost enough to get by, but only
if people speak slowly and carefully. The hostel itself is just what
you'd expect- a small, plain room with a double bed and another
single, a wardrobe, tv, an small nightstand. There's a shared toilet
but a private shower- make sense of that, because I can't. Everything
is simple but well-made, and I wouldn't be ashamed to have this
furniture in my own guest room. At least the beds are softer than
Italy- not that that is difficult!

We spent most of the day relaxing ad sleeping, giving ourselves a
needed day off and only venturing out for dinner. Amusingly, we
wandered around for several blocks before settling on a small gasthaus
almost across the street from the hostel.

Munich itself reminds me of the states- the traffic, the fast pace,
even the climate (currently in the upper 50s and rainy) reminds me of
the Eastern Seaboard, although I suppose the Pacific Northwest would
be more accurate... I just don't have experience there.

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Overall impressions of Rome

They drive like maniacs! If you’re on a moped or motorcycle, lanes don’t mean a thing. You drive between cars and buses or up the other side of the road to get around. Pedestrians just cross the roads and the drivers adjust course to get around them. If pedestrians walked and vehicles drove in the United States like they do in Rome, the population problem would be solved within a year. Rome also has a lot more green space than I thought. In addition, most Roman balconies are adorned with some plants, a good number are filled to the brim with plants and flowers. Overall it seems that Italians value green space and embrace the environment. Dumpsters are located at regular intervals to separate regular trash from paper, metal and plastics. The city is pretty smoggy though and it leaves a film on you after a day touring the city. A person with bad asthma might have a problem just being a tourist here. The food is wonderful! The pasta is much richer and the sauces are fantastic. There is not as much variety in the food selection as there is in the US though. That is one place where our cultural mix makes us better.

Day 3: Rome

We got a late start today. We began with a delightful pot of tea at Babington’s Tea Room at the foot of the Spanish Steps. The tea was a blend gifted to Queen Elizabeth II upon her visit to Rome of Golden Monkey, softened by rose petals, with hints of bergamot oil, jasmine and vanilla (probably missed something or tasted something that wasn’t there) I think. Afterwards, I walked up and down the steps and we both refreshed ourselves in the fountain at its base. Huge numbers of people come here to relax, tourists and locals alike. Again there was an obelisk in a patio about halfway up the steps. At the top there is a huge church. All the churches in Rome are amazingly adorned with sculptures of angels and saints. After the steps we attempted to go to the Capuchin Monastery on the Via Veneto but it was closed, so we made our way to the catacombs of San Callisto. The stone is volcanic rocks which is soft until it comes into contact with the atmosphere when it hardens. According to the guide, there were half a million people laid to rest in this section of the catacombs in five levels and 20 kilometers of tunnels over 15 hectares of land. This was the main Christian burial area until Constantine legalized Christianity in the 4th Century. Many tombs were sealed with clay or marble with the secret inscriptions popularized today like the fish, shepherd and lamb, “ichthys” and the superimposed “chi” “rho” symbol. Several pieces of seals were mounted with the actual inscriptions to view. The tombs were carved single or double or full rooms, called “cubicles” where whole families were kept. The cubicles often contained frescoes with bible scenes. The main room was the “Region of Saint Cecilia” where several of the first popes, martyrs and a few saints killed during the persecution were buried. After the legalization of Christianity the area was decorated with marble columns and floors to celebrate the lives of the deceased. Many of their remains were moved as well. After the fall of Rome, the population fell to about 50,000 and the catacombs fell into disuse and were forgotten until about 400 years ago when a farmer came across a marble stone that was the tomb of a Pope and the catacombs were rediscovered. After we left San Callisto, we went to the Trevi Fountains. What a sight! I had no idea how large and grandiose a spectacle the Fontana de Trevi was. At the center was the god Oceanus flanked by two Tritons taming hippocampi. The fountain is massive and set into the front of a large building. When we left the fountain we climbed up the side of it back out onto the street and found a small café where we could eat in view of the fountain. I had some prosciutto and the best mozzarella I have ever eaten. That night we stayed up late resting and talking about all we had seen. We also met a group coming to stay at the hostel from Switzerland. They were all studying abroad and one of them was born in Gainesville, FL. Small world! We leave Rome tomorrow and I will really miss it. This has been a phenomenal three days!

Day 2: Rome

We didn’t get up as early as we would have liked (stunner!). We went to see the Holy City in the morning. First thing we went to St Peter’s Square. The Basilica is massive and decorated so beautifully. The rotunda is also massive with a huge obelisk in the center. Egyptian imagery is very prominent in Rome, even in the Christian monuments. The rotunda has columns extending out from the basilica in a circle with an opening at the entrance. The columns are topped by sculptures of saints which are absolutely amazing! Everywhere you look are amazing sculptures; the walls, the columns, everywhere. As it turns out, Pope Benedict XVI actually made an appearance that morning at 10:30, so we got the added bonus of seeing the Pope. After that we made our way over to the Vatican museum. Since the Pope was making an address the queue was very short and there was no wait to get in. That museum is awe-inspiring! There is so much art and history there it would take months worth of daily trips to fully appreciate what is on display. We went through the Egyptian wing first which could blow your mind all by itself. 3000 year old sarcophagi, mummies, ancient clay pots and cuneiform tablets, jewelry and bronze weaponry as well as huge sculptures of Pharaohs and gods were all included. The display was stunning! One mummy was wrapped in a beautiful net of lapis lazuli. The walls were mounted with several stone tablets with Egyptian hieroglyphics on them. Being able to see the ancient text up close was amazing. The museum had more sculptures of Sekhmet than any other god in the Egyptian pantheon. Horus was another prominent figure. The sarcophagus of Imhotep was on display (not the Imhotep from “The Mummy”!). He was high priest to the Pharaoh Djoser and designed and commissioned the building of the step pyramid at Saqqara. After the Egyptian wing we saw signs for the Sistine Chapel. What we found out is that the Sistine Chapel is basically the centerpiece of the Vatican museum and they make you walk through half the museum to get to it. We passed through a hall of animals which consisted of sculptures of animals and scenes of hunting. Then we hit a few smaller chapels, each adorned with centuries-old sculpture after centuries-old sculpture of Greek and Roman deities, Popes, Saints and other important figures in history and of the Church. Frescoes lined the walls and ceilings and beautiful mosaics and decorated tiles were everywhere. We finally entered the Sistine Chapel and we both just stopped and stared. The detail and brightness of the scenes, especially considering their age (they did get touched up in 1998 as we read), is stunning, absolutely breathtaking! No words can describe them. After the Sistine Chapel we were both overcome by the grandeur of everything on display; as Noel accurately put it, “My head esploded”. We made our way out of the chapel, only to realize we had probably only seen maybe half of the museum, but also realizing we couldn’t take in anymore. We purchased a few gifts and headed outside to think and get gelato. Later that afternoon, we ate at Di Rienzo’s Ristorante, just off a side street to the right of the Pantheon. We shared an excellent pasta carbonara, and after that, we went into the Pantheon itself. It is the only Roman building which is essentially the same as it was when built. Originally it was commissioned and designed by Marcus Agrippa whose name is inscribed on the front portico. Historians don’t really know how it looked then as it was destroyed by fire in 80 AD. The emperor Hadrian had it rebuilt and that is what is seen today. Most of the trim has come off the outside of the concrete, but the inside construction is the same. The decoration has changed since the transition from Pagan to Christian hands. The Pantheon has several columns and interspersed behind the columns are small recesses and large room-sized recesses. The small recesses held 20-30 ft tall sculptures while two of the large recesses held tombs of the first two Kings of Italy and another held the tomb of a saint. In the last recess there was made an apse with an alter and 12 wooden reliquaries. Services are still held there and it is known as the Church of St.Mary and the Martyrs to the catholics. I read that the proportions of the dome are so perfect that the building would be a difficult project even today. It is astounding that the Pantheon was even able to be built with the technology of the era. My only regret about visiting the Pantheon is that I would have liked to stand in the light from the oculus. Unfortunately we arrived too late in the day. That night we ate dinner at a small Trattoria/pizzeria close to the hostel. We ate a pizza, pasta and a grilled pork steak which was delicious. The owner gave us a traditional Italian desert gratis. It was small sweet biscuits that you dip into a sweet wine. I’m not a big wine fan, but it was pretty good.

Chris' vacation blog

So I decided that I would keep a blog of our trip separate from Noel's. Probably makes for some redundancy, but oh well.

Day 1: Rome – Plane landed about 9:30 AM local time. It took until noon to disembark, collect baggage,
Find the right bus and get to hostel Peter Pan. From there we made our way to the metro via a bus, (getting on the wrong bus and getting lost first), that sounded like it could fall apart any minute (incidentally all the buses sound like this). Then we made our way to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill, which includes the Circus Maximus, Arch of Augustus, Arch of Titus, Casa de Augustus and other ruins. Palatine Hill contains a huge complex of ruins. It was basically the seat of power of the Late Republic and Empire until the East/West split. Anything of importance happened here. Emperors were created here as well as monsters, allegiances were forged and broken, bought and sold, and wars were started and finished here. Marc Antony took Brutus to task and silenced the final cries of the Republic on Palatine Hill. Nero razed Rome to the ground and rebuilt it here. The 5 benevolent emperors rebuilt Rome for the people here, starting with the Forum Romanum. Trajan’s Column is also here. I wish I could have seen it when Trajan’s likeness was on top. It was replaced with the image of a pope in medieval times. The Circus Maximus and the Stadium next to it are in pretty bad shape. The Casa de Augustus is in pretty decent shape given its age. It’s kind of amusing in a way, but the house isn’t all that big compared to what we consider large homes for important people now. Among some recent excavations on the Palatine include a complex which could have been the birthplace of Octavian. It is a series of courtyards and domiciles which, given its location would have belonged to only the most wealthy and influential of the time. From records of the era, it is known that Julius Caesar and Octavian’s mother and stepfather lived here. After the Palatino, we hit the Colosseum. It is an enormous complex and very imposing to gaze upon. It is about the interior size of a hockey arena. The outside looks like the Roman Aqueduct turned into a circle, 3 levels of arches. As you walk in you can feel anticipation in the air. I think that anyone visiting is immediately thrown under a spell of awe, it definitely feels that way. There are two walkways separated by columns punctuated on the inner ring by stairs leading up to the seats, and down to the lower levels which are off limits. They have displays of sculptures and busts of people associated with the gladiatorial games as well as a series of displays of gladiatorial armor and weapons. They also have the inaugural epigraph of the arena on display which was removed during restoration after an earthquake about 500 years after its initial construction. The Colosseum only took 10 years to build according to information on sight and upon it opening there were 100 consecutive days of games. Today was absolutely amazing! It sent chills up my spine to interact with history like that. Walking pathways that have been trod by emperors and senators, touching the walls of the Colosseum where so many have died and many more have cheered. Today a dream of mine came true. I picked up a piece of marble from the Colosseum and took it with me, my own little piece of history. It was truly one of the most fantastic experiences of my life.
After the Colosseum, we tried to find a certain restaurant we had a magazine write-up on, but couldn’t find it. We ended up on a side street in a yuppie part of town, but did find a roadside artist who made some pretty cool jewelry out of ordinary household items. We ended up eating at a roadside café outside the Termini metro station. We shared spaghetti made with a tomato base, bacon and sheep’s milk cheese and tiramisu ice cream for dessert. It was delicioso. I also had gelato twice today and holy shit was it good! I am looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight as I’m exhausted and the plan is to get up early tomorrow.

Florence- day 5 Our hostel and Florence

A few more of Venice

Our hostel on San Erasmos, just outside of Venice

Venice, day 6