Like a 10 year old lost at Disneyland!

Italy Travel Blog

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Duomo (Milan)

I never thought I would have that feeling again of being a child lost in a wonderful dream meeting all the characters in person from my Saturday morning cartoon viewing, but that is exactly how I would describe traveling through Italy. 

As far as I can remember, Italy had always been a country I've dreamt about going.  I attempted to go two years ago and had booked 6 weeks off work to spend travelling across Italy.  The opportunity kept getting postoned due to work assignments and the trip just kept getting pushed on hold. This year however, out of nothing, I receive an email while in Moscow (on a work project) to fly to Milan (on a work project) for a week.  I ceased the opportunity and agreed to go as long as I get to be on holidays after my work stint there.

House along the Grand Canal (Venice)
  My company agreed and I quickly arranged for a flight out of Moscow and fly to one of my dream destinations.  First stop - Milan.

I had a great time in Milan during my work week there.  The people I worked with had been really wonderful. I was very lucky to also see Da Vinci's Last Supper. The tickets were sold out for two weeks and normally book two weeks in advance. Thankfully, there was a scalper outside selling tickets for the same price as they were selling it inside. So I bought my ticket from her and I got to see the famous painting. They only allow certain amount of time and people to view it - Twenty-five people at the time and only 15 minutes. After which, the doors will open, decompress, then let you out. They have taken great lengths to protect the painting.

Neptune's Fountain (Bologna)
You are not actually allowed to take a photo...but nothing like that has stopped me before. I met three women from Singapore on this tour of the Last Supper. One of them attempted to take a photo with her mobile phone, but she was quickly stopped. Then the attendant asked her to delete the photo while she watched her.   I explored much of what Milan has to offer as well taking the metro wherever I can.  I was even harrased at Piazza Duomo by those seed guys. Most memorable I guess was attending mass at the Duomo itself.  I am not the greatest religious person or religious for that matter but I thought I'd go and attend mass in Italian.  It was, afterall, my birthday also.  Even though I didn't understand a word, I thought it was cool.  Next stop - Venice.
David (Florence)

So my journey after a work-related week took me to Venice - the city on the water. I never really knew it before but if you look at the map of Venice...its a fish. How interesting hunh?

Venice is definitely for lovers. It's a very romantic city with its many small alleyways and water canals, gondola rides and cafes and restaurants along the water. There was a sense of romance in the air. A couple next to me at lunch was yapping on to their friends and family back in London that they were now engaged. He described everything over his mobile. So as I overheard it, it was over a gondola ride along one of the secluded canals while being seranded. She had said yes of course and the happy couple celebrated over some red wine and cheese. Meanwhile, I stuck the fork down my throat to gag (bitter.

Leaning Tower of Pisa (Pisa)
..yes...jealous...no).   In any event, not all the gondola rides have serenades...those are special ones and they cost a bundle. A simple gondola ride is about 40 Euros. I didn't do it coz 1. it was too expensive and 2. I really felt stupid doing it alone. How lonely am I on a gondola ride all by myself for the rest of the lovers in Venice to see. It would be the same as if I wore a sticker on my forehead with big bold letters that said "LONER AND PROUD" and walked around Piazza San Marco.  I think that would translate as "LOSER" don't you? In any event, I passed up the opportunity and rode the water bus all around Venice just like a normal Venitian...and yes, I saw a house with venetian blinds in one of my many walks.  Next stop - Bologna.
Mt. Versuvius from Pompeii (Pompeii)

I stopped in Bologna because a dear friend lives there.  I've known her for many years and even though we didn't meet at TravBuddy, we met while travelling and became instant friends.  We actually originally met on a board much like this one and simply got chatting online, via emails, and message board.  And one summer, we both found ourselves in London at the same time.  After much celebration and introducing ourselves properly, we totally hit it off and had been friends ever since.  So no tour of Italy would be complete without visiting my dear friend in her home town of Bologna.  She showed me around her city and told me all about the great things about it.  But this stop was different than any other.  This was an emortional reconnection with an old friend and rekindling of an old friendship.

Coleseo (Rome)
  Our reunion was a success and we look forward to more crossing paths again in the future.  Next stop - Florence.

Florence is probably one of my "must see" cities in the world.  It is home to some of the greatest art works known to man.  Did I mention I was an Art History major?  So this is trully the time I felt like a 10 year old lost at Disneyland...c'on the statue of David is there.  Man, I stood there for an hour just staring at the thing...not his "thing"...the sculpture.  I can't expalin Florence.  I was overwhelmed, but every excited, yet hyper and yet needing time to take it all in...all at the same time.  Do you ever feel that experience?  I don't quite know how to explain Florence.

St. Peter's Basilica (Vatican City)
  I think you have to experience it to know what I mean.  Next stop - Pisa.

So onto another part of Tuscany to see the Leaning Tower. I've never been disappointed in many of travels until now.  I felt this was a waste of time. Not a total 100% waste...but it ranks highly up there.  Sure it was great to see the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and the Baptistry on the Piazza del Miraculo. The fortunate part was that it was all in one spot...the unfortunate part was that that was all to see. I spent a whole day there when I could have done it in the morning. Which I actually did. I arrived in Pisa at 9:30 and I finished the three things by 13:00. Then I spent a few more hours in the museums coz I have tickets but they were a bore as well.

Milan's Cathedral made completely of Marble and Granite. Over 6000 saint icons adore the entire cathedral. The very top is a shimerring gold statue.
So this was when I wished I spent more time in Florence and just made a half-day trip instead of spending the night there. Ah well...lessons learned.  So I went to the Mediterranean Sea instead in the afternoon and relaxed. Breathed in the nice sea breeze and enjoyed the sunset. Next Stop - Vatican City.

Okay, I say Vatican City which is another country.  But I was in Rome.  I was staying in Rome BUT I did tour the Vatican so I think that counts.  In any event, went to the Vatican while in Rome. Unfortunately, the Pope wasn't home. He was in his summer home and was not performing any blessings while I was there. Then again, he only does that on Wednesdays and I've already been blessed by the late-Pope John Paul II, who is the rock star of all Popes (so I've been told), during World Youth Day 2003 (I think) in Toronto.

So I skipped the whole Pope thing and just went to the Vatican. I took a tour as to not waste time lining up for the Sistine Chapel. Sistine Chapel was surprisingly small. But then again, it is just a chapel. Side joke....there are no Fifteen, Fourteen, Thirteen or any other chapels before it.  It is named after Pope Sistine.  I needed to marvel at the works of Michaelangelo and it was quite an experience. There it was...9 years of his work restored to its original glory. As you enter, on your right was the Judgement Day painting. You take a few seconds to look at it then you find yourself strainging to look up at the ceiling as the famous Creation of Adam is smack middle of the ceiling. Photos and Movies are not to be taken inside but you know me. Actually, one guy from our group was caught.
He got a warning that one more photo and he is out of there. But c'on, there were ten other people taking photos! I think the guards were a little overrated and have taken the power they were given too literally.  I say, allow people to take photos....as long as there is no flash.  It is really the heat from the flash that causes damage and cause the paint to loose the hue.  Next stop - Naples and Pompeii.

Naples was a bit disappointing. Other than Pizza and Spaghetti coming from Naples, it was surprisingly...what's the word... It's hard to describe. It just wasn't what I expected it would be. There were stray dogs everywhere and the place was just generally dirty - garbage I mean.

En route to the center of the city, along the highway there was a guy taking a bath on an open pipe!

So just a quick history lesson, Pompeii was destroyed, and completely buried, during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning two days on 24 August, AD 79. The volcano collapsed higher roof-lines and buried Pompeii under many meters of ash and pumice, and it was lost for nearly 1700 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. Today, it is both one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The thing that gets me here the most was that I was standing in the same stone covered streets as those people back in A.

D. 79.  I was looking at what they were looking at.  I was touching what they once touched.  I crossed the same streets they did.  It was an awesome experience.  Next stop - Rome.

Rome is home.  Or at least I wanted it to be...for a while anyway.  I fell in love with Rome.  I may not have found my true love while sittting on the Spanish Steps...but I think Rome found me.  I did all the usual touristy things - Roman ruins, Coleseo, Cirucs Maximus, St. Peter's Chains, more churches, more sculptures, shopping...but more importantly I met a lot of people - local and other travelers.  There is something about this city, to me, that just makes everything seems so friendly and pleasant.  I felt a very warm welcome from its locals.

  I felt like they welcomed me with open arms and every one was generally friendly.  I walked with smiley grin on my face as people smiled and nod at me as I walked down the street.  It was such a change.  When I spoke Italian, they didn't snub me for my bad Italian, instead they guided me to speak properly.  One of the restaurants I had dinner at, the waiters came over to talk to me at my table while I ate.  Sure the restaurant wasn't very busy, but it was such a nice way to treat people.  They gave me tips on where to go and what to do and they were right on with all their suggestions.  On my last day as I said goodbye to them, they even gave me a hug goodbye and wished me safe journey home.  It was a refreshing experience. 

So as I stop once more at the Trevi Fountain, I took a penny from my bag, held it with my right hand, closed my eyes, and threw it over my left shoulder (as is tradition) and wished to come back to Rome very soon.

  I hope that wish come true.  I onced dreamed of going to Italy in my lifetime and it had come true...one more wish granted to return someday is blessing!

ctcsherry says:
I guess there is a a reason why all your photos are all very nice! Even with some limitations of the camera you manage to pull everything off! I love landscape and architecture travel photos! Sculpture and painting photos? Even more! Love this blog...I'll probably come back to it!
Posted on: Oct 30, 2008
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Duomo (Milan)
Duomo (Milan)
House along the Grand Canal (Venic…
House along the Grand Canal (Veni…
Neptunes Fountain (Bologna)
Neptune's Fountain (Bologna)
David (Florence)
David (Florence)
Leaning Tower of Pisa (Pisa)
Leaning Tower of Pisa (Pisa)
Mt. Versuvius from Pompeii (Pompei…
Mt. Versuvius from Pompeii (Pompe…
Coleseo (Rome)
Coleseo (Rome)
St. Peters Basilica (Vatican City)
St. Peter's Basilica (Vatican City)
Milans Cathedral made completely …
Milan's Cathedral made completely…
and some lady being attacked by pi…
and some lady being attacked by p…
tan-tana-nan tan-tana-nan tan-tana…
tan-tana-nan tan-tana-nan tan-tan…
Its his thumb not his penis...but…
It's his thumb not his penis...bu…
Shes squezing water!
She's squezing water!
RRRRWWWWAAARRRRRR!!!!
RRRRWWWWAAARRRRRR!!!!
I call this yeah you are my bitch…
I call this "yeah you are my bitc…
This one I call Get off me bitch!
This one I call "Get off me bitch!"
I wont go into this one
I wont go into this one
The I thought I told you to pull …
The "I thought I told you to pull…
I cant go into this one or Ill g…
I can't go into this one or I'll …
Da Vincis tomb
Da Vinci's tomb
Galileos tomb
Galileo's tomb
Michaelangelos tomb
Michaelangelo's tomb
yummers
yummers
more yummies
more yummies
yum....
yum....
Creation of Adam
Creation of Adam
The Last Judgement
The Last Judgement
Holy Door
Holy Door
Original Pieta (in cased in glass)
Original Pieta (in cased in glass)
Stained Marble
Stained Marble
Giant Cherubs
Giant Cherubs
Swiss Army Knife...I mean Swiss Ar…
Swiss Army Knife...I mean Swiss A…
Montecasino
Montecasino
a pony!
a pony!
I just thought this was funny in s…
I just thought this was funny in …
Mt. Versuvius
Mt. Versuvius
Some dead guy
Some dead guy
ancient sauna
ancient sauna
ancient bath tub
ancient bath tub
chariot tracks
chariot tracks
2 way street crossing
2 way street crossing
oven
oven
A whores bed in a whores room in…
A whore's bed in a whore's room i…
a penis
a penis
Me and my shadow
Me and my shadow
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