Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My trip to Italy

Here is what you have been waiting for. My epic blog post about my trip to Vienna, Venice, Verona, Florence, and Rome. To save everyone's time I just did bullet points but it's still a long post. Feel free to skip around and just read bits and pieces and look at the pretty pictures. That's what I would do. :-)

Friday March 1
  • We took a flight from Copenhagen to Vienna. 
  • At the Vienna airport, we bought the wrong ticket for the train to the city but figured it out before we got on the train and bought the right one. 
  • Blake helped us find the hostel. Can we talk about how street names are hidden on buildings and how some maps don't have every street labeled?
  • We stayed with two French girls who were pretty friendly. 

Hint: Sentences starting with Can we talk about...are the beginning of small angry rants. 

  • Saturday March 2
    • Schonbron palace. We did a self guided audio tour that was very helpful.

  •  Lunch. We ate a cafe that Blake's brother recommended. I had schnitzel 

  • Sigmud Freud museum. This was a big disappointment. It was very short and there wasn't much to see. 
  • Train around the city. We did a touristy train around the city center for an hour.
  • Met Sebastian a German guy at the hostel  
  • Ate dinner at a nearby place where we were the only customers. Can we talk about why it's a thing in Europe to be a crappy waiter? Like they don't wait on you, they just do the bare minimum and you have to tell them you need the check now. 

Sunday March 3
  • Belvedere: a really cool art museum 
  •  Vienna ferris wheel- it was a little scary because it was so old but gave us a good view 
  • Ate lunch by the ferris wheel.   Museum of Modern Art- it was very minimalist and modern. Not my favorite museum. Can we talk about why some things are considered art? I could easily make some of those things that were in that museum.    
  • Spanish Riding school- we did a tour that was guided by a human being. It was really cool to see the Lipizzaner stallions resting in their barn, see their tack, and see the arena where they perform. 
  • Ate a leisurely dinner at a cafe where other old people were eating. We learned to eat where old locals eat, because they know where it's at. We were sort of bored so Blake pulled out a word search book. It was kind of ironic that I was doing a word search about America in Vienna (Looking for words like purple mountain majesty, land of the free, etc) 
  • Took the night train to Venice. Met an older guy from Austria who has a family and is involved in scouts.

Monday March 4

  • Woke up on the train, seeing the Italian alps. Very cool sight to wake up to. 
  • Found our hostel
  • Instead of buying a metro pass we bought a water taxi pass because they use boats as their public transportation. I thought that was neat. Venice is made up of lots of little islands connected by bridges.
  • The weather was so sunny and hot!
  • We relaxed at an outdoor cafe. 
  • Went to Dodge palace
  • Went up to the big tower
  • Went into St. Mark's Basilca
  • Tried to find a movie theatre but couldn't. People kept giving us conflicting directions (do cross the bridge, no don't, go left right left, go straight, etc)
  • Going back home we actually got extremely lost. We got off at the wrong train stop, an old man told us to take a bus, multiple busses drove right past us and didn't stop, weren't sure when to get off the bus, asked another man for help, his name was Marco and he helped us find the right bus stop. 

Tuesday March 5

  • There wasn't two days worth of stuff to do in Venice so I suggested we take a train to Verona. It was just a two hour train and a couple euros. 
  • Of course we immediately went to Juliet's area. She has a balcony, a museum, statue, and so much more. It's such a tourist site but it's neat to see all the names on the wall. People put letters into the wall and they write names on padlocks. 
  • Ancient roman arena: this was like a mini colosseum and was very cool. 
  • Ate lunch at a nice outdoor cafe where I got breakfast food
  • Went up to the top of a tower and took pictures of the city
  • We weren't sure where to go next so we looked at the signs that were all around the city and chose the roman theatre. We didn't have to buy a map here because the signs were so helpful.
  • The roman theatre was pretty neat because it was not crowded and we just took our time there and talked. 
  • We ate nutella crepes
  • Took the train back
  • (We never actually paid for our hostel in Venice. We only put a 10% deposit down and then when we checked in and checked out no one asked us for payment...It was a crappy hotel so whatever.)

Wednesday March 6

  • Took a morning train to Florence
  • Checked in at the hostel (this was our favorite place. even though the bathroom was down the hall)
  • Went to the Uffizi, where we picked up our reserved tickets, waited til our allowed time, and went in (so many Asian, Russian, French, and Italian tourists!) Here, we saw Botticelli's Birth of Venus and lots of Madonna and Child paintings. 
  • Went to the Gucci museum. It was really terrific to see all of the Gucci shoes, dresses, and bags over the years. We were drooling over the dresses. They also had a neat Cindy Sherman photo exhibit there. Who doesn't love Cindy Sherman?
  • Did a wine tasting of three red wines. It came with bread, meat and cheese too. 

Thursday March 7

  • Started the day early at Acadmeia Gallery to see Michaelangelo's David. He's huge! And so muscular! 
  • Climbed the Duomo. It was sort of like the Arc de Triumph with narrow staircases but a great view at the end. We stayed up there a while relaxing and taking pictures. (Can we talk about how it's a bad idea to climb the steps backward, when the stairs are not wide enough to be two way but they are. I don't love being pressed up against random tourists)
  • Toured the Pitti palace which belonged to the Medicis (that family had some serious money) The Botticeli gardens were so beautiful. It reminded me of Versailles. 
  • We napped and relaxed in the hotel
  • Ate my favorite dinner meal at a place called Firen. I got pizza, tirmasiu and this mixed drink that had champagne in it. We sat upstairs and loved the atmosphere and the quality food. We also had good service here, unlike other places. 

Friday March 8

  • Took a morning train to Rome. The countryside was so gorgeous. I saw sheep grazing on hills. For some reason we were in business class and so they served us coffee and cookies. 
  • Ate again at the cafe at the train station
  • Can we talk about how rude some Italians are? I order my food, go over to the other counter and give her my receipt, and she gives me my cappuccino. I'm still waiting for my orange juice and then this woman comes up and drinks my cappuccino!  She just assumes it's hers. I didn't say anything but I should've. The woman saw this and just made me another cappuccino. I got my food but it just made me angry at how rude that woman was. 
  •  We get to Rome and go to the Colosseum
  • It's named after the large statue of Nero that used to be there, not after it's colossal size. I learned that from the audio guide tour we did. I was a little disappointed you couldn't walk on the ground floor and at how rushed it felt. The audio guide was only 2 hours and there was a sense of hurry up take your picture and get out. It was still really cool to be at such an old historic place. 
  • Went to the Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument and went to the top. We went to the top of every city we went to! 
  • Went to the Pantheon. You talk about an old, well preserved building. 
  • We checked into our hostel which was a six person room. We took these two beds that had folded sheets on them, so we assumed they weren't taken. These two girls walk in and say "You're in my bed." What? So rude. We get up and go to dinner and talk about getting a new hotel. We find a new place to stay and switched hotels. Best decision.  

Saturday March 9

  • This was our day in Vatican city. We were supposed to do a guided tour but no one showed up/ we couldn't find where to meet. 
  • I was frustrated at how crowded it was, how hot it was, and how disorganized the Vatican was. Feeling hangry (hungry-angry) we grabbed lunch. I bought much needed sunglasses and a guide book and felt better. 
  • We waited in the long but fast moving line into St. Peter's Basilica.
  • I did an audio tour and learned a lot about the meaning of the different statues and paintings. It was the most beautiful church I've ever seen. It was a very moving and powerful experience. 
  • We went to the Vatican museum but the Sistine Chapel was closed so it wasn't that great. 

Sunday March 10

  • We were so tired and kind of sick of each other that we just did the Spanish steps and then walked around the city. 
  • We met some Danish guys at our hotel. We heard them speaking Danish and I asked them why they were in Rome. They were high schoolers "studying" in Rome. 
  • Plane got delayed an hour because of  bad thunderstorm in Rome. The airport's power flickered on and off and they grounded all planes for a while. We met two other DIS guys to talk to so the time passed easily. 
On the plane, I befriended a sixteen year old boy from Poland. I make friends pretty easily. Haha.

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