Day 46-50: Taking Over Europe: Italy

So this week is our week off from school here in the UK. Apparently every 5 or 6 weeks they just decide to take a whole week off. Whatever the reasoning may be, I’m not complaining. To take advantage of the extra time off I went for an extended trip – and by extended I mean 4 and a half days instead of the usual 3. The plan was to spend a day and a half in Rome. a day and a half in Florence, and a full day in Tuscany (Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa). These are some quick notes…

  • Thin, boring and overhyped… No I’m not talking about Ashton Kutcher joining Two and a Half Men. I’m talking about the pizza in Italy, which is definitely nothing to write home about. When it comes down to it, they just don’t utilize enough cheese on their pizza. Which is sad because the fresh cheese in Italy is so delicious. Someone tried to argue with me that I don’t like the pizza because I’m American, and that American’s are fat and overdo it with cheese, blah, blah, blah. Go take a lap bro. Because.. well yea I’m American. Yea I like cheese, it makes for better taste. If I wanted a healthier/tasteless pizza I’ll order gluten free. This is a shame really, since pizza is one of the first things you think of when it comes to Italian cuisine. I was really looking forward to it. It was good sure, but all pizza should be good. In the end, the best pizza in the world is in NYC or Chicago, depending on where your loyalties lie and how you feel about tomatoes.
  • The ice cream – or gelato, if you’re into the whole brevity thing – DOES however live up to expectations. I can’t describe it, so I won’t try. Bottom line is each spoonful is better than the last, and when your cup is empty, your only thought is “Where the fuck can I buy more of this? I need more now!” And if you’re ever in the market for the winner of the Ice Cream World Championships, check out this little hole-in-the-wall gelateria in San Gimignano. It’ll blow your mind.

  • When it comes down to it Rome is just packed with lots of old buildings. The Colosseum, Parthenon, St Peters Basilica, The Vatican, Trevi Fountain, etc. Old buildings, and creepy street merchants trying to sell you useless shit is just what Rome does, and nobody does it better. If you like history, and I mean old history, you’ll love Rome. All I wanted to do the whole time I was in Rome was to throw random objects at people a la Maximus, then look at them dead in the eye and scream: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” …Damn right you’re entertained.
  • The day we spent in Florence was on pace to be a really crappy time. It rained start to finish, and was pretty cold. But as the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, search for the nearest Segway rental. We found this little shop that normally does hour long tours of Florence, but because it was raining, and our tour guide was totally uninterested in getting wet, he agreed to let us take the Segway’s out on our own without his supervision, permitting we returned them on time and in one piece. Oh you beautiful, foolish, foolish old man. Do you really think I’m going to drive these responsibly? For sure not. Heads up people walking around Florence, this just became my world, and you’re in the way of my Segway. “Would you be okay with taking the Segway’s on your own, without me?” Clown question bro. “Would you like a helmet?” I don’t know, do I look 13 to you? “Did you want to-” Sorry I can’t hear you vrooooom. I was always one of those people who made fun of people on Segway’s. I just pictured a bunch of Paul Blart’s, and assumed they were all goons riding around. Well I take it all back – every word, every thought. I was young, ignorant, and jealous. I apologize. I am now a believer. I don’t even really remember what happened after we left the Segway shop. I think I might have blacked out from too much fun. Far gone are the days where walking was a viable option. Segway is the newest prefered method of travel…. PS those things can FLY. Maybe 15mph (which doesn’t sound fast but trust me you’ll start getting nervous over 10). I didn’t try to completely max out it’s speed because it was wet, and I would have probably lost my balance and ended up like this clown at the 0:20 mark: 
  • Tuscany is with zero doubt the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I would recomend everyone see it, and see it in the summer/fall. It was sunny, warm and overall just perfect weather. We went to a local beef farm and winery, and had a four course meal made of all local (from their farm) organic ingredients paired with 4 different local wines. The food plus the booze plus the scenery in the background made it honestly felt like you were living in a painting. Most beautiful place in the world.

  • In my intro post I promised a cliche pic leaning on the Tower of Pisa. Well you know what, I thought about it and I feel bad for the tower. All people do is pretend to lean against it, but nobody really cares about it. Almost like their just making fun of its’ deformities, its’ differences – and you know what? That’s pretty messed up. So shame on all of you, I’m giving this guy a nice big hug…. PS next to the actual picture is my submission to the Study Abroad Photo Contest. Winner gets a bunch of gift certificates or something. For the submission, I painted on a right arm to my body to make it look more like I’m actually hugging the tower (left = original, right = altered, obviously). Well just give me the certificates now. This picture is also proof that the sun does in fact shine out of my ass, so you can stop saying it so sarcastically, mom.

Lastly and most importantly, as you can see from the pictures above, I bought what I’ve been calling an ‘Italy hat’. Everybody in Italy probably had no idea I was a tourist. Hell I could’ve been a long lost cousin. I’ve been catching some heat from friends who’ve been making fun of the hat, but bottom line if you don’t think that hat is the best 8 euros ever spent, then you’re outside of your mind. Even my grandpa would think that hat is the cat’s pajamas.

Still having a blast. The adventure rolls into Prague, Czech Republic in 2 weeks.

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