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July 5th 2011
Published: July 5th 2011
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Italy is a bit of a surprise pack. You know, the little candy bag every kid used to buy. I remember begging my mom for a bag and find out I did not like half the candies. Italy is a history lover paradise. Anywhere you look you see something to blow off your mind. From ancient civilisation ruins to architecture beauties, each square have this wow factor. I always love this country. I never dreamed of walking on the moon. I used to wake up in the middle of the night thinking I was in one of those great military victories or fighting the greatest gladiator in the Colosseum. Our first trip to Italy three years ago was a bit of a conte de fees. Spending time walking the lovely canals of Venice and the great Romain remains of Rome. This time was completely different. We had more time and saw more. Do we still love Italy? Yes! but not that much.

Remember the last time I wrote something, I was describing how Swisserland so pragmatic, so punctual. Everything is always perfectly organise. Even the world smallest music festival we attend in a town close to Schaffhausen with my mate Jonas was top-notch... and there were less than 100 people. Italy is slow, relax... people are never on time. The north is richer. Turin is what a city should be. They have a good public transport system, all kinds of shops, a nice park and a great nightlife. The wine bars next to the river are great and the Egyptian museum is the meg of his kind. We also discover the aperitivo and enjoy it a bit everywhere in the country. Milan is the fashion capital of Europe. As you surely expect it, they have their fair share of cliche snob designer. There is also many churches like everywhere in the country. The duomo is one of the best in the world, but I am a bit sick of churches. Still worth seeing though. I can now say that I am not a fan of the city and did not really enjoy our stay. It is a shame we were not in the football season, I would have love to see the heat between the two teams.

Rome is Rome. There is only one city like it in the whole world. I LOVE IT. I cannot stand the late/relax habit of the Italian people, but to wake up looking at one of the many roman beauties I would do a lot. I love the zoo of people waking, running, driving expensive cars or one of those too many vesper. Every square have enormous fountain. I feel a bit bad seeing all the poor Afrikan street vendors struggling to get a piece of bread. We cannot save the world in one day, but I would feel better if I could help. Anyway, this is another story and I still do not know how to finish it on a good note. Ironically, you have all those guys trying to make you buy all kinds of things you do not need right next to the certainly beautiful, but to rich and powerful to my point of view, Vatican. We did not visit the museum this time if you want to know. We only visited St. Peters cathedral, I can't stand being in line for five hours. Anyway, I could write about Rome for 30 years and still not having enough time to tell you all is worth seeing. It is a place who makes you dream of an ancient world. I can only dream of what Rome looked like at his peak. It must have been stunning.

We then walk back north for two days. Walking in between the stunning Cinque Terre village. I consider those two days walking around those town made in the rock the best we had in the country. Just before getting to La Spezia where we started walking, we made a classic tourist mistake and stop for a night in Pise. I don't know what to write about it because there is nothing to talk about. It is a nice tower, but that's it. Anyway... the Cinque Terre were breathtaking. I enjoy almost every minute of the hike. I have to be honest and say that I almost quit between the second and third village. The hour hike up was very hard, but I was very proud of myself on top and the view was just great. My personal satisfaction hit a peak. What more can you ask for? It was great to get away for a while from the more touristic path. We discover some artisan kiosks. We also enjoy some local wine. This is a place I can spend a month when I grow older.

If I ask you what is the most tourist only place in Europe you will probably always answer Venice. And you would be right to talk about the 50 000 habitants city who have more than 24 million tourists a year. I hate that place. We only went back there because mom wanted to see it. Yes! the canals are charming. Yes the architecture is fantastic. I just don't feel at the right place. Venice is expensive; everything is expensive! Venice is somehow exclusive. Just don't fit in... and to be honest it is hard to find a place to hide from the tourist tsunami.
Bologna and Florence, the next cities we visited were nice. Bologna is not one of the normal tourist town who is on the ittineary of all the tours. Enjoy a natural break and some spag. Florence is a mini-Rome. Two great art museums (we managed to see one), on great cathedral (I let them go and skip it) and a funny bridge. I really like the bridge. It is the typical tourist crap, but who says tourist are never right. It is unique, well I think. I like Florence.

What really changed my point-of-view on Italy was Naples. We did spend much time in the city itself. We were sleeping at some friends place 30 km away, but everywhere we went in the province we felt the same: We felt hunt. It is a weird feeling. Even more when you experience it in Western-Europe. I felt someone was always looking over our shoulders. At the same time, you see how people are affected by the crime. You see how woman are afraid as soon as they are three meters away from their man or in the shade. It smells bad, it is dirty. Some streets are blocked by piles garbage four meters high. As my friend put it to easy words: As long as Napoli is dirty you know who is controlling the region. People will know he mafia is still around. In between that you have wonderful roman ruins. Ercolano and Pompei are sights everyone should see in their life. They are both in the top ten of sights I have visited in my life. It is crazy how advance the Romain's were at the time.

Now we are in a train leaving the country. We stop in Ancona and I almost killed myself trying to go over a mountain. I will not go to details, I doesn't want to scare anybody, but a man is a man, if you can do something at 15 years old, it don't mean you will be able to do it all your life. We also stop in Trieste to see an Austrian castle by the water. We will be in the Balkans all next month. It will be nice to see something different.

'till next time

Nick




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