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May 25, 2005 - More Italy: Pisa, Florence, Venice and Rimini

Reported by JoMar All rights reserved.

Rimini, Italy...

...a town along the Adriatic Sea, where the Italians and Germans come to holiday --  kinda like the Riviera of Italy...

Since our arrival in Rimini, we have stayed put here, the longest so far.  It is still shoulder season here, we were able to find a small pensione with full kitchen, bought groceries so we can cook and stay and feel like we are not vacationing. We both needed a vacation from the hustle and bustle of touring the big cities thus far -- touring around Amsterdam, Paris, Nice, Monte Carlo, Florence and Venice -- busy and tireing.

The beach here is great. Sand like powder and the sea, which is only a block away, glitters like an emerald! (picture at the left)

We arrived late on past Saturday, and we leave for Rome on the 28th to do more of the Nerd City Tour thing, ha, ha!

Florence

Of course Florence was very interesting!  We arrived by train -- big busy station, pouring rain, and we have NO IDEA where our hostel is!

John gets out our little notebook for the address and proceeds to try and find someone who can speak/understand a bit of English to help us out.  Not so easy, at all!  The language barrier is vast, and we have had more people shrug us off than try to help!

However, Florence was the friendliest so far!

We got on the right bus finally with these huge backpacks in rush hour which take us to our stop, the LAST stop along this line -- about 40 minutes ride.

At the stop there is actually a sign for the hostel we are looking for and it  says it is right up this driveway...   and it was, except that it was about 2km easily, with a slight incline!

Finally there it is, an old orphanage... converted into our hostel, a grand old place, with a huge gate, pillars, gardens, ponds filled with lilies and spotlights highlighting this pale yellow mansion ! :-)  (picture at the left)

17 per night, gave us a marble reception, fireplaces scattered everywhere, beautiful painted ceilings, laundry, lunch and dinner for 4, a little store equipped with everything you may need, including WINE! and a cinema with a movie at 9pm every night. It was outta the way a bit, but what a great place to be tucked away, in Tuscany!

Oh, I forgot, we stopped on the way to Florence to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Pisa... very cool, however, it was the ONLY thing to see in Pisa!

Another unexpected surprise in Florence, was The David, by Michelangelo!! It was cultural week in Italy, so all the museums were free :-)   We went there in the morning on a city tour, but was impossible to get in, the line up was enormous; so we got back on the tour bus and came back later to find the line up MUCH shorter...  only waited 10 minutes to get in.

WOW!...  This David was much, much larger then what you see in pictures. He is actually a giant! Apparently he was made with some left over marble that Mikey used after it was abandoned and preceded to create an absolute masterpiece! He was incredible to look at and the museum that he was in was built especially for him! Unlike France you are not allowed to take pictures in any museum in Italy, unbeknown to Markie one was snapped before he was told not too! There was an English speaking woman there with some friends who actually was overwhelmed and cried when she saw him, she had waited so long!

We left Firenze,  Florence in Italian) and headed to...

...Venice...or Venezia :-)

Sitting in the FIRST CLASS on the train is great but it is almost always empty and heading to Venice, along the countryside, made me a bit homesick... 2nd class, however is crowded and no AC!

Arriving in Venice, yet another busy station, but 2 differences:

  1. first time arriving with no accommodations booked -- thought we would wing it!
  2. this train station is right along the main canal, called the Grand Canal!

Beautiful arrival, music in the air from local band at the waters edge, sunny and 27'c!

We had met two other backpackers back in La Spezia, and saw them here again...  they had booked a B&B here, and said we should try and get a couple of beds where they were going, called Alice's B&B ... so we followed them through the crowds and finally found it, climbed 3 flights of crooked stairs, just to find out she was full! So full, that Oggie and Shawn had no place to stay either; they had pre-booked on line, but when they got there, they did not have the reservation! We have heard that before, but so far we have been lucky! (John laughed his head off!)

We all headed out to try to find somewhere to lay our heads that night in BUSY Venice.

Hotels along they way were really expensive or full, and we had heard of a campsite in Venice, that we pursued, and it turned out to be great!

Markie camping ???!!!  Of course I had been trying to avoid them!  But we had a choice of a house tent, for 12, a cabin for 15, or what they called a chalet, that was basically a small trailer, BUT it had screens, and a private bathroom (!) for only 18! so we took it for a few days and it was really cool...  the grounds had pool, pub, market, internet, restaurant, hot tubs...   it was outta the way again, but they had their own shuttle into the tourist area, and some really cute staff!

Over the next few days, we found Venice very beautiful, but of all the places we've been in Italy, this was the most un-friendly, no English at all, expensive ($11.00 Canadian for two cokes) and dirty.

So we left for Rimini,  a place I had wanted to travel to for a long time...

We decided not to venture to Spain.  Odd, I know but, like the un-savvy travelers when we were back in the south of France, we were trying desperately to find hostels/hotels, anything, online, but it was showing no availability at all. So we headed, like two fools to Italy early, instead of taking a chance and just going...

We were going to ferry across from Rome next week, but looking into the fare, even with our 20% off as we hold Eurail passes, it would still be about $600.00 Canadian return.

Not this time!

Next time, John says!

We have to post pictures another time, it is 10pm here, and the cafe is closing, and it takes time to download them...

Hope we did not ramble on this time, but had lot's to say!

Hope this finds you all well, and if you find the time, let us know you have visited the site!

Bye for now,

love and stuff,

Marc and John

 

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