Saturday, July 10, 2010


14 hours of random train/boat connections we are finally in Munich. Yes, I know this update is long overdue--Italy had SO much to do and see, it was next to impossible to find an hour to just sit at a computer and blog. We have much to cover so lets get to it.

Our hostel was small but had a little character. It also made it hard to not meet everyone in it. Which we did. In fact, by the time we left 4 days later we practically owned the place (ask anybody; they'd agree).
Our first night we met a couple Canadian girls who were interested in joining us to go see the Colosseum the next day, so after several hours of sleep we woke up and got to it.

I wasn't sure what to expect when first seeing the Colosseum because sometimes things seem smaller in person than portrayed in pictures and in film...the Colosseum was not one of those things.

Heat. Humidity. Sweat. Heat. Humidity. Sweat.

I'd be told how hot Italy was in the summer, and, well, everyone who told me was right. You just kind of get used to being covered in sweat. Theres really no way around it.

Shade break.

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill were also impressive and an awesome sight to see.

After grabbing some gelato..

BTW There is an ungodly amount of gelato places in Italy. Seriously. There are more gelato places than Starbucks in the northwest. Probably 3 times as many. And pizza places. Gelato, pizza, gelato, pizza, its all you ever see.

I digress..
After grabbing some gelato we head to the Trevi Fountian and Pantheon. But on the way we are blown away by probably the most regal building we've ever seen..the National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II.

tossing the coins over the shoulder into the Trevi Fountian

Back at the hostel we relax for a little while, cook dinner for ourselves, and then get ready for the night. We participate in a hostel-wide game of kings cup, and then we all decide to head over and have a couple beers on the Spanish Steps. Our huge mob of people (Aussies, Canadians, and Americans) roll through the Roman streets to the steps (which I have to say were a lot smaller than I imagined) and then after an hour or so we closed down the night at a nearby Irish Pub.

We woke up ready to go see the Vatican. We were accompanied by a group of 4 or 5 American girls; new friends from the night before.

There was so much to see and take in it was overwhelming. Michaelangeo was everywhere. And although our "native-english speaking" tourguide (yea, right) was extremely difficult to listen to, we left satisfied and in awe of seeing some a few of the most amazing parts of the world.

Inside St. Peters
(Not a ton of pictures of other places, such as the Sistine Chapel..cameras weren't allowed)

After a long night of dancing we took the next day to relax a little bit and just casually stroll through the streets. The next day we would head to Florence with our new british friends, Sophie, Zoe, and Hannah.

We actually only spent one night here before heading out to Cinque Terre, so i'm going to go ahead and skip to that.

Wow. Beautiful and needed. 5 little Italian towns tucked in the hills along the Mediterranean. Our plan was to meet up with my friend from school, Dani, but she wouldnt be arriving for a couple hours, so we grabbed a bottle of wine and headed down to the Marina to relax.

Because of some slight miscommunication Marshall and I were forced to look for alternate accomodation, which turned out to be our own apartment overlooking the town (which we ended up getting a pretty good deal on and would get used quite a bit over the next couple days).

We showered up and then headed to dinner with Dani to enjoy some Italian seafood.

We left satisfed, however, Marshall and I (who ordered the same thing) are convinced it gave us some kind of food poisoning (which we would experience over the next couple days).

Regardless, it was yummy, and we grabbed a couple more bottles of wine and headed down to the Marina for the sunset. Walking down the path a small group of kids grabbed our attention and asked us to join them on the rocks. It was there we met Sam(antha), our new friend from Montreal, who would complete our group for the next few days.

A late night swim in the Mediterranean completed the night.

The next day Dani, Sam, Marshall and I all took the train out to the furthest town and then hiked to the next. It was unbelievably beautiful. The type of thing that makes you say, 'wow', everytime you look over.

Myself, Sam, Dani and Marsh.

We got back with one thing on our minds. Swimming. But Sam wasn't going to let us just swim...cliff jumping was in order. and we weren't opposed. (okay, well Dani and I weren't opposed..Marshall, well, I'm not going to go into details..lets just say he found a lower ledge to make his home).

That night we all cooked dinner, made homemade sangria, made more homemade sangria, and had a blast.

Time for Florence again..


We got in to our little private room, and while the girls went shopping, Marshall and I caught a quick nap. After their arrival HOURS later, we all headed to a bar to watch the game.

We grabbed some gelato after, walked around for a little bit, and then went back to the room for a semi-early night.

The next morning we hit up the Uffizi (which i'm going to just come out and say it...not too impressed. I don't know if i'd just seen so much cool stuff recently or what, but I think I had more fun with Sam looking at the paintings and forming our own little stories of what they were about than anything else).

We climbed the Duomo..a 463 step trek up through narrow windy hallways, which led to an amazing view of all of Florence.

Hamilton proud after the hike up. (Here you go Brooke)

Afterwards we cleaned up, killed a little time in a piazza having a couple drinks surrounded by statues and then headed to the best Italian dinner any of us have probably ever had.

Hanging pre-dinner.

Our night ended at the top of the town at the Piazzale Michaelangeo.


The next morning we said our goodbyes and headed to Germany. Due to a strike going on in Italy, it took us far too long with too many cancelled trains and a load of connections. But we're here, and we're happy to be.


While it has been a long time since Andrew and my last entry, we have experienced more than our share in new people, places, and things. We're in Munich right now and I'm itching to tackle some beer and pretzles so this is going to be really short from me.

Rome was so amazing, there were so many things to see and so many things to do. Going to the Colosseum was a life long dream of mine and I totally nerded out seeing all the examples of 2,000 year old civil engineering. I mean white marble used as a course aggregate in an ancient cementaceous material?? Come on! The entire building is obviously in ruins but you can see examples of the different levels in certain sections of the stadium since not all of it was sacked by barbarians years and years ago. Our ticket also covered entrance to the Roman Forum and Palentine Hill, which were both really fun to walk around in. The Forum was just a big market place where ancient Romans chilled out and hung out with everyone. Palentine Hill was a combo of ancient Beverly Hills and all kinds of newer museums squished together overlooking the Forum. While in Rome we also got to see some of the other major tourist attractions, like the Pantheon and Vatican City. The Pantheon looked like nothing special from the outside, but onced we stepped in it was a different story. Knowing about concrete domes, I knew that the Pantheon is Italy's largest self supported concrete down and it's measurements are so precise that people today are still trying to figure out how the ancient engineers made such a perfect dome structure down to the centimeters. The Vatican City was unbelievable, so many paintings, so many sculptures, so F-ing hot. The best parts were when we'd get to art galleries because they were always air conditioned. Seeing the Sistine Chapel blew my mind as well, I saw the actual "Creation" painting by Michaelangelo, and only then did I realize that it's only one small painting in a mess of almost 50 different amazing paintings by that old man, named after my favorite ninja turtle.

Cinque Terre was our next stop (besides one night in Florence, but I"ll get back to that) and it was such a beautiful group of small villages tucked into the cliffs of the Mediterranean. From the food, to the swimming, to the greuling hike, I had so much fun. Andrew and I had our own apartment so always having a sanctuary to come back to and relax in was great. We also hosted a sangria party and Sam cooked an amazing dinner, with crepes for dessert (and my breakfast).

After Cinque Terre we headed to Florence. We climbed to Piazzale Michaelangelo and looked out over Florence while sipping some bottles of fine Italian wine (and beer for me). The next day we hit up the Duomo and good GOD that was a hike. Most of the stairways were just so narrow and once we got to the top I was able to forget about all 463 of the steps I had just climbed because the view was incredible. They say that the "Big 3" in Italy are the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Duomo. Andrew and I have conqured all three while traveling the boot country and it was a good run. For those of you interested in Italy however, and who don't do well in humidity, be warned that Italy is hot, and terribly humid. I sweat through shirts in the morning and gave up caring about it by about noon, knowing that I would be exploring in my sweat alllllll day until i changed shirts for dinner.

I have so much more to say, but I seriously have a date with destiny at one of these Bier Gartens with pretzels the size of my head and beers the size of my arm. Germany plays for 3rd place in the World Cup tonight and it would be a shame if I was sober in the country where intoxication was invented.

Keep it real!