Italia – If Snooki Can do it, So Can I!

Before I get rolling, I would like to apologize for taking such a long hiatus from blogging. At first, I had a pretty good excuse; no internet or electricity. However, for the past 2 weeks, I have just been lazy. But, thanks to emails and messages from those somewhat patiently waiting (I didn’t really think anyone read this stuff), I have dedicated today to getting caught up. Here we go…

Arriving in Italy, the first thing I noticed was how much warmer it was than Ljubljana. This is not to say it was actually warm, just not so bone-chillingly cold. Nic and I arrived in the student town of Padova and met Lucia who took us in. She and her roommates live in a beautiful old building with epically high ceilings and dark hardwood floors. However, it must also have had original insulation so bedtime became a game of how to layer on every piece of clothing from my backpack in the warmest way possible in order to fall asleep. We spent a day wandering around the stunning and vibrant town while soaking up as much of the mid-day sun as possible before heading back to the apartment to relish in a home cooked meal with great company. Our next expedition was one I had been looking forward to since missing it on my last Italian adventure…Venice! I had such high expectations for the city that I was a little worried that the rumors of dirtiness and obnoxious tourists would prove to be true. However, (perhaps because it was the depth of the off-season) it turned out that my hopes could have been even higher without any disappointment! To call Venice a labyrinth wouldn’t do it justice. Thanks to the random placement of tiny alleys, winding rivers and bridges, Venice is more like a labyrinth within a labyrinth. We spent all day ambling around before having an ‘Amazing Race’ type of mission to find our way back to the Rialto bridge for sunset. Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we made it back to the apartment in time to watch the Habs-Philly hockey game. This Canuck was in heaven! Our next stop was the sleepy village of Fabbiana, outside of Pistoia, outside of Florence. We arrived in the dark and woke up to a view of a beautiful forested valley, bright sunshine and the smell of coffee brewing. After breakfast, it was time to head into Florence. Having been to Florence before, I thought that perhaps it wouldn’t be quite as magical for me this time. Wrong again! This is absolutely one of my favorite cities! We visited the Duomo, the Cathedral, Piazza Santa Croce, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Michelangelo and the CPA before heading back to Fabbiana for the night. The CPA (Centro Popolare Autogestito) is a former elementary school converted into a squat with a theater that has screening events, a bar, a gym with boxing lessons, a computer lab, nightly group dinners, concerts and jam sessions, classrooms converted into bike repairs rooms and studios of all kinds and a strong antifascist population. We were welcomed in and shown around by a guy in a grease covered lab coat and invited to come back for a film made by one of the members. So, the next night, we showed up with all of our stuff, claimed a couple of cots and went to watch the film. There were drinks and snacks before and after and some very interesting chats with all kinds of people. This was an experience that I hope to remember for a very long time. The next day turned out to be free day at the Uffizi so off we went. While there, we ran into a guy I had met in Budapest and after the gallery, we all decided to get some pizza. Down an alley, there was a place that looked pretty good so in we went. Looking over the menu, I was surprised to see “Jersey Shore” pizza listed. It turns out that this is where the cast came to eat while filming in Florence. Dang. Oh, well, the pizza was really good, although we all avoided that particular menu item. That night, I stayed with my friend Damian, who is a cracklingly smart entrepenure, a motorcycle racer and a really nice person (with a very sweet place right near Ponte Vecchio). We hung out for a few days, having amazing food and wine, great conversations about all kinds of things and a bike ride that will definitely be one of the highlights of this whole trip! After saying goodbye to Damian, it was time to head to Rome and see the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi fountain…all in one day! Here I met Federico who showed me around and introduced me to a great group of people, all working for the UN. We celebrated one of the girls birthdays and were out until the wee hours. I also got a great lesson in how to talk with my hands like a true Italian! From Rome, it was off to Naples and Somma Vesuviana. Yet another dream come true! Seeing Mt. Vesuvius up close (even attempting to make it tot he top!) was amazing for this geo-nerd. After spending an incredible day roaming around Naples with my friend Fabio and eating the most delicious pizza imaginable, I found out the Adam, my friend from Budapest and Florence was also in town. We decided to head to Sorrento with his friend Nabila the next day. What an amazing day it was! We may or may not have wandered around Sorrento with a box of wine, some bread and cream-cheese…depending if you want to believe we are classy or not. We also decided that after having such a great time together, the 3 of us should probably spend the following day exploring Pompeii. We arrived in the early afternoon and, which Rick Steves as our goofy guide, we took Pompeii by storm. As the sun started to go down, we wandered around (or more accuratly squeezed past) a fence to get a good view. Watching the sun set over Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the background was about as enchanting as this girl could handle. After having this exceptional experience, I had to say goodbye to Naples and head back to Rome. I still hadn’t seen the Forum, the Colosseum (up close) or the Vatican City and it was almost time to leave Italy. Back in Rome, I met 3 truely lovely girls from Lithuania who hung out with me and made me really hope to someday visit their country. We even managed to fit a super classy game of beer-pong into our activities for the day! The following day went a little slower after such a late night, which was a very nice, relaxing way to finish my visit to Italy. From here, I was heading to Africa to have a completely different kind of adventure.

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About Kerri

I am becoming a gypsy for the next year. Going to wander the world to learn as much as I can before my bank account runs dry.
This entry was posted in Europe, Traveling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Italia – If Snooki Can do it, So Can I!

  1. Katie says:

    Finally! I’ve missed this! I can almost smell the garlic and pesto. Italy is yummy!

  2. Amy says:

    So glad to be reading your blog again, now keep it coming!!! Miss you! Glad Italy lived up to your hopes (and then some!)

  3. carol hughes says:

    so glad you’re back online again. we don’t like it when you disappear for so long.
    as always more great reading and beautiful pictures!!! looking forward to your africa stories.
    luv u – xoxo

  4. Lauren says:

    My favorite part is the box of wine, bread and cream cheese:) God I miss you Kerri!!

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