Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mambo Italiano

So I took the train from Barcelona to Florence.  My initial plan was to go to Aix in Southern France but the hostels there were so over the top expensive.  So I decided to change my plan and go to Florence instead.  Now I have an undying love for Florence (Firenze) ever since I first read EM Forster's "A Room with a View".  And saw the movie.  Read it, watch it, visit it, love it.  However I did not have a hostel booked when I got there, merely the addresses of a couple of hostels.  Which I never found.  So I wandered the city with my pack trying to find a place to stay.  I ended up paying way more than I wanted to but stayed in a nice centrally located hotel.   Then I went out to explore the beautiful city that I was in.  I walked around and stopped for some pizza, wine, and gelato.  Because if there is something more Italian than that I would be hard pressed to find it.  I walked across the Ponte Vecchio and saw all the street vendors.  I found a little carousel.  The next day after my free breakfast I found the Florence Cathedral (Il Duomo) and was stunned into silence by the beauty and vastness of it.  Then I went walking through the city and ended up by the city walls that used to surround the whole city.  I walked through the gates that were closed every night and opened every morning.  On my way back I walked by the river at sunset.  One of the most beautiful walks I went on my entire trip.  The next morning I headed to the train station to go to Rome.

Rome!  The history... the food.... the men!!!  Now granted, you would think that it would be fine to find a hostel in Rome.  And I am sure that most times it is quite easy to find a cheap hostel there.  But that's not how I rolled.  No, I decided to roll into the city on Easter weekend without a reservation.  So after walking around for 3 hours trying to find a place to stay and getting laughed at or being told that the rooms were over 100 Euro a night I went into an internet cafe and booked a hostel.  So I was staying near the train station in a single room for way more than I wanted to pay.  But it worked out quite well for me. Except the one night that a drunk girl tried to come into my room.... and did.  Either her key worked for my room or the door wasn't closed all the way.  Regardless, I slept with the desk in front of the door the rest of the time!  But Rome is magical.  There is a reason it is called the Eternal City.  Rome will never "die".  I spent five days there and feel like I merely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there.  I did the big tourist attractions: Coliseum, Forum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Panthenon, Vatican City/Museum, Via Condotti.  There was just so much to see and do.  And every where you go is an iconic site that you have seen so many times and places before.  But to see them in real life and to be in their presence is almost overwhelming.  Rome has a presence that few other cities have.  I was able to sit on a hill top near overlooking the Coliseum and hear the Pope give his Good Friday speech.  Which was awe inspiring and weird, as I don't speak Latin and am not Catholic.  But to see the crowds surrounding him was incredible.  A once in a life time experience.

Leaving Rome proved to be interesting.  I was on a completely full train and was quite glad that I had a reserved seat.  The compartment was full was was the entire hallway.  But taking the train from Rome, through the Alps and into Vienna (Wien) was beautiful.  Vienna seemed so clean.  I didn't see any trash on the ground.  I walked around the city for a couple of hours, got some breakfast, went to St. Stephens, wandered.  Then found the train to Budapest.  Well sort of.  While at the train station a Turkish man came up and kept saying Budapest to me.  So I said yes.  He then stuck with me.  When we accidentally got on the train going from Budapest to Munich.....  Luckily it went to a different train station in Vienna and we could get on the train to Budapest there.  Which was coming two hours later.  Not a problem for me but my Turkish Delight was catching a plane in Budapest to Turkey which I think he missed.  So sorry dude.  Hope you made it.


"Women like looking at a view.  Men don't."  Mr. Emerson.  

Il Duomo

Il Duomo

Iconic Rome

Gladiators and the Police.  

Pope.  Good Friday.  

St. Stephens Cathedral.  Vienna.

Vienna Park

No comments:

Post a Comment