FYI- I'm already home- this is what I have saved for you that I wasn't able to blog while
away. Enjoy :)
The best overnight train I've had so far on this trip was last nights. It was from Budapest to Zurich. How did I get there, you might ask, since in my last blog I informed you of my travel to Cattolica... Well I'm a little behind, but plan to fill you all in breifly. Here goes! Two whole days were spent in cattolica. It's a nice small town, but in the summertime the population doubles or more because it's the place alot of people come to to chill out during the summer- the beaches are filled with people tanning, swimming, and spending their summer vacays. It was a clear, sunny day as we walked along the beachfront inhaling fresh, but chilly ocean air. It felt so good, like I was giving my lungs a detox. They were happy:) it was a relaxing and peaceful two days at the beach hanging out with my aunt, eating great Italian homemade food, sharing stories, and sipping on espresso. If you are ever in Italy in the summer, make a stop here! You won't regret it, oh and get gelato at Pimpii Gelateria, close to the beach and the mermaid statue... They were closed when I was there, but I hear it's the best! So after that me and Casey headed for Florence again, where we were to meet up with keeva, who stayed behind in Venice while we were at the beach. Florence is a beautiful city- as I have desribed before and it was nice to revisit it. I played tour guide for Keeva, whose never been there before and it was awesome, we hit the outdoor/indoor Market again, observing life in florence- which, on this particular saturday morning consisted of older men smoking, chatting vibrantly, and drinking a mid-morning wine, it was the cutest thing, so I snapped a picture, which I may or may not share with you on here. Me and Keeva walked around the city that day, plopped down at a huge square at Vecchio Palace and had lunch on the curb between two super fancy cafes- only our lunch consisted of lettuce, salami, bread, and wine, all which we bought for under 5 euros. Hehe. It was delicious. Also, while in Florence I unfortunately got my wallet stolen at darn H&M, but thank God it was only a little bit of cash. So something they have in Italy is apperitif- this is kinda like happy hour except, you pay for your drink, and you get a mini snack buffet thing for free. It's like appetizers for free if you buy a drink type of thing...it was really awesome, and the cafe was the coolest one I've ever gone to. It was in a hallway off a side street, had candlelight seating, ancient-like artwork on the ceiling, pillows and benches, etc... Anyways, this is where I separated from Casey and keeva and made my way back up north- they were heading back home and I was staying for a couple more weeks. Next up: Revisiting north Italy. I went back up to Parma, the land of amazing Italian cheese and ham, then went to Milano- I had an appointment to see Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting! The real thing! It was a miracle I even got to go see it because you need to sign up months in advanced and I was blessed enough to find one of the last opening times in the month of March. The thing with this paintin is that only 25 people can see it at a time for only 15 minutes. The reason is that it is so damaged and fragile that our breathes, humidity, and dust will destroy it further- that's why when I saw it me and the group had to go through 2 separate rooms where we were 'de-humidified' before going in. There was a strict security lady in the room with us that occasionally yelled 'no photos!' at people who whipped out their cameras. I thought about sneaking a shot,but I opted for enjoying the moment of seeing the Last Supper and engrave it in my memory instead. It was awesome! I started tearing up, i couldn't help it. It's a feeling a can't describe, the closest thing I can think of is when the bride and groom see each other forthe first time- your jaw just drops a bit and you're like WHOA! It was cool. If you ever go to Milano and appreciate art, this is an absolute must-see! My journey to Romania: So, one thing than wasn't really planned in this trip, but something that would be awesome to see was my mothercountry- Romania. Haha, I just love that word mothercountry, I dint know why it, it just makes me laugh. Anyways, my journey towards Romania started off early in the morning with a visit to Verona, Italy. My train was in Venice at night, and Verona, the so-called city of Romeo and Juliet was right on the way, so I took advantage of it. It was a cloudy day, but i walked around the whole city- it has an amazing Arena, like the collesium- it's one the largest in the world and what's cool about it was that it is still in use today! They have concerts, operas, shows, events, and whatever else there. They were actually setting up for an event while I was there. ALSO, it was Italia day on Thursday, March 17th. So everyone in Italy had the day off and flags flew from almost every balcony. It was a holiday and people were out, rain or shine. I walked down a narrow cobblestone street observing people, window shopping, and admiring the beauty of the city. So, in this city is 'Casa di Gulietta' which translates into Juliet's house and so I paid it a visit. The house itself they say belonged to the Capulets, not to the actual family in the story, but to the family generations earlier. Anyways, I walked onthis hallway that was graffited like no other with names in hearts, dates, and proclamations of love of young people and old. I observed two men holding up their ladies while they write their names in hearts on the walls, it was cute! In the small courtyard there was a bronze statue of Juliet, with her right breast being really shiney because I. Is said to bring good luck in the world of love if you rub her breast. There were families, couples, singles, taking turns getting their picture taken with Juliet, I had (wanted) to do the same haha. It was fun. I then wandered about the city and had the best ice cream sandwhich I had ever had. There's this place called 'Savoia' that started an ice cream place in Verona and they are known for their ice cream. It's so good! The ice cream sandwhich I had was invented in Verona in 1929. It's ice cream with ameretto and almonds in the middle with extremely thin wafers that are on both sides of the square ice cream sandwhich. So good! I then made my way to Venice where I caught the train to Romania through Budapest. A nice surprise was that there was another American that sat next to me so we talked, it was refreshing. Two train transfers later I got to Timisoara, Romania. My friend picked me up from the station and then showed me the city that weekend- it's a huge University town with over 8,000 students and a lot of Protestant churches as well- two of which we attended services for. It was cool- reminded me of my childhood church and at one there was actually an American speaker, how ironic. This town is very old and was actually one of the main places where the 1989 revolution began; the operahouse was where anti-communism leaders would give speeches from and students reveled against communism. Also, at the metropolitan church, on the very steps I walked on, men, women, and children were murdered because they stood in the way of tanks trying to destroy the churh. Crazy stuff. Also, they have a gigantic mall- full with even a. Bowling alley and a movie teather, in addition to others. After Romania, I headed to Budapest to meet up with keeva and enjoy the city. And what a surprise it was! I didn't know what to expect of Budapest, but I enjoyed what i saw- a huge city divided by the Danube river. The hilly, scenic side where the castle made it's home was Buda and the urban, busy side where shopping, business, and everything else was the Pest side. We explored both in the 5 hours I had in the city, ending with dinner at an authentic Hungarian literal hole-in-the-wall place. If anyone ever goes to Budapest please please go here! It is so good! They have traditional dishes made fresh. I had a salad, Hungarian beer, and a Transilvanian knuckle ham with sour cabbage. It was one of the most tasty flavorful meals I had ever had! I hopped back on the train that night to ultimately head to Casteggio, an adorably cute small town.