Snakes on the Trail!

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June 17th 2007
Published: June 17th 2007
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And so we found ourselves in Italy. First stop, the romantic, picturesque and expensive town of Venice. Us being on a budget, we stayed in a camping ground 20 minutes by boat from the city. What surprised us was the amount of kiwis also staying there, until we realised that we had all been priced out of the city.

We spent the day wandering across bridges, through narrow alleys desperately trying to avoid the hordes of tourists. Despite the crowds and the cost Venice is a lovely city.

Desparate for some fresher air, we headed into the mountains where we planned to work on one of our goals for the trip - to get into the mountains and wilderness as much as we can. We found a cute little town called Molveno, nestled at the base of the Dolomites, where we had a holiday from our holiday (no crowds you see). Did some exhausting walks up the mountains, but the scenery was fantastic.

As if we didn't get enough mountain action in Molveno, our next stop was just as exhausting - Cinque Terre, which must be in the running for the place with the most steps. However
Venice GondolasVenice GondolasVenice Gondolas

Needless to say we didn't actually go on the gondolas when we found out they cost 90 Euros per ride!
on a positive note - this is just what we need to burn off all that Pizza and Pasta. We stayed in one of the villages called Riomaggiore, and managed to secure a nice hilltop cellar to sleep in, but we had the most fantastic view of the mediterranean from a large terrace. We spent a lot of our time just sitting there, drinking wine (not from the cellar, all we had in our cellar was spiders), and soaking up the sun and view.

We have been really keen to see as much wildlife as possible on our trip, so in the Dolomites we were on the look out for bears, marmots (whatever they are?), eagles, and other strange and wonderful critters. But all we managed to see there was one or two deer (we cannot decide if there was one or two, as they were bailing fast), and one small dopey mouse that we saw laying on the road. In Cinque Terre it looked like we were doomed to see nothing until a huge black snake decided that it might like to fall on Lynda as we walked along one of the trails. Fortunately it missed. Not sure
Brenta DolomitesBrenta DolomitesBrenta Dolomites

In the Brenta Dolomites. The sharp peaks are an ancient coral reef. This was the view from our room!
what it was but it looked nasty, and coming from New Zealand where the nearest thing we have to deal with like this is an earthworm, we were none too comfortable. Why snakes? Next time, how about a fluffy squirrel or something.

(on a side note, this is the second time a snake has almost landed on Lynda, when we were in Belize, a long green bugger (apparently a tree snake) almost fell on her as well).

Anyway, off to Pisa and Florence to try and soak up a bit of culture. In Pisa we stayed long enough to check on some dodgy leaning tower, and then off to Florence for a few days.

We went and saw lots of the impressive art that is on display in Florence, but after a while, classical art can get quite tedious. After the third painting of the same biblical scene you start looking around for the nearest bar.

After the most crowded and hottest bus ride ever (there were no chickens which was good, but I am sure that will come later (we once shared a bus with a turtle, but that is another story)) we arrived in Siena. Siena proved to be as lovely as we had heard, it is older than florence, but was charming, we spent most of our time getting lost in its mediaeval streets.

Our accommodation even came with a kitchen, where we cooked up a storm.

Still more of Italy to come, we have had trouble getting on the internet here, don't know why it is so hard in Italy, what will it be like in Mongolia!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Mountain TrailMountain Trail
Mountain Trail

On the trail up to the base of the Dolomites. Watching out for falling rocks made it an interesting hike

Nestled on the steep cliffs, this is the town in Cinque Terre we stayed in.

Another picturesque town in Cinque Terre.
Verazzo 2Verazzo 2
Verazzo 2

We spent a day walking the length of the beautiful, butt-busting trails, going from one town to the next.

The lovely view of Florence from one of the nearby hills. Our accommodation was not far from here.
Florence StatuesFlorence Statues
Florence Statues

Sitting in amongst the statues of Florence, its the best way to cool off.
Stat u broStat u bro
Stat u bro

I bet this guy's buns are rock hard (I didn't actually check)
Cracked DomeCracked Dome
Cracked Dome

The ceiling of the Duomo in Florence. Notice the big cracks running through the painting. It took them hundreds of years to figure out this was due to subsidence (similar to the leaning tower of Pisa).

A panorama of Siena, showing the impressive Duomo. Siena turned out to be a lovely town.
Siena Il CampoSiena Il Campo
Siena Il Campo

The main square in Siena. In the evening everyone comes and sits here for a spot of people watching, drinking, socialising, etc...
Siena Il Campo 2Siena Il Campo 2
Siena Il Campo 2

Twice a year, in July and August they hold a horse race called il Palio in the main square of Siena. It is an exciting minute and a half for the horses to do 3 laps of the square. There are pretty much no rules to the race, so it can get pretty messy.

1st July 2007

lovely lovely
Loved the photos. They are like those you see on a postcard. Lynda, make sure you stay away from any tree branch. Simply you don't go under them, this is the best way I can think of to avoid snakes falling onto you. :-P

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