Eurotrip: Ciao Bella!

4 Sep

When last we saw our hero, he had just finished an exhausting battle with man’s best friend and was in the process of meeting up with….everyone meet Krystal…travel companion, fashionista to the stars, ice cream lover (more like ice cream monster…but more on this later), best friend.

Everyone this is Krystal!

Everyone meet Krystal!

With pleasantries exchanged, we were off.  We had arrived at the airport fairly early…11ish and our flight wasn’t set to depart until about 5 PM…so we did what anyone else would do when faced with extended periods of waiting…

We Slept!

We Slept!

 

This was my second time going to Europe and I was extremely excited about all the countries we were going to visit…what made the trip even more special was the fact that Krystal would be celebrating a birthday!

9 hours later we were in England.  We had about a 10 hour layover before our flight on to Italy so we decided to start our vacation a little early and be tourists!   We took our first steps outside the airport and immediately there was something not quite right.  It was cold as shit…I mean see your breath cold…much to my amusement…(What??!?  I live on an island people!  That shit rarely happens here) Back inside we went.  We weren’t to be outdone though…we were risk takers….we were warriors…we were adventurers…we found jackets.  We found a tour bus that travels all over the city near all of the sights and it also allowed you to hop on and hop off if you decided to take pictures.  Perf.  It was both of our first times in London and while we were tired, we were excited to see well….all the things we had seen on TV.  While the tour started a little too slowly for our liking…(i.e. stopping for extended periods of time at each stop to let people on and off) we soon found ourself in the heart of England…or at least a place that had a lot of things to see anyways.  We saw Big Ben, the London Eye, Double Decker buses, Buckingham Palace, one of those Red Telephone booths…that’s right people… we saw it all.  The Queen even called us and asked us up for tea and crumpets…we politely declined as we had a flight to catch but told her next time we were passing through we’d Facebook message her…what? You guys don’t believe the Queen has a Facebook?

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Krystal hanging up from the Queen after declining afternoon tea…

We headed back to the airport to catch our flight to Rome.  We boarded…and as hard as I fought to stay awake…

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Sleep was inevitable.  I think we both passed out…after traveling for almost 24 hours, it was beginning to take its toll on us.  We landed in Rome as the sun was beginning to set, we were tired but nevertheless, we were excited to be in Italy!  After what seemed like an eternity, our bags came out and we left the airport.  After arriving at our hotel, and getting settled, we decided that it was important that we eat.  Here’s where we ran into some problems.  Apparently, unbeknownst to us, everything closes down rather early.  Eating dinner at 10 PM seemed to be mission impossible.  I had noticed a McDonald’s across the street from our hotel when were driving in but surely, we didn’t just fly half way around the world to eat McDonald’s did we?  Yes…yes we did.  This proved to be an adventure in and of itself.  When it was time to order, I spoke English and the cashier spoke Italian.  As my Italian doesn’t exceed the two words of spaghetti and fettucini, I was of no use to her…and I was quickly learning that she was of no use to me…quite simply we were at a crossroads.  So ordering consisted of a lot of pointing and nodding.  One word that apparently is universal is Coke.  At least I got something right.  After looking in the bag to see if we got something even remotely close to what we wanted, I proceeded back up to the hotel and we ate.  We settled in and relaxed the rest of the evening…even took in Scandal in Italian.

The next day was a busy one.  We took the hotel shuttle into town, I may or may not have fallen asleep on the bus into town…I was excited…but I was also jet-lagged…a common theme throughout the trip as we hopscotched over time zones.  We immediately got into town and saw what we thought was the colosseum…I mean for like 10 minutes…we gawked in amazement.  At some point Krystal said something along the lines of…”Umm..I don’t think this is it” and then we proceeded to get lost for a half an hour as we tried to navigate our way to the colosseum.  We eventually found our way and what a sight it was!  It was amazing to see all the things that they were able to achieve in such a primitive time.  What was also amazing was that long ass line outside waiting to get in.  Krystal quickly devised a plan.  We would join a tour and use the tour guide to skip the lines and get in and then break a part from the group and do our own thing.  Worked for me.  While slow (keep in mind people we were trying to squeeze everything in), we eventually found our way in the Colosseum and had a great time “learning” about everything.  I say learning loosely…for fourteen days we were subjected to such much history, I don’t know about Krys but I’m still trying to piece together what happened when and where.

From there we headed to Vatican City.  Having grown up as a Catholic, it was a great chance to visit a place so full of history and culture.  With that we were late.  Having wasted so much time with our talkative tour guide, and New York City type traffic, by the time we got to our assigned meeting place our group had left.  We were worried that we wouldn’t be accommodated but after talking with the tour scheduler, he reassigned us with another group much to our relief.  For the next few hours we toured the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and pretty much anywhere else the allowed us to go.  After reading so many Dan Brown novels that have taken place in Rome, seeing Michelangelo’s work was breathtaking.  At this point we had our first Italian meal!  We thoroughly enjoyed our first authentic meal, it’s amazing everything was so fresh and unlike everything else deemed “Italian” that we are so accustomed to.  From there we went on to St. Peter’s Basilica.  The level of detail that went into every nook and crevice is astonishing.  From Gold plated ceilings to marble tiles, they spared no detail…and apparently no expense!

We still had a lot of places to visit!  At this point in time, I had mastered the art of navigating the streets of Rome.  We saw the Trevi Fountain (even threw in a coin which means I’ll be back there at some point in my life), Piazza Venezia, the Spanish Steps of which we climbed all might I add, and just enjoyed the sights.  We had dinner at a quaint little pizzeria not too far from the Spanish steps and the food again was delectable…The Italian beer was pretty good as well.  With that we took a train and a cab back to the hotel.

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View from the Spanish Steps…Ole!

The next day that we awoke, it was time to head to Venice!  We had a four hour train ride.  After we almost had to beat up a con artist who wanted to charge us 20 Euros for giving us information on where our train was, we were on our way.  I was constantly paranoid that the train was taking us somewhere else besides Venice but after asking the conductor about 3 times, and getting a dirty look on the third time, I decided that it was in my best interest to just relax.  I enjoyed the sights for a bit while Krystal rested but eventually, sleep won out and we both passed out.  When we awoke we were in Venice!  It’s truly one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever been to.  It’s like going to a city where all the streets have been replaced with water, and all the taxis have been replaced with boats.  We did some quick sightseeing, Krystal found some really nice souvenirs that in hindsight, I should have bought but oh well.  We even did a gondola ride!  It was really nice to be out on the water and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Gondola-ing through Venice

Gondola-ing through Venice

WIth that it was time to check in….when we saw it….What did we see?  Look for it in my next post which will be up in a few days….!  Take care guys.

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