Ok, weve got quite a bit of catching up to do, i know we said we'd write frequently, cos of the free internet n all, so sorry that we didnt...just didnt really have the time. anyway we are now in naples, in quite a nice area (most of naples is a crime-stricken den of mafiosos), with a great hostel, which also has free internet, an amazing common room (table tennis table, complete with oriental people playing an epic game when we arrived) and lots of other good stuff. but lets pick up from last time: the day after siena, we did florence itself. saw the duomo, which was amazing, esp. with the free tour we got, seem to be getting quite a few of those. looked up at the fools who paid 6 euro to go up the dome. also saw the uffizi, yes it was a 3 hour queue, yes we couldve reserved for 3 euro, but that was in the middle of our mad saving money stage, so... The uffizi was indeed amazing inside, altho., as you would expect, choc a bloc with people. also, and this is the biggest news of the day, i saw derek jacobi having coffee in the piazza del signoria. wow. and for the rest of the time (which wasnt much, considering the uffizi queue), we just walked around florence. We also saw the bridge at night, that was very beautiful but the tourist kinda make it less so.
The next day, we went to pisa, to see that leaning tower. when that was done, we didnt really know what to do with ourselves, so we sat in the sun on those big patches of grass all around the tower, and read (i read Dante's Inferno, getting all Italian. was fun working out which circle of hell Lucy would be in. thought at last that she'd be with the indecisive in Limbo (or maybe the first circle), you should see her in supermarkets... anyway, we were there until late afternoon, then decided it would be a good idea to head off, being sort of sunburnt and sleepy, so headed back, ate a massive supper, then settled down in the hostel garden to chat to an aussie we met the other night, great guy btw, was 26 yrs old and an engineer. then two other aussies came up (florence was literally overrun with them), and sat down. we bantered around for a bit, one of them had got his baggage lost between ho chi minh and rome airport, been mugged and arrested all in 6 days, which was pretty funny. Then, and i dont know how it happened, we got into a philosophical debate on a really wide range of subjects - love, free will, the ego, to name a few - and most people (there were quite a big group of us by now) juts peeled off one by one, until it was four of us (me and the three aussies) talking about religion. that was at like half midnight. then the engineer went off, then i left (the conversation was going in circles, and i was frankly exhausted). As i was goin to sleep about half an hour later, at about 2 o'clock, i could still hear them arguing. really really surreal, but nice to have a really interesting conversation. my brain was dying on me with all the "oh really, so where you travelling next?" and the "so how long are you travelling for? I'm travelling for 6 months". god...
so that was florence...the next day, we headed to assisi as a stop on the way to rome. i have to say, and i doubt this will ever change, that assisi is my new favourite place, and one of the most beautiful towns ever. its really religious - there are about 7 churches, one of them being the Basilica di San Francesco (St. Francis is a famous Assisi-an saint), which is basically two churches. it juts out on the hillside, so its the first thing you see coming into assisi, and inside, theres the tomb of st. francis, complete with pilgrims reaching out and touching the stone of the tomb, not sure what they were hoping for, but it really added to the feel of the place. apart from that, there werent really many 'sites' in the touristy sense of the word, but the whole town was basically a site. then we headed to rome. I lovehow there were loads of monks and nuns, it added to the whole thing. Kept running into these english school girls who wouldnt stop talking, we had seen them at siena as well. We keep seeing people we have seen in other areas again, very strange.
we got to rome really really hungry and late, and after wed eventually found the hostel (really not that nice - our room was in a seperate building about ten mins away. you have to carry our bags to appreciate the pissed off factor of that.) so we thought wed treat ourselves that night (it was also about half way thru the trip). we walked to the trevi fountain, which was lovely if you ignored all the people, then found a nice restaurant, where there was a fat Italian guy singing abba. fantastic, we thought. we both had steak (lu had salad, i had chips), and it was amazing. real meat, its crazy how much you miss it. then we saw the spanish steps, which were also crawling wih people, just less families, more groups of drunk americans, then went home and collapsed into bed.
Next day, we planned to do Rome in a day. massively ambitious, but what the hell, we practically did, even with us being ready to go by 10 o'clock. we did the collosseum first, then walked around the roman forum, then to the monument to vittorio emmanuele II (we had to use the loos, but it was a cool place), then the pantheon, then ice cream at the piazza navona (wow), then a glance over the tiber and at the castello di san angelo, then the vatican. we were prepared for really long queues, wed heard about 4 hour long nightmares (it was also a really hot day), so we werent looking forward to it. we walked into st. peters church without a wait, then there wasnt a queue for the museum (where the sistine chapel is), but it did take about 30 mins to walk to the chapel, and we werent really looking at anything on the way. raphael rooms were really good, tho. so we did it without any wait, but then maybe thought it was our expert (but totally accidental timing). for the church - we went at lunchtime, for the museum - we went a few minutes before closing time, which was really early. but I've missed out something! we went into the church twice. lucy doesnt really have any long skirts (not that theyre that short harrumph...), short of jeans, and it was far too hot for those. so they didnt let us in, which really annoyed me, because I really dont understand stupid rules, and thats one of the stupidest ever. but then we saw a shop selling touristy stuff, and lucy found some horrible looking trousers, made, i think, of tablecloth. but they were OK, and she actually likes them (odd...). as for st. peters itself, I didnt really like it that much. it was a bit too self-glorifying (up itself, in laymans terms), far too much gold. it made you think of african children and generally the people that religion is meant to help (cliches, but still true). ive seen much prettier churches anyway - the basilica di san francesco in assisi is really decorative, but almost no gold, just beautiful paintings. the sistine chapel was magnificent, but you kept being jostled by tourists with digital cameras, not really looking at the art, just wanting to tick it off on their tourist list. ive really come to hate tourists, it feels like all they do when they see a 'sight' is tick it off, so they can say theyve seen it. they never look long and hard, and try to actually experience it.
anyway, that night we headed off to naples, rather apprehensive, because naples is not the sort of place you want to be around after about 10 oclock, because the tramps and weirdos rule the streets. esp. with our massive rucksacks. luckily to get to our hostel, you went on the metro first, which did have its weirdos, but not so many, then it was a short walk. also, we met some english people who were staying at our hostel, who took us there (thankfully, cause the directions we got were wrong). we got to the hostel, and were just so happy. rome was not an experience id like to go thru again - the 'included breakfast' was literally a piece of bread and some jam, beds werent comfortable, no lockers in the rooms. anyway, our foods ready, so ill talk about today a bit later on. bye! xx