Last post: Travel Update #2
Since last post: (rest of) Siena, Florence and Cinque Terre.
Siena day #2 was our main day, and we spent the bulk of it walking around the ‘city’ (it’s very small), and we were lucky enough to score free Duomo tickets from a lovely man who just gave them to us. I loved the detail on the outside – because working with clay or paper is hard enough, but imagine something as unforgiving as marble!! The inside artworks and designs were quite spectacular as well.
Because Siena is so small, there’s a place you can go (and of course we did), where you can basically see the whole city!
Alllll of Siena
Other Siena highlights include: seeing the world’s oldest bank (which I can never remember the name of), eating pizza farcita (stuffed pizza), and having zucchini flowers for the first time! (They don’t actually taste like much).
Next stop: FLORENCE which I was bloody excited for!!
On the way, we went via Michaelangeo’s Square (I think it may be called something else, but I’m not sure), and saw fake David and a very nice view of Florence.
View from Michaelangleo Palazzo
We’d booked a hostel quite far from a) the drop off point, and b) the city of Florence, so by the time we found out where we had to go (no thanks to Macca’s not free WiFi), we had to wait 2.5 hours for the next bus! We mostly just sat in the train station and I went to a supermarket and bought baby tomatoes and rolls. Our hostel (when we finally got there), was pretty good!!
Florence #1 (which was a Sunday I think), we walked to the medieval town (Barberini), and had the most incredible food there! It was mostly vegetables (frshsly grown), bruschetta (bread) and goats’s cheese with spices. (Plus rosé, which cemented my feelings on all wine). Plus quail eggs, which taste just like normal eggs!!
Incredible food/gross wine
That night I had a (gross) roll for dinner (in an effort to save money), but also had a very great/rich dark chocolate soufflé for dessert.
Rad dark choocolate souffle
The next day, we went into Florence (city) and were vaguely going to see the Duomo and the tower. But the line was nopeville #2 (and could’ve even been longer than the Sistene Chapel free day line), so we took many photos of the incredible outside and moved right along.
Walked around Florence; saw the Golden Turtle, Ponte Vecchio Bridge and ate a really good kiwi icy pole. We also went to a costume exhibition (wasn’t that impressed), a ceramics exhibition and the Biboli Gardens (which was quite cool and contained a fake Fountain of Neptune which I drew). We also went to a fruit orchard where we took some apples and a fruit which turned out to be a plum.
Kiwi icy pole and me!
Day #3 involved being real tourists and waiting in a (very) deceptively short line FOR THREE HOURS for Michaelangelo’s David, which was quite incredible and definitely worth the wait!!
Gotcha head David!!
The gallery around him wasn’t all that exciting for me – lots of baby Jesus’ and guild and gold and religious iconography.
We also made more Magnums because we’re a lil obsessed and also they’re really good!!!
Toppings – popcorn, popping candy and biscuits
We had previously booked a tour/dinner/karaoke, but the lady booking it got the dates mixed up, so we didn’t end up going, which was annoying and a bit sad, but we went out for ramen instead (which was quite good).
We trained to Pisa, where we had obligatory week #5/homesick-for-western-food burger and chips (and I also had a really good chocolate croissant pastry thing).
But the Leaning Tower of Pisa was awesome!! Took many obligatory tourist shots (did you even go if you don’t have a photo with you holding the tower??), and we even managed to get a photo of A doing a handstand and ‘holding it up’ with his feet (after many attempts).
CINQUE TERRE was quite beautiful and a nice break from the busy busy tourist lifestyle we’ve been running (although there were many tourists there!)
On the first night, (after finally figuring out how to get to my hostel, which was 20 minutes up from the first town), I came back down to Riomaggiore where I swam and had calamari for the first time!! The water was so nice (and also the calamari).
A and I got a crepe with nutella, smarties and sprinkles (yes we’re 12), to share (which was really good, but had a thicker consistency to what I’d expect from a crepe).
Day #2, I joined up with a Brit, and American and a Spaniard/Frenchman to do the walk from Monterosso to Vernazza. It was pretty hard, especially the billion and one stairs, but otherwise quite nice.
View at top of walk
We swam at the ‘beach’ (more like rock city) in Vernazza (and I had a really good pizza slice with pesto and tomatoes and cheese for lunch) and then trained to Corniglia, where we climbed 376 stairs to go up and 376 stairs to come down.
Trained back to Riomaggiore, had a drink and then met A for dinner. Had 5€ tagletelle with Mediterranean sauce and then split another 5€ pasta (we chose gnocchi) with pesto.
Had rad hostel breakfast the next morning, and then bussed down to La Spezia to await the Busabout bus. Took about 6 hours to NICE (FRANCE!!!), where we went via Fragonourd, a perfumiere (where we had a 25 minute tour and learnt that it takes 10 years to study to be a nose!!! 3 years study, 7 practice and you’re not allowed to drink, smoke or eat spicy food and they only work 3 days a week).
Found some girls where were staying at the same hostel as me, so we walked together and I hung out with them. Walked around, went to Fenocchio (which we thought was called Pinocchio, whoops) where I had very very GOOD ice cream (and they definitely have the best range of flavours I’ve seen).
Flavours: mnm, salted caramel and pecan
We walked around the night markets and saw Suicide Squad (English with French subtitles), which I quite enjoyed!!
Saw a pretty church
Until Switzerland or maybe even the end of the loop (back to Munich!)