venice was... amazing. probably my favorite city in europe. it is so beautiful, has such good energy, and the reason was because... there are no cars! it's one of those things that seems so natural, you don't even notice it until the end of the day. just canals and walkways. the colors, the architecture, the pace flags, every clothesline waving high above the streets. it all made me so happy.
FLORENCE + PISA
florence wasn't quite as nice. it was just a big, dirty city. i could have been in new york or chicago and not known the difference. the river was pretty at night, but that was about it. pisa, on the other hand, was a lot nicer. it was about an hour's train ride outside of florence, so i did that in the morning of our day there. the most amazing part was the mountains... they were so gorgeous. little italian mountain towns full of steepled churches and orange-roofed houses, surrounded by fields and orchards and cliffs, all on mountainsides. i wanted to be there so badly. our campground was a little ways outside of florence, in a little town called figline valderno, and i wandered around out there a little, and found some beautiful mountain views out past the train station.
rome was amazing, of course, just for all of the typical tourist things. at the campsite i met some wicked australians, who were staying in the tent across from me, and i spent most of my time there with them. they were really hilarious, and we had a great time hanging out. i saw the colloseum and all the ruins of ancient rome, the pantheon, the vatican (with the sistene chapel, and st. peter's basilica), the fountain de trevi... although one of the best parts was this little area of ruins that were covered in CATS! just a square, smaller than a city block, and there were at least 15 or 20 cats all sleeping and sunning and playing on them. we stood and watched them for a while, and it made me miss my darlings so much.
barcelona was a close to second to venice as my favorite, mostly because of the gaudi architecture! of course, it was also nice to finally speak the language. but i had never really known much about gaudi's work before. i knew the general idea of it, but i had never seen pictures. and it really blew me away. i've always liked mosaic work, but gaudi's really inspired me. when i get home, i am going to start covering everything possible in mosaics. it's just so beautiful! we went to the church, which is all based off of things in nature, and it was incredible. it's still under construction, it has been for close to 100 years. it's supposed to be done within another 20 years, so i plan to go back then to see it finished. we also went to the park, where he has some buildings and sculptures. they were really fun, and covered in so much mosaic work that i couldn't imagine how much time it must have taken. it was all so beautiful. that evening, we walked down to the beach, to the mediterranean ocean. we sat and watched the surfers, and ended the night by drinking some sangria at a cafe. man, i love sangria.