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.

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