Thursday, July 25, 2002

A room with a view

I am at a cafe in Pompeii with not much time. The keyboard is really annoying, you really have to hit the keys so if this message ends up being a bunch of nonsense, you'll have to bear with me. This computer keeps talking to me in Italian-very odd.

Well, I am having a wonderful time, it is very hot and sunny though my first day in Milan it was miserable-tons of rain and I wandered about lost looking for my hostel. I had a bit of a time getting to Milan. I thought I was flying there directly, but ended up in Bergamo instead-I will have to pay more attention when flying cheap airlines. In Milan I really only went to see Da Vinci's last supper and then went to Venice to escape the rain where I had to get a hotel room as the hostel was full by 10 am. It was two minutes walk from the grand canal, not particularly nice or anything, but I loved Venice, especially the islands around it. The gellatto is very, very good. I got very lost at one point trying to find a church, but even that was fun.

I headed down to Florence, where I learned to walk across the street in front of cars, since there aren't any lights. It was a bit of a shock after Venice, so after seeing David at the Academia I escaped to Cortona. I ended up meeting one of the uni of Georgia students (they have a summer programme in art) and so stayed a couple of days to hang out eating and drinking late into the night. I bumped into Jenny's friend Gwenyth-small world. When I went back to Florence, I fell for a scam-quite literally actually. One man knocked me over on the steps of the train station, while the other helped me up while pickpocketing my money belt-but all he got was a credit card and my passport. Not much of a big deal, and I got the opportunity to have a cultural exchange at the police station, where an officer didn't even see me at all, they just stamped my handwritten report.

I went to the Uffizi-wow!!! However, as wonderful as it is, I must admit to an exhaustion with gold medieval art. They are all just in about four different poses and I must say that it gets a bit much eventually. I also went to the Bargello, which I loved.

I came down to Naples, though I am staying in a hostel at Pompeii. I saw the excavations there yesterday and then went into Naples to see the museum, including the erotic secret room, for which you must book a special tour. Pan certainly does some interesting things with those goats! However, it was half closed, so I missed the Egyptian stuff entirely. It was a long day, and while walking back to the hostel (a half hour walk) I was stalked by a middle aged Italian man on a moped who kept offering me a ride. Up until Naples, I hadn't really encountered the dodgy male Italian phenomenon, but here they are. This city is full of them!

Today I went to Herculaneum, which was spectacular. Possibly better than Pompeii itself, since I didn't get so tired! However, I could not drag myself to yet another touristy thingy, so today I am going to just read in the hostel courtyard, instead of madly wandering about. This is the first day I have stopped being touristy at 4, and it's a nice feeling. Tomorrow I think I am going to take the train down to Paestum and then I have to catch an evening train to Rome, to meet Alan at "the store that sells only water"-we'll have to hope that works out, cause I lost my little notebook with addresses, phone numbers (including his mobile number) when my passport got stolen. So, if you haven't received a postcard yet, you'll have to wait until I get back to Scotland.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Plans for Italy

I am in London until Sunday, then I fly to Milan on the 15th. I will be in Venice the evening of the 16th and then in Florence by the evening of the 18th, on the 23 I will be in Pompeii. On the 26th I will be in Rome, the hostel is booked until the morning of the 2nd (Alan joins me in Rome). Then we fly back to London the afternoon of the 2nd and spend the night in London, leaving the next day for Edinburgh, getting back at about midnight.