Italy Trip - PART 3 - Day 6 to 12 - Cinque Terre to Pisa to Florence to Rome to Treviso to London

Day 6 – Saturday 11th April – Cinque Terre to Pisa to Florence

We woke up approximately 7.30am to get all our things ready for our next destination, Florence. We decided to make a quick stop at Pisa to see the leaning tower.

We headed down the main street of Riomaggiore and caught the 9am train to Pisa, arriving there at approx. 10.15am.
Clint on the train

We arrived at Pisa at exactly 10.15am and went and bought a bus ticket for 2 euro that would take us straight to the leaning tower. And a few minutes later we were there! When we arrived there were people everywhere! Lots of tourists, of course, and lots of people take photos of themselves holding or pushing the tower up.

Of course Clint and I did the same and took lots of photos at various spots of the tower.

We did not go up the tower due to the fact that we were each carrying 15kg plus packs still, however, we both feel we did not miss out on anything not going in it and were completely satisfied with what we saw :) .

It still amazes me, the opportunities we are given to travel! What we have seen so far and what we are to see, I feel so thankful everyday!

We bought tickets for the 1pm train to Florence. We had a short break between, hopped on our train, arrived at Florence and found our accommodation. We stayed in a hostel for the 2 nights whilst we were there. It is a 6 bed dorm, but surprisingly it is quite lovely and there are lockers in the room where you can secure your belongings, which is very reassuring when you are staying in a hostel!

We unloaded our things and went for a walk around Florence. Although we found it reasonably small, there is so much tucked away in side streets that you would miss it if you did not know any better. We did not enter any places but just walked around for a few hours getting out bearing for tomorrow. The churches are massive in Florence! Like absolutely, unimaginably huge!!! And there are so many of them too!!!

Just a word of warning if you are ever to go to Florence. Zebra crossings do not necessarily mean pedestrians have the right of way! Infact, here in Florence, I am not sure exactly what they mean. You definitely have to be extra careful when crossing the roads!

Ended the night by going to a nice restaurant and then having coffee and gelato, yum yum!

Day 7 – Sunday 12th April – Florence – Easter Sunday

I couldn't sleep this morning and was up around 6.30am. Luckily! As we got a call from Clint's family for easter, which was lovely to receive. I pottered around getting ready, checking emails, etc until Clint woke up.

The hostel had a cooked breakfast (very unusual) and easter egss (oh my gosh they were so yummy!).

We left and headed towards the Galleria Academia to see the statue of David by Michaelangelo. When we arrived there we found that there were 2 lines and we had no idea which one we should be in. Shortly after we found our line and amazingly enough, 10 minutes later, we were inside the gallery (it was a fast moving line!?!?...what the??)

So there we were staring at the 'real' statue of David!!!! It was amazing to see in real life after seeing so many pictures of it growing up! The statue itself is made of one solid piece of marble which took Michaelangelo 4 years to carve. And it is massive! The carving is so precise – showing so much detail in his body, veins, hands defined, etc.

After that we headed to the main Cathedral where there was an 'Explosion of the Cart', which was literally just that, a cart full of explosives and fireworks that is lit at 11am on Easter Sunday. We started watching from outside then made our way inside. And oh my, the sound inside the cathedral was thunderous!!! I found it strange that such a quiet sacred place would want a sound like that in their church. I mean picture this, the sound was that loud and shocking, it made children and babies cry from fright!

After watching this we went towards Ponte Vecehio bridge to go over the other side of the canal. This area, we found was extremely populated with tourists, like us.

For the following few hours we just walked around Florence, looking and taking pictures of anything that caught our attention.

We had a rest back at the hostel, had some tea and then I made a decision to stray from my 11 week (so far) health kick and ordered the most scrumptious looking gelato ever – snickers and nutella flavour!! Oh my gosh it was absolutely delish! I wish I had of taken a photo! My stomach nearly died of shock, but that's another story :oP

Day 8 - Monday 13th April - Florence to Rome

Woke up late, 8.30amish. Had breakfast and headed to the train station.

We caught the 11am train to Rome - getting there by about 3 in the arvo. We filled in time on the train by reading, chatting, listening to the ipod and me by writing in this journal.

We found our hostel, unpacked our stuff and went for a wander around Rome. Although Rome looks massive on the tourist map we surprisingly passed a lot! On our walk we passed the colosseum, trevi fountain, museums and lots and lots of Piazzas.
Trevi Fountain

Our plans tomorrow are to visit the Vatican, as that is meant to be super busy and we figure best to get that done first.
Bought our dinner from a supermarket and had a quiet night in with our books and ipods.

Day 9 - Tuesday 14th April - Rome

This morning we woke up around 8.30am ish and headed to the information booth near our hostel for more info on the best ways to get around Rome and to the Vatican.

We bought a pass for 3 days - a Roma Pass, which allows us entry to 2 museums, unlimited public transport and cheaper entry at other venues.

We arrived at Vatican city and oh my gosh! - it is huge. We lined up straight away for St Peters. Surprisingly we did not have long to wait - there was so much detail within the building it was fascinating.

After St Peters we headed to the Vatican Museum.

I even got to post some postcards to people from the Vatican!

Again there was a line but it seemed to go fairly quickly. We also visited the Sistine Chapel, this was quite amazing to - weren't allowed to take photos though.

After the Vatican we walked along the side of the canal we had not been along yet. One thing we have noticed is that things are so huge in Rome, we passed some things we had seem before and some we hadnt.

Another supermarket dinner then headed to see the colosseum at night.

Day 10 - Wednesday 15th April - Rome

We got up quite early this morning and headed in to Vatican City to watch the Pope do his morning service.

The ground/square was around 1/2 full with people when we got there. Pope Benedict arrived on his white 'Popemobile' and did laps of the square before going and sitting in his special pope chair.

The service began with the priests opening the service in different languages then Benedict did his part. It was really cool being there to see a service by him.

After that we continued towards the colosseum and did a guided tour of the colosseum and the roman forum. It was so much more beneficial to do a tour of this area as we felt we found out so much more about the history of the place, rather than just walking around and looking.

We found it amazing to think that we were standing on grounds that were almost 2000 years old.

Then we walked to the river and wandered around a small island just over the canal bridge. We walked back to the hostel, via the supermarket for a short rest. All the walking from the past 10 days was starting to catch up with us.

We went to a small restaurant for tea then went to the Trevi Fountain to see what it looked like at night, It was very beautiful and we found out it is the oldest fountatin in Rome, with Neptune the central figure.

We are trying hard to see everything in Rome before we go......tomorrows plans are to see the Pantheon, Piazza Navoro, Campi de Fiori and the surrounding areas, then we should have seen everything of importance.

Day 11 – Thursday 16th April – Rome

Today we left the hostel at around 9am to go off and see all the things we were yet to see in Rome. We walked past the colosseum and ruins towards the river - Tevere river. We went past Palazzo Spada and Farnese. Then to what I wanted to see Campi de Fiori - which is a flower and produce market written about in most of the guides.

This was a lovely quaint little market with lots of lovely fresh veg and fruit. We bought this absolutely delish dried pinapple, mango and kiwi fruit. Oh my the kiwi was just so yum!

After that we headed to Piazaa Navona, which was huge and written about in the lonely planet guide but really not that amazing.
Even pigeons love maccas!!
We then went to the Pantheon, which was really lovely, inside and out.

We went to Piazza del Popolo, it is where there are men who try to sell people long stemmed roses and approach couples or familys who are sitting and relaxing, or simply just walking by. A 'NO' was not listened to when the man approached us and he proceeded to place the rose on me like I had no other choice but to take rude. Both Clint and I got a little narky and then at last he left us alone and got the hint we did not want one. We continued to sit there for quite a while watching other peoples responses to the 'flower man', haha, funny.

Close to the Popolo was a huge park we visited called Villa Borghese. They have so many huge parks in Rome, but both Clint and I commented that they are so unkept it is sad because they could be so much nicer and have so much potential.

After that we sorted out our return train to Treviso, our airport destination, we went and grabbed a supermarket dinner, then went for our last night walk around Rome. We found Arena Domus an old ruins, had a gelato and headed to the colosseum to sit and relax for a while.....lovely night.

Our overloaded powerboard, oh my!

Gotta keep hydrated!

Day 12 – Friday 16th April – Rome to Treviso (Venice)

Woke up around 8.30ish and packed up all our stuff to get ready to leave Rome and head towards Venice before heading back to London.

Our journey today was on a eurostar, which is a faster train than the regional ones we have been catching for all of our journeys around Italy. The train is also a lot nicer - nicer seats, a table, a cafe......a nice trip. We found ourselves sitting next to a kiwi mother and daughter who were travelling europe for 3 weeks. They were lovely and it was nice to chat to people after being in a non english speaking country for nearly 2 weeks.

The connecting train to treviso was a quick 15 mins and the bus to our B&B for the night was approx. the same.

The B&B for the night was lovely, so big and spacious ...... like a hotel but better! A nice way to spend our last night.

Day 13 – Saturday 18th April – Treviso to London

We caught a taxi to the airport - flew back to London, and back to reality!! (again).

My boy all ready to go

Passports and tickets in hand ready

The plane ...

Wow, now you know why it takes me so long to update sometimes....too much to tell!