Thursday, 22 October 2009

Trip of a Lifetime.

Italy & Greece.
Three cities. One Greek Island.
Add some great friends from Seattle.
One brilliant trip.

It was the trip of a lifetime as we toured Florence, Rome, Athens, and finally relaxed in Santorini. We met the Proper's in London and flew to Florence to start off the trip.
In Florence we saw the offices of the Medici family, the godfathers of the Renaissance and patrons of Leonardo DaVinci, Gallileo Galilei, Botticelli, and Michaelangelo.
The artwork was spectacular. One of the trip highlights was getting into the Tuscan countryside.
We saw Pisa, San Gimignano, and Siena. We all said if we did it again we would spend more time in the countryside at a farmhouse.
Rome. It is one of the busiest and 'touristy' places I have ever been to.
We constantly heard Americans speaking, a novelty for us living in Worcester.
Amid the throngs of tourists, we managed to find Rick Steve's recommendation for best gelato in Rome. One of my favorites, although it was mad hectic whenever we went there, was Trevi fountain. We braved the masses to see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
I've forgotten to mention food. I am a pasta girl, and eating real Italian pasta was sublime. I ordered it for nearly every dinner, except when I ordered pizza. I also like that you can order, "Red wine," and the waiter brings the house wine.
Athens is busy like Rome, though not as many tourists. We saw the Parthenon and Mars Hill. One of our best moments in Athens was relaxing on Mars Hill as the sun set on the city.
Nothing could have prepared us for the delight of Santorini. It's something from a picture or story book. We stayed in an amazing cliff side hotel (great find Sonya!), in caves that had been turned into studios connected with a labyrinth of stairs. Also, it was the best place on the island to watch the sunset. After chasing from museum to museum and gawking at historically significant sights it was bliss to relax and soak up some sunshine
before returning to rain and 45 F/12 C.

We had picnic lunches on the beach, Greek salads every night for dinner, Tzaziki, and my favorite, baklava. I walked every stair thinking-- b, step, a, step, k, step, l, step....
One woman (an American) stopped me and asked how many steps it was from the beach to the top of the cliff? She wanted to know if it was more or less than the 500 steps the tourists from the cruise ships had to walk up at the port in Fira. I told her I didn't know, but I did know that it was enough to feel guilt-free about eating baklava.

Thanks to the Proper's for all the hard work they put into the trip!