24 August 2010

More Slackness Covered

Catch up part two.

Our next stop was Rome. Day one (Friday) was the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, Augustus' house and Parthenon. The Colosseum was definitely the highlight. The lowlight was the guys selling these magnetic stones that when you flicked them into the air they imitated the sound a cricket makes. They were absolutely everywhere. We also completed our civic duty by heading the the Australian Consulate to vote in the current election. The day was rounded off with the Trevi Fountain and dinner in the trendy part of the city.

On Saturday we headed towards the Vatican. Our plan was to see the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and then into St. Peter's. Sadly the Vatican didn't like our plans and decided to close the museum and the Sistine Chapel. There was a public holiday apparently. Anyway we headed into St. Peter's. Gotta say the Catholics  really know how to dress a place up. We then headed up to the top of the Basilica for literally the best view of Rome.
The queue when we left the Vatican was huge. It wrapped three quarters of the was around the square and was growing longer. The umbrella salesmen were making a killing because of the rain.

From Rome we headed to Pompeii and then the Amalfi coast. Our time spent at Pompeii took longer that we expected and so we didn't get to Amalfi until after sunset. We decided to stay the night on the side of one of the roads and then spend most of the day on the beach. We got to sleep around ten only to be woken up an hour and a half later by the sound of a large crowd. Our van was surrounded by 50 odd people with cars, scooters and motorbikes lining the coast road. Confused and a little worried we stayed in our van hoping they would all go away so we could get some sleep.

Around midnight it all made sense. A loud boom followed by the crowd going “Aww!” and “Ooh!” signalled the beginning of a fireworks display. We weren't sure what the festival was but it was a spectacular display.
They next morning we forked out the money for some deck chairs and soaked up the sun. The rest and relaxation was needed. I even managed to get a few minutes sleep.

From Amalfi we headed back up the coast to Pisa. Along the way we had our first interaction with Italian law enforcement. Being pulled over we where expecting to be breathalysed or something but no. We were asked by a young Italian girl where we had left from this morning and where we were heading to. I think I can see the letters to the editor if this kind of thing happened in Australia.

Pisa was pretty much everything I expected. Even more so with the small amount of fast moving cloud that made it look like the tower was about to fall over. Watching everybody try to take that photo of either pushing over or holding up the tower was amusing. Trying to do it ourselves was even more so.

So that wraps up Italy. We are now heading around the Mediterranean coast through France and into Spain.

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