United in Diversity
We truely love Italy and its one of the places we'll keep in mind for a permanent base to live when we're old but it's definitely a place we will come to again and again.
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Italy was our next objective, en route we paused in beautiful villages where we enjoyed local appetizers, and in the afternoon we arrived in Pisa. Pisa is known for its nearly falling tower and has cute but very touristic squares, nice to have seen but in our opinion not worth several days.
After a couple of hours (and great pizza) we therefore went on and on driving for Rome arriving on a rather unfortunate hour. We had gravely underestimated how grand Rome is and how expensive hotels are in that city especially when there is some holy party going on. Tired of the long drive and in real need of a hot shower we had a shady spouse accompany us to a decrepit hotel. We were happy that we could finally get some sleep although it cost us about 20 euro’s per hour.
The next day we found a fantastic apartment just outside of Rome. We could leave the car for the duration and traveled by bus to the center to explore Rome. Note that this is a priceless tip I’m giving you if you want to see this place and not empty out your credit card on noisy and dirty hotels.
What a powerful and vibrant city, what a beautiful buildings, bridges and squares. We walked for hours and saw all the tourist attractions such as the Coliseum, St. Peter's basilica, visited the Pantheon and of course took beautiful photos at the Trevi Fountain. The old part of Rome with its narrow streets and alleys, lovely shops has stayed with me as well. It's as if time stood still there, nobody rushed or stressed and everyone greets you with ''Buongiorno”. While you enjoying a delicious cappuccino you realize how beautiful life is.
It is definitely a city where you must have been once in your life. We recommend to take a few days to explore this city as there is so much to see and experience, the food and the drink is delicious and even though the Italians don’t always speak English, they are very welcoming. Italy is a country with many faces and places, and we love it so much we think about living here when we grow old.
Florence is such a place, the houses are built with a fascinating typical Romeo and Juliet balcony style with on every square a fountain and many statues of Michelangelo and other Renaissance artists. If you love art and culture, this really is heaven. The Santa Maria de Fiore, known as the Florence Cathedral, is a highlight, as well as the famous Ponte Vechio.
We drove from Florence to Venice, a city which you certainly must have seen once in your life. Since its sinking I would not wait too long. The special thing about Venice is there are no cars and everything can be seen and done by boat or on foot. (and of course its sinking) Can you imagine it? The streets are so narrow, picturesque bridges over canals everywhere and it feels like you've landed in a fairy tale movie. Its swarming with people though, and if you prefer to relax as Jeroen and I do, just buy a couple of fresh sandwiches and other snacks on the market and walk to a quiet spot near the water. You can visit the cute shops, or look at the million pigeons that cover the San Marco square. Also, there are many artists who present their paintings and drawings. You can go to the small islands by water taxi, where they make the famous Burano and Murano glass works. A day trip to Lido, Venice beach, is also recommended, in short, something for everyone and one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen so far.