Friday, May 18, 2007

One

Petula Darling is one year old this week!

The birthday almost went unnoticed (much like when I missed the 100 post milestone), but fortunately I caught it in time and kept her from becoming the Samantha Baker of blogs. You all have been very patient, sticking with me despite my erratic posting schedule.

I now return you to our scheduled program: Eurotrip 2007...

After Interlaken Switzerland we dove into a seemingly endless tunnel and popped out on the other side of the alps. It was a whole different world. We drove into Italy and headed for Stresa, which we really liked. According to Lonely Planet this makes us fuddy-duddys who are possibly too old to carry their guidebook around. Shut up Lonely Planet.
Stresa is a fairly small town and there are no big sights other than the lake that it's on (which, believe it or not, I forgot to get pictures of!), but it's charming and it made a good starting point for the Italian leg of our trip.






I call this thing the Crunchberry Tree.


This is an abandoned building in Stresa that Davis and I jokingly referred to as "our little fixer-upper".

After 2 nights there we headed towards Parma, making a stop in Cremona (below) which was very charming.



From Parma we went to one of the towns in Cinque Terre (below) which was far too crowded with tourists for my taste, but still very pretty. It was quite warm, so I even went for a swim. That water was soooo salty! It was seriously floatastic and really fun.




From there we headed to Pisa...



I originally had no desire to go to Pisa ("Why do I need to see a leaning building when I live in one?"), but it was on the way. I'm really glad we did - the sight was far more striking than I would have thought.

From there we went to Florence.
Aaahhh....Florence.... the most overrated of all cities.

Here are the two main sights:



Hordes of tourists and...



Lots of very tasteful items for the tourist throngs to buy.

It's not that Florence is so awful, it's more that it's a huge letdown after all the buildup it gets. If a person had never been to Europe before and their only stop was in Florence, I could see how they'd think it was pretty great. The thing is, there are many many towns that are much prettier with far fewer hassles that I would recommend over Florence. Of course, it's possible that my opinions are colored by the fact that I had to wait over 2 hours to get into the Ufifizi and 3 and a half hours to get into the Accademia. To keep my head from exploding while standing in line, I took to composing poetry about the experience which caused me to elicit evil laughter. I shall refrain from sharing it, since I don't want my readers to leave with a bitter taste.
Fortunately, we discovered the secret to washing away the annoyances of a day lay deep inside a carafe of red wine. We saw the bottoms of many such vessels during our days in Florence.
edited to add: From what I've heard, the tourist industry in Florence has grown exponentially in recent years, and it's likely that we were just too late visiting here. If you visited and enjoyed it, I certainly didn't mean to insult your taste in travel destinations. If anything, you should take it as recognition of your "I did it before everyone else hopped on the bandwagon" coolness.

I do want to say that I was really impressed by the kindness of the people we met in Italy. When I think of how people here in "Vacationland" treat tourists by the time Labor Day rolls around, it gives me a great appreciation for the tolerance shown by the locals in towns where tourist season goes on and on and on.

I shall end this looooong post with a picture of two of the many delectable cappuccinos we had in Italy. Their coffee is soooooo good that I'd dream about it at night if I didn't think it would keep me up.





1 Comments:

Anonymous Old comments saved from the HaloScan exodus said...

But, but, I *liked* Florence! But then, I didn't see much else of Europe since I was on a very brief escape from college in London during my year abroad. What beautiful towns you saw! I need to go back and spend some time.
Julia Pequlia | Homepage | 05.18.07 - 6:58 pm | #

I love the looooong travelogue! And the cappuccino! I had the best cup of coffee in Seattle...duh, I know, but I wasn't all that impressed by most of them but that one Latte on 24th W., I don't even know what the place was called, but holy moly!
mary jane | Homepage | 05.18.07 - 9:24 pm | #

Those photos are breathtaking and call me a fuddy duddy if you must, but the ones from Stresa are my favorites. They look like they came straight out of a fairy tale. Thanks for sharing!
KJ

P.S. Happy birthday, Petula Darling!
KJ | Homepage | 05.20.07 - 3:35 pm | #

I have to agree that Florence can feel a bit over-rated. I studied there for a month, and I wished that I'd selected another city -- Bologna for example -- just to get away from the maddening crowds!
Gina | Homepage | 05.21.07 - 11:19 pm | #

6:45 PM, August 22, 2007  

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