I've not blogged in a while. I always feel that a blog without pictures is a bit wrong as I love photographs. For many years I harbored fantasies of being a photographer but for one reason and another life didn't work out that way. So rather than new and shiny pictures I thought I'd share some old ones with you.
When my parents got divorced they sold our house and split the money so I got some as well. This went into a trust fund til I was 21. When I finished uni me and a friend decided to backpack around Italy. We went for 5 weeks and out route went like this. Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Perugia, Sienna, Florence, Ferrara, Venice, Verona, Genoa, Milan. I can say after 5 weeks traveling this country that I did not "do" Italy that year. I would need to go back many times to completely do the country. There were many other back packers who "did" Europe in the time we barely scratched the surface of Italy.
Naples was an interesting start. We got there late only to discover the pensione we wanted to stay at would not let us in til morning. One very expensive night at a hotel later we had leant to be slightly better organized. In the same dorm as us was a young lad whose bag was as big as me! He even had dress shoes in there. Me thinks he had ideas of an Italian Countess sweeping him off his feet. There was also an older lady whose bag was a tiny beach bag. She’d been traveling for years so had packing down to a fine art.
Pompeii was amazing. Though I caution anyone going to make sure they have plenty of water. Man the heat just radiates off the walls in that place. It was incredibly interesting though and so very stark.
Rome was a place I could have stayed for much longer. We arrived there having phoned ahead to the hostel we wanted to stay at. They weren't sure if they would have places but they said to come anyway and if they didn't they would help us out. As it turned out they didn't have room but the network in Rome is great. If one hostel has no room they phone another until they find you somewhere. On our way to the hostel we got a bit stuck and were approached by a very attractive Australian who asked if he could help. In a moment of amazing providence he worked at the very hostel we were looking for. Bonus. We got there and were asked if we minded being in a mixed gender dorm and ended up sharing with an Aussie, a Canadian and an American. All the travelers and staff were amazing there and we ended up going out on an evening and staying in playing games with all of them. It was a hell of an experience.
The Vatican was probably the most memorable bit of Rome. We bypassed most of the queue as we had dressed appropriately in trousers and had shawls to cover our shoulders and head if necessary. Honestly, who goes to the seat of the Catholic Church in shorts and a crop top!!!! The museum was amazing and St Peters was a vastly spiritual place. It was very peaceful and beautiful. Michelangelo's La Pieta made me cry. I got some very kind looks from the various clergy :o)
The Pantheon is an amazing building Spadger keeps informing me it is a poured concrete building which is quite impressive given some of the hideous examples of the same art here in England.
Florence was my friend's favorite place. Again it had a campsite with some really friendly people and the Duomo is very beautiful. At the Uffizi gallery I got to stand in front of Botticelli's Venus. Truth be told I thought his Annunciation in one of the other rooms was nicer. I also got to see the Statue of David. Very impressive but he looked wrong as he wasn't on the correct pedestal. There was info explaining that he is crafted to stand at a particular height, this brings everything into proportion. As he was then he had one huge hand and a walleye.
Florence was full of beautiful statues and, less appealing for me, many people pretending to be statues. I really don't like those, no one should be able to stand that still!!!
Venice was my big love. It is possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. The cabals were green and clam and did not smell as many people claim. San Marco is a glittering edifice with an amazing view from the roof. We saw Mass while we were there and it took my breath away. The Doges palace was the high point though. As we stepped out of one room an looked out over the court yard we were imagining a handsome man in period clothing riding his horse in and jumping off to whisk us away. Just at that point a thunderstorm happened. It couldn't have been more perfect if it had tried. This was the only point over the 5 weeks that the temperature dropped below 40 degrees Celsius. It hit 19 and as soon as the storm finished it went right back up! To finished Venice off we attended a Vivaldi concert in an old church.
I know I've missed some places out but these are my favorite bits. The end of the journey involved me having my camera stolen in the "nicest" hostel we stayed in. Lockers and all sorts. We just stowed our stuff under our beds as we had for the rest of the holiday in much worse conditions. Not same in the sterile place with cameras on the walls. I had to go to the police station to file a report so I could try and claim on insurance (which didn't work). Trying to explain to armed men in a foreign language was terrifying.
Going to Italy was one of the best experiences of my life so far. I took what at the time were my best pictures (I think I've improved since then) but I could have taken hundreds more. One day I would like to go back but I think that is slightly prohibited by my lifestyle and philosophies these days.