Day Six: Chonk Chong
Was a busy day, we went to the picturesque and medieval San Gimignano in the Tuscan countryside. If you go, check out the gelato and the Museum of Torture (wicked). We then headed over to a Tuscan winery for a tour and wine and olive oil tasting. Not the best but still an experience. We went out again our last night but didn’t have as much fun. We are the dancing type of girls, not the sit and be seen kind. I want to sip a drink and do a two step or engage in conversation preferably with the opposite sex. We were out on a Wednesday but the places we hit up (Lockness Lounge, Moyo) were all packed. I did encounter the cutie from the previous night but he didn’t stick around too long with me (maybe he was a bit peeved I didn’t call him like he asked?).
Day Seven: Chonk (getting tired)
Was the longest day ever. We were on and off the coach all day. In Italy bus drivers can only drive for 2 ½ hours and then they must get a mandatory break. We hit Pisa and tried to take some creative shots in front of the tower but failed miserably (okay it was hot and we were tired). Then we went to Verona where the real Romeo and Juliet inspiration supposedly came to Shakespeare. Whatever, I could have taken a pass. By the time we got to Venice it was 10 at night. And wouldn’t you know Contiki had the nerve to put us in the suburbs of Venice with no access to nightlife. You had to take a pilgrimage to get to the main islands like San Marco. I mean seriously, I could get to D.C. from Baltimore (assuming no traffic) in less time. Where’s the fun in that? The hotels were a bit better, although no TV stations were in English. You just don’t do young people like that.
Day Eight: Chonk
We traveled to San Marco island in Venice which I loved. We shopped (I bought some Italian leather sandals, so cute! And several Murano glass pieces, what Venice is known for). We also took a gondola ride which was really nice and involved several boats of Asian tourist taking pictures of us. I’d like to believe it was because they thought we were an up and coming girl group but I really suspect it was because they had never seen black people in “real life” and wanted to capture the moment. They were very friendly about it, smiled and waved. We posed for our paparazzi and waved back, what can ya do?
All in all it was a long and tiring day which involved us telling African vendors selling crap to leave us alone. It was incessant. I even saw some of them block the path or grab some tourists by the arm who obviously hadn’t rocked the New York/Baltimore “mean mug” so they wouldn’t bother them. My sister went off on one of them. I was really praying it wasn’t going to be some international black on black crime but he walked away after he dropped the F bomb on her.
Day Nine: Chonk
Back to Rome with the second longest trek ever (and with Contiki kindly NOT booking our extra night like it did ALL the rest of the travelers who had a post stay, we had to book our own hotel and get our own transport to the hotel – i.e. drag our luggage SEVERAL blocks to the taxi stand in which my taxi group paid 10 euros more than others did to get to the same place- seriously think a storm cloud is over my head sometimes). We attempted to grab an early dinner/late lunch but apparently the Italians do not believe in the senior citizen meal time because none of them served dinner until around 630/7pm. So we passed time by going window shopping around Via del Corso. We had our last meal at a lovely outdoor lounge. I still remember that meal *thoughts trailing off*
Okay so we couldn’t leave Rome without trying the night life. But only three of the six had the energy to get out so we got dolled up and hit the town. We caught a cab to a place called La Masion which we heard was good. First thing we noticed, it was down an alley off of another (yet busier) alley. Now most of the cities in Italy seem to have alleys with lots of shops and they will stick a shop in any space they can find (we saw one store literally the size of a bathroom stall) so that didn’t deter us. What did was the swastika spray painted on a wall of the alley. Another sign you aren’t in the U.S. If someone spray painted a sign of hate near your establishment you’d rush to get it off but in a city where diversity isn’t as prevalent and you were actually allied with Nazi Germany, well maybe that just isn’t number one on your mind.
So the place did not look busy and we decided it’d be best to move on. We had drinks at a cute bar called Anima and then headed over to another equally as cute spot called Fluid. We met some more cute Italians and engaged in meaningless conversation the rest of the night. They wanted to take us dancing afterwards but alas, we only had enough euros for a cab ride home. No problem, they said they could drive us. Again, not trying to end up on the strobe doped up on heroine so we declined and parted ways. Still had fun.
But the fun was over. On day ten we flew back to BWI airport. The flight was ridiculously long and to top it off my luggage decided it did not want to come back with me and it was another 12 hours after landing before I saw it again- again US Airways, you suck as per usual.
But I made it back to tell the tale and I hope it inspires you to check out that fabulous place called Italy…just go with another airline… and another tour group.