Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pisa, Palermo and Florence

So this post is all about my week long jaunt through Italy! All I have to say is Italy is truly the most beautiful country that I have ever seen. While I've only seen The USA and Italy. Italy is much more beautiful then USA. Yes big tall shiny buildings are pretty for a while but the old buildings the rivers the landscapes the EVERYTHING (except maybe the graffiti) is beautiful!! so now on too my vacation. I guess I will start with Pisa because well that's where it starts lol.

So on November 24 we got up at normal time as if we were going to go to school but when papà woke us up we got to get ready for the airport and not for school. It was definitely a nice change then from getting ready for school that's for sure. So we left the house at about 830 to drive the one hour to the Airport in Cagliari. When we got there we ended up having to pay for my ticket check in because mamma had checked the "check in online" box but because I'm not an Italian citizen I can't check in online. So we went to the ticket booth and payed for my ticket then we all had to weigh out bags because we were only taking carry ons they needed to be under 10 KG which is like 20 LBS and we could only have ONE bag and NO personal item. You can not have any personal items, you are only allowed to bring one bag with you on the plane. So we got though security no problem which was nice. In Italy you only need to be at the airport about an hour before departure because security is so much easier then in the USA. Well the plane ride was pretty uneventful. Its only about an hour and 5 minutes off of Sardegna to get to Pisa which is where we were going for the first day of our trip.

When we arrived in Pisa we didn't have to pick up any luggage so we went right out in to the meeting area to meet mamma's friend who is who we were staying with for the night and who was going to show us around Pisa for the day. She was there so we didn't have to wait at all. She drove us to her house which was about 30 minutes away from the airport because the airport isn't in the city of Pisa but just out side like most cities. so when we got to her house she showed us to our rooms. Me and Ele slept together in one room and mamma in another room. we had about 20 minutes before lunch and then we left again so we could see Pisa!!

So we left the house and we drove in to the center of Pisa and parked the car in a parking garage and we started to walk in to the center of town. It was a little cold and rainy so it wasn't perfect weather but it was still nice cause there weren't crazy amounts of people at the attractions. So before i knew it we were coming to this place that had lots of arches and i could see the top of the leaning tower of Pisa. I was so excited. This is something that is FAMOUS for people to see and famous all over the world and I was actually going to get to see it in person. yeah i was super excited. So we walked through the arches and you could see the tower with the other two buildings that stand with it and they are all white and sooo beautiful. its hard to believe that there hundreds of years old they look almost new. they are so well maintained. So i took a million pictures of the tower and of the buildings and of course the famous "holding up Pisa pose" which i must say made me feel like a HUGE tourist! which was a weird feeling cause honestly while i was there i didn't really feel like a tourist because i speak the language (kinda) and just in Italy i don't really feel like a tourist any more. which is a nice feeling!! Well after we saw the monuments we walked towards the river to see the famous river that runs from Pisa all the way to Florence. When I first saw the river i was in awe. It was sooo beautiful. All of the houses and buildings around the river are all original to Pisa and just its amazing that they are still standing and still so beautiful. they are so gorgeous. Pisa is so beautiful! Then we continued to walk around Pisa to see the other sights. there is a University in Pisa and when I saw it for the first time i could hardly believe that it was a university. It was so beautiful and so old just its gorgeous! I loved it. I thought the UW Madison was pretty. well i was wrong Pisa is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Well we were cold and hungry for dinner and tired of walking so we walked back to the car and we went back to her house. She made us and her family dinner which was nice and it was good. me and Ele were goofing off making funny monkey faces at each other making each other laugh really hard which was a blast . we couldn't stay up late because we had a flight out to Palermo at 11 am the next morning and needed to leave the house at 9 am to get to the airport.

Well we woke up at about 8 am so we could get our bags repacked. Its amazing me and Ele were there only for one day and we both managed to almost unpack our whole bags lol. Well we went back to the airport and we had to pay for my ticket again but this time it was different price. the first time we paid 8 euro but this time we only paid 5 euro so we weren't sure what was going on lol. So we got through security all right it was really easy. Security is really no big deal here in Italy. you don't have to take off your shoes or anything like that like we do in the USA. which is kind of nice not having to be at the airport 3 hours early for a flight that is only an hour and a half lol. SO on the plane the first thing that i noticed was that everyone was speaking Italian around me but it sounded REALLY funny. I asked Ele about it and she said that it was the Sicilian accent. To me it sounded just like a person from Ireland speaking Italian. which is a strange combination if you can imagine it or not. well it took me the whole plane ride just to be able to understand what the people were saying and i still had to concentrate really hard because of the different accents. the pronunciation is so different then what I'm used to but people say the Sardo accent is really strong but for me its normal because its what i hear every day.

Well we got to Palermo and we had to take an hour long train ride in to the city because the airport is so far out of the city. Its almost equal to the Chicago airport is close to Chicago. Well the train ride was nice but I've decided that every train in Italy is exactly the same as the others because the trains in Palermo looked identical to the trains in Carbonia. well when we got to Palermo station we ate lunch in the station at a fast food pizza place and then one of mamma's friends showed us where our bed and breakfast was. We went in to our rooms (me and Ele shared the big room and mamma slept in the single) and tidied up a little bit then we went out and met up with 3 of mamma's friends. They started showing us the principal tourist attractions which i must say are sooo beautiful. I know people say churches are boring but they are so not boring in Italy. they are sooo beautiful in Italy. they are all of marble and so intricately made with the most amazing art work that you could ever see and the art work is not on the walls but on the ceiling. its all paintings. ok i cant explain straight how on earth do people paint something above their heads. its just amazingly beautiful. they all have complicated Mosaic windows just yeah i was in awe the whole time and with every single one of them. then we saw this one cathedral in Palermo. it is the most beautiful building that i have ever seen in my whole life. Its huge and all made of stone and the outside is soo intricate and just me and Ele took so many pictures of us with this building because its just so beautiful all we could say was WOW. then we say a Classico school that looked sooo beautiful we were both jealous of all of the kids that get to go to this school.

Well everyone in the group was a bit cold (i wasn't) so we decided to go get some cafè. we went to this cute little cafè but i didn't want cafè i wanted some hot chocolate. So i told my mamma and then she gave me another menu to choose from cause there were so many different flavors of hot chocolate. well i ordered chocolate with mint because it sounded so yummy. well when it came it was more like hot pudding but it was still really really good. just wasn't exactly what i was expecting when i ordered hot chocolate. well by the time that we left the cafè it was dark out so I got to take some pictures of Palermo at night which was sooo beautiful. Then we went to one of mammas friends house so that we could all use the bathroom before we went to dinner. we ended up playing her WII which was REALLY fun!! we played a game of group bowling and i found out that i suck at WII bowling just as much as i suck at real bowling. it really isn't my sport. then we all went to dinner at this little pizzeria and Sicilian restaurant. Me and Ele both got pizza because the Sicilian food looked a bit scary. well dinner was really good. After dinner we walked back to the bed and breakfast and me and Ele got in to bed but we ended up talking for like 3 hours before we went to bed so we didn't get much sleep but that didn't matter to us cause we knew that we would have an hour on the train and an hour and a half on the plane.

Florence (Firenze)!!
Well we woke up and we walked to the train station so that we could take a train to the airport. well we missed the train we were planning to take which was fine because it was about an hour earlier then we needed to be there so it didn't matter. so we stayed in the train station until we could get on the next train to the airport. well the train ride was really boring and me and Ele were a little bit tired cause we didn't sleep much but that didn't really matter. when we finally got to the airport we saw that the check in line was like a MILE long so i stood in line while mamma and Ele went to see if we could check me in upstairs because i didn't have to check my bag. the first person she asked said not but the she asked some one higher up and they said that i could so we went up stairs where there was no line and i got all checked in. then we had to go through security which was kinda a pain cause my necklaces got caught in the machine (fell out of the bucket) so they had to get it out of the machine lol. and they wanted to take Ele's bracelet but they let her keep it so this security was kind of a pain. but it was still pretty quick. we were still about 1 hour early for our plane so we went and we sat down and killed some time while we waited for our plane to board. well the plane ride was about an hour and a half long and we arrived in the Pisa airport again because apparently the Florence airport had deadly runways. I don't know but that's what everyone says.

so when we got there there was a another one of mamma's friends that lives in Florence there waiting for us to pick us up and take us to her house that's about an hour away from Pisa. Both me and Ele slept on the way to her house which turned out to be a good thing lol because shes a CRAZY driver. Well when we got to Florence we decided that we were going to just stay in for the day because we were tired. so we just lounged around her house and took a nap for the first day then at about 7 o'clock we left the house for what me and ele thought was dinner because we were REALLY hungry but really we were went to walk around Florence at night for a about an hour before we went back to the restaurant. when we got there we had to wait for the other people in the group to arrive which took about an hour so by the time we ordered our food it was about 9 PM and by the time we got it, it was almost 10:00PM well we had this amazing Tuscan pizza that is only in Tuscany. it was the yummiest pizza I've had while in Italy. After dinner we went home and went to bed because we were planning on seeing Florence the next day.

The next day we woke up and we got ready for a day in Florence. I was SOOO very excited because this is a city that i have always wanted to see because just its always seemed so beautiful in pictures and it was 100 times more beautiful then the pictures could ever be. We drove down to the center of Florence and we parked and started to walk around and at first it just seemed like a normal town but then we saw it. we saw the center of Florence. it was breathtaking. it was the most beautiful thing that i have ever seen in my whole entire life. We saw the river that we saw in Pisa but it was about a million times prettier in Florence then it was in Pisa. the river was too beautiful all the buildings that flank the river are old and historic and sooo beautiful. then we crossed the famous bridge that leads to the other main tourist attractions. It is full of jewelry stores that sell almost exclusively gold. they are all very beautiful but soooo expensive that normal people could Not afford what was in these shops but they were beautiful and beautiful to look at. When we crossed the bridge it was the first time that i saw the Duomo. It was the most beautiful building that I have ever seen in my entire life. It is so intricately designed and sooo HUGE. I truly love this building. Right now I'm debating if it is my favorite building or if the one on Palermo is my favorite. You guys can tell me what you think based on the pictures. Then we went to get lunch at this little restaurant with some of mamma's friends in Florence. When one of the ladies got there the first thing she said to me was "Happy Thanksgiving" it was really sweet of her because I had totally forgotten that it was Thanksgiving. They obviously don't celebrate it here because its an American holiday but explaining Thanksgiving is a bit hard cause it uses some odd vocabulary lol. But i have had to explain it about a million times so far lol. Well after lunch we walked up this GIANT hill to see a panoramic view of Florence. This was the prettiest view i have ever seen in my whole life. I am soooo jealous of people who wake up to that view every day. It sure as heck beats the "newness" of American cities. All of the buildings are so old hand have so much history to them. They all have so many stories to tell and are all so famous. The architecture of ancient Italy is AMAZING just the time it must have taken these people without modern equipment to build these churches and put in all of the details they have on them it sure makes building an all steel skyscraper look like a cinch.. Well we were all getting pretty tired so we decided to go back home.

Well for dinner that night the lady that we were staying with had a whole bunch of friends over and we all had dinner. i didn't eat very much of it and neither did Ele cause neither one of us really liked the food so it was an interesting dinner because they all knew we were hungry but kept asking why we weren't eating. then there is there deranged cat. it kept going around and around the table and peoples laps.. and normally i don't have problems with this cat but when i saw it just an hour before with its face covered in rat blood and a half dead chewed rat in it's mouth. sorry i really don't want it on my lap at all lol.. but maybe that's just me no one else seemed to think this was weird. lol.

The next day when we got up it was raining so mamma told us that we wouldn't be going out in Florence today but that we were going to go to another town to pick up some steaks for dinner. Well we all got ready and we got in to the car and drove an HOUR to buy steaks. its in this little Tuscan town that is apparently famous for there steaks which are thick (and to me looked just like normal steaks in Wisconsin). we walked around the town for about 20 minutes (very tiny) and there were like 10 butcher shops in just the main road.. Well in my time in Italy i have decided butcher shops are truly gross. they have hanging meat on the ceiling and just soo nasty. I am very content with Pick-in-Save deli thank you very much. Then we went to a store of one of mamma's friends and helped her organize it for a little while which was fun but i don't know how she worked in it before it was sooo disorganized.. ahhhh.. Well when we finally got back home they started cooking the steaks and me and Ele packed up our bags because we were leaving the house at 3 am to drive back to Pisa to get our 6 am flight. Well we had dinner and the steaks were SOOO good although I don't know how "Tuscan" they are cause they taste just like normal steak from the USA.. i think they just fed the cow more corn like we do with all cows lol.. idk.. personally when it comes to cow meat i'll stick with USA. lol. Well we attempted to go to bed early because of our flight but me and Ele for some reason didn't end up going to bed until about midnight.

At 2:45 mamma woke us up and we got in to the car and drove to the airport in Pisa (because apparently the Florence airport is scary or something i don't know) we got to the airport and went through security very easily and then we waited for our flight to board which was on time thankfully. well Ele slept in the plane but i have decided that i just cannot sleep on planes. it just does not work for me to sleep on planes. so when we got to the Cagliari airport i had a MAJOR deja vu moment going into the room where you would pick up your luggage that you checked and the area where people pick you up. My first thought was. "wow 3 months ago i was picking up my bag and meeting my family for the very first time and was sooo I'm just happy to be home and to be with my family again" it was a really strange moment. Well papà picked us up and drove us home.

Well this was my week long vacation in Tuscany and Palermo. I hope you enjoyed reading about i know that i enjoyed it soo much. I'm sorry that its taken me so long to get this out. there were some technical difficulties lol..


Lise said...

Hi! I have read all of your blog entries now, and it seems that you are having an amazing time in Italy. The reason I read your blog is because I'm going to Italy as an exchange student next year as well! I am so excited.
Anyway, I found this funny video about Italy I thought you might like, since some of the situations you have described are in it. Here it is:

Kaitlyn_09 said...

KENDRA, GUESS WHAT?! I got a family!!!! They live in Vico Equense, and I have a Mamma named Marianna Di Martino, a nonni (that's grandmother right?) and a sister named Claudia. Claudia is a year younger than Ele your age? I'm so excited!!

PS Your vacation sounded so awesome! I bet it was beautiful...=))

stefano said...
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Cialis said...

This sounds like a wonderful trip!