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Our location as of 10/2/2012

Madison, WI, USA
Last updated 10/2/2012
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Country Recap: Italy

Italy is a country with great food, an extremely old history, and famous art. We started by meeting up with Nikki’s family in northern Italy, a change of pace from our normal traveling routine. After they left, we kept going south, passing through the city of canals, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the heart of an empire. We braved the heat each day to see some really cool stuff and eat some great food. Here’s what we thought of our stay in Italy.

Top three experiences?

Nikki:

  1. Spending time with family and friends in Cinque Terre.
  2. Roaming around in Venice.
  3. Touring the Colosseum.

Brad:

  1. Seeing the towns of Cinque Terre.
  2. Boating on Lake Como. It’s something we wouldn’t have done on our own.
  3. Seeing the Colosseum and Roman Forum. It’s strange to think we were through the center of the Roman empire and what it would have been like a couple thousand years ago.

Bottom three experiences?

Nikki:

  1. Dealing with the train strikes on our way from Cinque Terre to Lake Como.
  2. The city of Florence. I just didn’t like it as much as the other cities we saw.
  3. The heat. Don’t go to Italy in August.

Brad:

  1. Train strikes. Canceled trains is annoying enough, but the railroad company readily selling canceled train tickets and not providing an easy way to reimburse or exchange them is a outright scam.
  2. United Airlines. We were expecting new shirts to replace our old, torn ones, but they never arrived. We did find a flea market in Bologna and bought some cheap new clothes.
  3. The heat. Italy is scorching the time of year! I was sweating constantly.

Best meal?

Nikki: Wow, tough to choose just one. I really don’t know, I loved it all. I guess the pesto and pasta dishes in Cinque Terre might have been my favorite.

Brad: The pizza slices we had for lunch in Bologna were so delicious! But really just about everything we had was really good.

Worst meal?

Nikki: I can’t think of any bad meals. I think there was one piece of pizza that wasn’t as good as the others, but I don’t remember where we got it.

Brad: In Cinque Terre we were going to make a simple pasta dish, but I bought the wrong kind of cheese. We tried a different recipe, but we didn’t have any spices so it was bland.

And the worst drink I’ve ever had: a Spritz in Venice. It looked red and fruity, but was so bitter I couldn’t finish it.

Favorite person we met?

Nikki: I don’t remember any of their names, but I got a kick out of the outgoing and funny girls from Australia that we met in our dorm in Florence.

Brad: The Australians and Kiwi who suffered with us with in our Plus Florence dorm. They were funny.

Worst disaster?

Nikki: The train strikes on our travel day. Everything else went pretty smoothly.

Brad: We never had as much hassle traveling as the day of the train strike. Seriously, we went through Cambodia, Vietnam, and rural China without so much hassle as in this supposedly developed European country.

Favorite place we stayed?

Nikki: The room we rented through airbnb in Rome. We had a giant, clean room with a big bed, sofa, desk, and a private balcony.

Brad: Our Airbnb place in Rome. We had a huge room with a balcony, fast Internet, and a fan. It was our first Airbnb experience, and we’re planning to keep using it through Europe.

Worst place we stayed?

Nikki: PLUS Florence. The air conditioning in our dorm was broken, so it was super hot and the staff didn’t seem to care about that at all.

Brad: Plus Hostel Florence. They said it would be air conditioned, but each night I couldn’t fall asleep because my sheets were soaked with sweat, the Internet basically didn’t work, and there were only seven lockers for in our eight bed dorm room.

Best thing we didn’t blog about?

Nikki: Seeing the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. It’s one of the most famous opera houses in the world and the inside of it was gorgeous.

Brad: The Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II in Milan was simply gorgeous. We saw it in the perfect lighting near sunset.

Weirdest thing?

Nikki: The artwork in the crypt of the Capuchin Church.

Brad: Capuchin Monastery. Wow, the museum part was strange with their masochistic rituals, but the crypt with strange displays from thousands of friars’ bones was extremely creepy.

Statistics for Italy

  • Days in the country: 24
  • Places we stayed: 6
  • Rainy days: 0
  • Blog posts: 6
  • UNESCO World Heritage sites visited: 5
  • Photos taken: 1,450
  • Photos uploaded to SmugMug: 273, 19% of all photos taken
  • Geocaches found: 7
  • Hours traveling overland: 22

Statistics for the Trip

  • Countries visited: 18
  • Days on the road: 348
  • Days remaining: 50
  • Places we stayed: 144
  • UNESCO World Heritage sites visited: 39
  • Photos taken: 15,298
  • Photos uploaded to SmugMug: 3,620, 24% of all photos taken
  • Geocaches found: 35
  • Hours traveling overland: 784
  • Olympic host cities visited: 7

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