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Just Keep Swimming

When life gets you down do you wanna know what you've gotta do?

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Italy

Lost in Venice

Not going to be a very long post as I spent most of my time in Venice sick in bed, but I’ll put a few thoughts and some photos below.
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Hiking the colourful Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is a national park on the coast of Italy which contains five small villages on the edge of the sea. While it poured with the rain the first night here, the second day was mostly sunny which allowed me to hike the two trails which are currently open. While some sections were a bit steep, for the most part they were a pretty nice walk along the coast, with some great views of the ocean and the villages.
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Artsy Florence

Florence was the starting point of the Renaissance, and that fact is very clear to see around the city. Tonnes of fascinating buildings and sculptures are around every corner, and today the Uffizi and the Accademia Galleries house some of the finest artwork in the world. Unfortunately the cold I caught in Rome hit me hard on my first full day here, and after visiting the Uffizi first thing in the morning I spent the rest of that day in bed. My second day was better and I did manage to do some of the things I wanted.
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Ancient Rome

Another two very full days later, I’m leaving Rome with sore feet and a GoPro full of pictures. It really is such an amazing place, you can tell that this is a city with so much history to it. I only really hit the main sites and a few smaller ones, but I could have easily spent another few weeks here and still not seen everything of interest. Overall one of my favorite cities that I’ve visited so far.
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When in Rome

Rome may be my favorite wandering city that I’ve been to so far. While places like Bruges and Utrecht have a definite charm with their narrow cobblestone streets and ever present canals, there really isn’t anyway to properly describe the feeling of walking around Rome. So many times I rounded a corner and came across either a massive church or remnants of ancient structure, this city just has so much history to it.

I think I may take more pictures here than anywhere else, every few minutes I’ll come across something that I want a photo of, and I don’t really know how to organize these in a coherent blog post. So I’ll just write about some of my favorite places I’ve been so far and the photo galleries will contain pictures from other places as well.

Couple of galleries below from some of the big sites of Rome, amazing the difference that going in the morning makes. The Pantheon is incredible on the inside, the scale of the concrete dome is almost unbelievable. Can’t even imagine trying to engineer or design something like that with the tool available back in 118 AD.

There are no photos allowed in probably one of the strangest places I’ve been so far, the Capuchin Crypt. You make your way through a museum which describes the rise of the Capuchin friars and their beliefs. While this museum has some interesting parts, the true draw is what lies beneath the church. There are five rooms in the crypts which contain a creepy series of ‘art’, the unknown creator has used the skeletal remains of over 4000 Capuchin friars to decorate the walls of the crypt. It’s a very chilling place to be, the creativity behind some of the pieces is truly something to behold.

I spent an afternoon at Ostia Antica, which are the ruins of an ancient port city called Ostia. Such a great place to walk around, it covers a large area and there are some well preserved buildings and mosaics (considering the amount of time they’ve been around). It’s a very neat feeling, walking down the main street or through the market square of the guilds which would have been in use back in ancient Roman times. One of the main reasons why I’d recommend coming here is the distinct lack of crowds. While I’ve come across huge numbers of people at the big sites like the Trevi Fountain, Ostia Antica was comparatively quiet and it’s very easy to just wander off into the ruins and find yourself completely alone.

Food wise, it’s been a lot of pizza for tea obviously. Probably my favorite would have to be the four cheese and truffle one I had from a pizzareia in the Trastevere. I also had a cappuccino from Caffe Greco, which is the oldest cafe in Rome (started in 1760), pretty poor service and an overpriced average cup of coffee to be honest.

Then there is the Gelato I got from Come Il Latte on my first day (and a couple of other times). Let me paint you a word picture, start with a waffle cone and pour melted chocolate into it (which hardens as it cools down). Then add two scoops of the creamiest gelato I’ve ever tasted, the salted caramel and double chocolate were my favorites. Finally top with whipped cream, a wafer and chocolate syrup, all for only €3 it’s an absolute must try.

Well that’s it for now, been a really long two days of walking. Starting at 8am to beat the crowds then not getting back to the hostel before 10 or 11pm. Will make another blog post in a couple of days to cover the rest of the stuff I’ll be doing.

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