Sunday, November 1, 2009
I am back in Madrid and I am glad. I am using my own computer instead of one in an internet cafe so I don't have to look for the @ sign every time I get on. We got to Venice on Sunday morning. We walked around a while and went on a gondola ride that night. It was so much fun. It was the 5 of us (me, Mom, Rachelle, Kari, and Erica) on one boat. The other boat had a singer on it, so as we were going up and down the "roads of Venice" we had someone singing to us. It was like a movie, except for the fact that we didn't know that if we moved, we would tip it over. Only a little close. We also went to the big square there and took lots of pictures, but it took me a few more days to find the night settings on my camera, so I don't have that many good pictures. We flew out of Venice on Monday and arrived in Florence. We got smart this time and paid someone to take us to the hotel, since we got lost for two hours in Rome looking for the hotel. We went out that afternoon, ate, and watched the sun go down. I don't know why, but day lights saving here is a week earlier than in the states, so it was getting dark between 5 and 6 every night. That was okay except for the fact that I felt like it was bed time at 8. Then the next day was awesome. We found a tour group in a brochure and we went on it through Tuscany. We went to Pisa and saw the Leaning Tower! It was amazing. It was a square with two other monuments with it, but I was quite excited to just see it. I never thought I would. We also went to few cities, but I can't remember the names of them, but it was in the "Wine Country" of Tuscany. We went to a wine tasting for lunch, and also had lasagna, which was the best food I had on this trip. There is also something called truffle oil that is wonderful, but it was a little too expensive to buy there, but I am definitely going to buy some of the Buy-Low brand when I get home :) I doubt it will be the same. We drove through vineyards, and olive tree groves, and sunflowers. I didn't know this but Tuscany has a million and half sunflowers and then some. Beautiful. We went back to Florence that night and left for Rome the night day. We got to Rome on Wednesday and checked in the hotel and got something to eat. I don't think I will ever get tired of Italian food. Then we went shopping. There is a China Town in Rome that we went to and it was a little weird. There were shoe stores everywhere, but the only size they had was a 37 (equivalent to a 7, I think) and I wear a 39 or 40. So after going into about 20 stores looking for shoes we finally gave up on the shoes and went purse shopping. There are so many stands on the sidewalk with people selling whatever. They walk back when they see someone, holding up a bag, talking, and keep walking with you for a minute or two. They are very persuasive and annoying because you feel like you are getting bombarded with people on every street. The same with restaraunts. The waitors will follow you showing you the menu as you walk down the street. But I did find some shoes that night. I bought a black pair and a brown pair of shoes that come up a little past my ankle. They were cheap, but I don't know how long they will last. The next day we bought a bus pass on one of the buses that has two parts, a top and bottom. We rode around one time, and on the second time around, we got off at the Colosseum. We took so many pictures of the Coloseum and the buildings around it. Then we got back on the cute little bus and went to the Pantheon. It was pretty impressive. We rode around for a little bit longer before getting off and getting something to eat, more Italian food and gelato (Italian ice cream, the best). The next day we went to the Vatican and saw the Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. We also went to the Trevi Fountain. I threw a coin in because if someone throws a coin in, it is for good luck for a return trip to Italy. Then we went and saw the Spanish steps. We went about 4, and the sun was in a real awkward position, so no pictures from this sight, but I did buy postcards. Then, we split up and Mom and I went one way. We went down the major shopping street in Rome. Think all the expensive name brands you can, and that is where we were. We could barely afford to breathe in their. My mom gave me a choice, wallet or house payment. I think you know which one won over. We went back to the hotel to unload everything we bought, and then rested for awhile before going to Hard Rock. I had ice tea for the first time since I left. Granted, it was unsweet, but with enough sugar, it was doable. And ranch. How I miss my ranch :) We didn't think about one fact when we were buying our tickets from Rome to Madrid. We bought a later flight because we wanted to see all that we could. We didn't think about after we checked out, we would have to drag our luggage everywhere. So we checked out at 11 and parked in the train station. Then we went in groups to do a little more souvenior shopping before we left, while one or two people stayed with the bags. We took a train to the airport, which is in the middle of nowhere, and we flew out about 7:45. Two hours later, and we were back in Madrid. I loved Italy, but there were some things that I missed about Madrid. Madrid is so much cleaner and the public transportation system is so much more organized here. Mom and I got back to my house around midnight, and she had to leave for the airport at 5, so she didn't get much sleep. I feel so bad for her. 9 planes in 10 days is exhausting for anyone, but she did it without complaining. She didn't bother to count the metros and buses though. :) I don't have school tomorrow because it is a Spanish national holiday, so I get another day to recuperate and do homework. Yeah right. It makes me feel better to say that I am going to tomorrow so I can be lazy today.