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Published: April 17th 2010
cafes in the streets where they drink apple tea
Okay-I am finally sitting down to do my entry for Spring Break. I've been putting it off.... but here it is. Sooooo, I'll start from the beginning:
We left on a thursday night and took an overnight bus from San Seb to Barcelona (the second time we did this in 2 weeks... not fun, let me tell you). We flew from there to Venice where we met up with Mary's parents. It was so good to see them! It was allllmost like I was seeing my own family after a long time, a little taste of home! Then her brother and his two friends flew in from the States and we all went to our hotel which was RIGHT on one of the canals in Venice, which by the way, is JUST like I imagined it would be-I fell absolutely in love with the city, and Italy as a whole. The food was AMAZING (after so much time in Spain, it was so good to taste heeps of CHEESE AND PASTA AND CREAM SAUSES-I'm a fatty, I know). Not to mention the people there... so beautiful, and the men are so charming it's dangerous. Mary's host mom warned her about the
in the Bazaar
Italian men, and I can see why! They have this eye color that is a gray/green/turquoise that made it hard not to stare like fools. But I digress. We boarded the cruise from the port in Venice and this thing was HUGE. I cannot describe to you how big this thing was, but I'll sure try: it had a discoteca, 2 pools, a Royal Theatre (which we always had to say in a British accent, of course), 16 floors, a tennis court, endless bars and lounges, multiple restaurants-it was like a floating city. From Venice we went to Bari, Italy which was a cute little city famous for their pasta. Then we went to Olympia, Greece which was super cool to see. The ruins leave much to the imagination, and it was sooooo much greener there than I'd expected. We saw where the olympians used to train and the ancient track and stadium. Then we went to Izmir, Turkey which is where I think I felt my first bit of true culture shock. It was unlike anything I've seen thus far-songs from Slumdog Millionaire kept popping into my head... The first adventure there were the taxi drivers... how we didn't
get into an accident, who knows! The sounds of the horns continuously going sounded like a soundtrack for the city as we weaved (literally) in and out of traffic. We went to the Bazaar there which is a big open market. We saw bedazzled wedding dresses and small prince-like outfits for little boys all over-turns out that in Turkey, the woman gets to pick out whichever dress and whichever ring she wants, and if the husband can't get it for her, they dont' marry. Also, the little boy outfits are for the rite of passage when the boys are between 7-10 years old and have a huge ceremony to get circumcised, receiving 1000s of turkish lira in gifts. Then we went to Istanbul, Turkey which was AWESOME! We toured the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, and after seeing so many churches (which are still breath-taking, don't get me wrong) it was nice to get a breath of fresh air with the mosques. We went to a rug demonstration after that, crazy how expensive those things are, but I guess it makes sense since they take years to make. We went to the Grand Bazaar which was so big, that
inside the blue mosque, i don't know why my camera changed the color to reddish
even the local that showed us around said she still finds places she's never been to before inside.
Durbovnik, Croatia was next, aka heaven on earth! The water was the most beautiful color I have ever, ever seen. We climbed the ancient city walls and walked (a long walk with many stairs) around the old city. We then ended the cruise back in Venice where we explored St. Mark's Square and shopped around. The next morning (earrrrrly morning) we took a water taxi to the airport and Mary's family left. Mary and I flew to Rome to spend Easter and a few days.
Rome, the eternal city... hands down my favorite city I have ever been to! Followed closely by Venice, it is a city I don't think you can see in less than 2 days. We were busy alllll day every day while we were there and still didn't get to see everything we would have liked to, but that's not to say we didn't see a very good amount! We saw the Colosseum and the Forums-crazy to see where it all began, everything you ever hear about ancient Rome happened right there, it was difficult to take in
at the time, and still is. We tried to go to the Pantheon but it was closed because it was Easter Monday, so we got gelato (soooooooooooo good) and came back to see the inside the next day. We also saw the Trevi Fountain and hit up St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel ... it still feels weird to even say all of that-I still feel like I'm living in a dream! The Sistine Chapel wasn't anything like I'd expected it to be, I thought it would be bigger, lighter and a different shade of blue, but it was breath-taking and each scene or person seemed so close you could touch it... We also saw some really neat plazas and the Spanish steps along the way.
PHEW. So there it was, my Spring Break! I'm about to go out to meet up with some girls for drinks, but I will update what else I've been doing lately, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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