Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dové é toilette?

First Pizza of our trip

The Grand Canale of Venice

Cycling through Ravenna (UNESCO world heritage site)

Tom and David: spot the difference

Shortly after our last post, we wandled back to our hotel, only to have one of the most wonderful evenings of our trip. It's funny how you can see all the cathedrals, castles, statues, architecture etc. you like, yet you don't really experience a truly memorious time until you chat with a local for hours!

The guy working on reception happened to be fantastic in English, and as we entered the hotel, we asked him about a rally happening down the street. He mentioned that there was a left-wing activist rally occurring, which got us onto politics, Italy, Berlusconi, Alitalia and life in general. An hour or so later, we found ourselves in the hotel bar chatting like old buddies. It almost felt a shame to leave him and head up to bed. I wish we had a photo of him, or spent more time in Bologna, but he has given us his card, so we will definitely go back to visit.

The following day, we drove up to Garda Lake (largest lake in Italy) along with the rest of Germany and Holland and their toddler children. While we had a fantastic deal in the most massive camping ground I had ever seen, and some glorious warm weather, I don't think I would go back again, purely because it was a catchment for young families, with small kids screaming at 7am. Yes, I sound selfish, but I enjoyed more of the real Italy. We went for a few drives around the lake, with some beautiful sites, but after some time, you become used to the old buildings and sick of the crowds. After two nights, we found ourselves heading back towards Venice via Verona.

Made famous via Shakespear, Verona also appeared to be a tourist magnet - disgustingly just around Juliet's house, while the rest of the city was quite vacant (a little like the Mona Lisa at the louvre). Our last night was back at the original camping, this time we asked for a discount in  larger cabin, away from the school and contiki groups! This however worked against us once again... after meeting some fantastic Aussie guys at 4pm touring the world over 6 months, and 7 hours later, we crashed in our beds, only to be awaken an hour or so later by the couple in the other half of the cabin: First having a blue, then the make-up pounding, drunken sex, then the toilet trips, then the showers, then the movie on their laptop (turned up full-blast). By the time this was done, we had around an hour or two sleep before our 5am wakeup... not happy campers...

Had a great trip, but the highlights were:
* Sitting down in Venice, dangling legs in the ocean. Who knows how long venice will still be there?
* Getting free bikes in Ravenna and cycling through the streets
* Having our one classy dinner in Marina Di Ravenna and being waited on hand and foot by an Indian guy with broken english/italian/indian in the most gorgeous seafood restaurant we'd ever seen.
* Playing on the beach
* The old Italian hospitality in Florence: Very old couple in the two star hotel who fell over backwards to help us
* Our friend at Hotel Maxim in Bologna
* Meeting Ben and Rod at Fusina Camping grounds on our last night

Strange how nothing includes the sites, but from my small amount of experience, I have found that the people I meet are far more interesting than the aesthetic beauty. Perhaps I haven't been to the most beautiful places though...

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