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Published: June 17th 2007
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
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
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!!
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