February 25, 2014

Winter Paradise

There are a million things I love about Italy. The lack of nature, is not one of them. Italy has been inhabited and structured for nearly its entire history, it's not surprising that every major city is overlaid completely by concrete and the ever infamous cobblestones. Usually I can hang with this city-living style, but I was more ready than I even knew to go to the great outdoors.

I went to the right place: Interlaken, Switzerland is one of the outdoor recreation capitols of the world. Nestled down in a valley this wild utopia is surrounded on four sides by the Swiss Alps. The Alps rise up above you at incomprehensible heights, making you feel like every bit the ant you are in their presence. These grand mountains are covered by various trees and mounds of snow, creating a breathtaking landscape. 

February 20, 2014

The magic in Venice

"Memory's images, once they are fixed in words, are erased," Polo said. "Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it, or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little.” 
-Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

I think I may have been channeling Calvino's Marco Polo this week. I usually jump to blog and relive my memories through the words I type. However, with Venice, I think I just wanted to hold onto it alone for a little while longer, letting it live only in my memory.

There are some places that when you arrive, you find are nothing like you expected (Rome for example). Other places, however, are everything you could have ever dreamt and then some. Venice is one of these places. Walking out of the Santa Lucia Train Station, you are released right on the Grand Canal, a sight that cannot be anticipated.

February 15, 2014

Roma, Roma, Roma

What could be more blissful then lounging by the Trevi Fountain, basking in the sunlight, and people watching? 

Ah yes, lounging by the Trevi Fountain, basking in the sunlight, people watching, AND gelato Nutella flavored gelato. 

February 13, 2014

The Eternal City

Two countries. One day.

Well, technically. One country, one "city-state": Vatican City, which is independent from Italy so I say it counts. In any case, as is with everything in Rome, the size of the monuments in Vatican City are large enough for an entire country. 

I'd like to start this part of the post with a little word to the wise, as I know we all have hopes of visiting Rome, and when that occurs Vatican City is obviously a stop on the tourist loop. There are two entrances: one that leads you to the Sistine Chapel & the Vatican Museum and the other, which takes you straight into Saint Peters Basilica. So be sure and know which one you want first. I state this, mostly because I was unaware of this fact, and the girls and I spent the initial part of our morning walking back and forth trying to figure out what to do, whilst, as is the norm, being harassed by various guides and merchants trying to bamboozle us. 

On the upside though, we got some picture ops early in the morning when the crowds weren't too outrageous. 

February 11, 2014

Benvenuto a Roma

Rome is both everything you expect it to be, and nothing like you imagined. In both good and bad ways. As an eternal optimist though, I'll try to give you the best of it. 

The initial excitement comes from going: Andiamo a Roma! The eternal city, with more history than possibly any other place on the planet. With the addition of a fancy-smancy high speed train, you're on your way to a great time. 

The architecture of Rome is beautiful (and slightly reminiscent of San Francisco...or maybe to say San Francisco is reminiscent of Rome is more accurate). 

February 4, 2014

La dolce vita

Wake up, it's Saturday morning, and there are not buckets of rain coming down. Easy to make a plan for the day: just meet up with your friends at the over 600 year old Duomo. 

You and your amiche walk down the bustling streets of Florence, alive with people no longer forced to hide from the rain. You're not sure how to get where you're going, but you have a general idea, so you'll find a sign eventually. 

February 2, 2014

Living in a dream

Sometimes things are so amazing that they become surreal. Italy is one of those things. It's like I woke up one morning and was dropped into one of my own dreams. 

My first official day in Firenze the weather could have not been more beautiful. Even if it rains everyday after (which so far has been the case), fate was kind enough to offer one sunshiny perfect day of exploring to keep me content. Rain or no rain, though, Florence is still more magical than a thousand other places on their most perfectly weathered day. 

My new roomies, Jackie and Catherine, and myself spent our first day wandering the streets, generally looking for a convenience store, but mostly just being thrilled with our new home; a fair emotion when you consider the view. 

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