"Down here at Cape Spartel is the celebrated cave of Hercules, where the hero took refuge when he was vanquished and driven out of the Tangier country. It is full of inscriptions in the dead languages, which fact makes me think Hercules could not have traveled much, else he would not have kept a journal."

-"The Innocents Abroad," Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Seeing Europe in 17 Days: Part 3

Last part of my trip! Our time in Italy was spent in many cities - the first, La Spezia, we arrived in the evening of the 26th. We were in a rather nice hotel in the middle of nowhere, which was a relaxing variation on the rest of our experience so far. Because of this, there were no postcards for me to find (sad) and I can't say that I took pictures to make up for this lacking. However, we did have a wonderful pesto pasta with dinner :)

The following day, we took a day trip to Cinque Terre, which, after a certain distance, was no longer accessible by car/bus. The plan was to hike and then swim once we arrived, but there was a certain problem. Upon our arrival, our group leaders somehow were informed that the trail we were planning to follow was closed! What were we to do? Take the boat that regularly goes back and forth. Anyway, we did that, some people swam (it was too cold/deep for my taste), ate pizza, and celebrated my friend's birthday with delicious, freshly made gelato. Pictures! (And yes, those 2 people jumping are some of my crazy friends, not random people.)

After putting our stuff and ourselves on the bus again the next day, we headed to Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower! Funny enough, I didn't actually realize that this tower is a free-standing bell tower. That belongs to a church. Looking back on it now, I see that it should have been an obvious conclusion, but it just did not occur to me...

If we continue on our trip through Italy/Italia/Italien, we arrive in the walled city of Lucca! This walled city happens to be much older than Avignon - the ancient Roman city was first founded in about 180BC. The city today is a lovely example of a Tuscan town.

Last stop of the day (for the night) was Florence! In the morning, we were taken on a tour of the city, where we saw famous statues, the pig that gives you luck if you rub his snout, walked over the Old Bridge/Ponte Vecchio, by many a piazza, ate gelato (okay, so that was later on our own), and went inside the famous cathedral, the Duomo/Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. This turned out to be my favorite cathedral out of all of the churches we saw! The outside shows it as extraordinarily large and extravagant, but inside, the artwork is minimal for a European Catholic church and is done to a scale that makes it appear much smaller.

 Our last 2 day before driving back to Austria, we stayed in the beach town of Jesolo and went to Venice for the day. The first day, my friends and I dragged ourselves out of bed at 5AM to see the sunrise on the beach. Literally - remember, we're talking about four teenage girls who are suffering from lack of sleep. But we managed:

Then, of course, we were off to Venice, where we saw lots of beautiful water, various types of boats on water, people taking pictures of water, masks thankfully not in water, architecture right on the water, water leading to more water... stunning city, lots of water, in case you are not getting where I am going with this :)

And for the end of the day, we returned to the beach and buried ourselves in sand. The following day, we loaded the buses for the final time. Our final destination was where we began: Linz, where we had a 2 day Rotary district conference to present ourselves to all of the members before saying goodbye to everyone.

This is only a brief summary of everything that I have done and a tiny portion of my photos - thank you for reading about my journey! It is, to be cliche, one that I will never forget.

mary beth

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! Thanks for posting.
    Love you bunches - Dad