Monday, July 26, 2010

Italy!

So, for those who don't know, I was in Italy for the past 11 days. I went with my whole immediate family (mom, dad, two brothers, sister-in-law and other brother's gf). We spent 6 days in Rome, 3 days in Cinque Terre (Monterosso) on the coast, and then 2 days of travel tacked on to each end.

It was an amazing trip. I had been to Italy before- I went when I was 16 to Venice and Florence- but I had always wanted to visit Rome. It did not disappoint. Everything about it was great- the ancient ruins sprinkled all throughout the city, the cobblestone streets, the piazza's, the food (wine, gelato and pizza, anyone?), the history, the architecture, the lifestyle, and even our wonderful hotel (I would recommend it to anyone). I loved it all. It is a quintessential European city with style, personality, ruggedness and flavor. I much prefer cities like Rome than cities like London- they are just so different from anything in America (not that I don't appreciate London, but you get the point). We usually toured in the morning until the early afternoon, then napped/relaxed (and in my room we usually watched German MTV), had dinner and drank at night. The piazza's have music and vendors after dark that were fun to go to.  It was so HOT during the day that we got burnt, consumed more water than I have ever consumed in my life (seriously, most of my money went to buy water) and sweated profusely. It was all worth it though and at least there was no rain!

We also did one day in Pompeii...SO COOL. I recommend it to anyone going to Italy.

After Rome, which we could have stayed in forever, we went to the coast of Cinque Terre and stayed in Monterosso. Cinque Terre is five towns on the coast with colorful buildings and quaint facilities. We again stayed in a great hotel and hiked, beaches, ate, played cards and watch SKY1 TV (holler Buffy and X Files). The hike to all five towns took us 5 hours, but we also stopped for lunch in the 2nd to last town. It had great views and was hilly/tough between the first three towns, but then was a pleasant walk to the final towns. I was still sore the next days- up and down steps are brutal.

I don't feel like posting pics here, but if you are friends with my on facebook I have all my pics up there. The captions should basically tell you what you're looking at.

For those traveling to Italy, here are a few words of wisdom:
- Don't go in July. It's too hot. Go in June or September (we were told those were the months for the best weather and less crowds)
- Stay in Trastevere in Rome. It's a little bit off the beaten path and south of the river. Our hotel Santa Maria was fabulous with great rooms, breakfast, free internet and drinks served all day. The staff was great and they even had bikes to ride (which we did and my ass still hurts from it).
-When going to the Vatican, don't go until 3:15. They stop letting people in at 4, but you still have until 6 to wander. We went at 1, and even though we had tickets, it was too crowded and the line to get in wrapped around multiple buildings.
- Go to Pompeii!!!!
- Stay for a week in Rome. A lot of people do it in 3 days, but you really get to know and enjoy the city staying longer. We were there for 6 and wish we had more days.
- When going to Cinque Terre, give yourself a day to hike, a day to beach, and a day to boat. We would have loved one more day.
- Don't fly in and out of Philly. Both our flights home were delayed by 3+ hours. It was a long trip home.


That's all my jet-lagged mind can think of now. Prego!
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