HIGHLIGHTS ON FIRENZE, CINQUE TERRE, SWISSE, BRNO, BRATISLAVA, WIEN, AND BUDAPEST
So, here’s what I’ve been doing in the last month, I’ll try to keep it to one highlight per day (if you have only one minute, I suggest watching the videos from Siena).
One random thought before I start. Tiana, who I met in Cinque Terre, had an idea that I think is brilliant: “why don’t we call places by their real names in their original language?” in other words, Florence should be Firenze, Spain should be España, and Italy should be Italia. I’ll try to keep true to that one here. There is one that’s kind of problematic: Switzerland is called four different names (Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, Svizra) BY ITS OWN CITIZENS! I’ve read the history of the country, but I still cant believe how one of the richest, most educated, peacefulest (screw you autocorrect! I’m leaving in peacefulest), countries in the world is composed of states that speak four different languages, is land-locked, and divided by the Alps that must have made it impossible to cross in the not too distant past. OK, so here is my little travel blog from the past month…
Forte dei Marmi: the best two plates of pasta I’ve ever tasted: penne scampi and fish-filled ravioli with a shrimp curry sauce, thank you Luigi!
Meeting and instantly organizing a crazy night out in Florence with Rishav (India), Sara (Australia), Stans (Holland), and Karl (Canada), now known as The Pussy Posse… the greatest nights are better left pictureless.
I met a pretty girl from Brooklyn, we had good drinks and great conversations, we kissed in one of those automatic photo booths, she left me two of the four pictures but forgot to write down her contact… some nights are better left as memories?
I spent like 10 minutes without blinking, looking at this sculpture at Piazza di la Signora, trying to figure out how the fuck did this guy turn a huge block of marble into three humans interacting like this?
I swam at night in the Mediterranean at Riomaggiore, kudos to Tiana for coming up with the idea, sorry about the lacerated foot, hope it’s healing well.
The 12 seafood antipasti at Tratoria dal Billy in Manerola, and the two plates of pasta that followed (smoked swordfish and truffle spaghetti anyone?)
Got caught up in the middle of the celebration of July’s Palio in Sienna… I can’t understate how absolutely insane these people are about winning that horse race.
And that’s only the first week!
Drove 7 hours Siena-Marseille and the next day rode my bike 9 hours (7 hours road time) to Schweiz with temperatures reaching 38C. I met our family friend Rene and after a cold Swiss brewsky, we walked 20 minutes up the river that borders his farm, then swam back with the current, exiting to say hi to his local pals who were grilling by the river, and offered us a beer while watching the sunset behind at least 50 balloons in the distance.
Chilling next to the lake in Luzerne with Christin and her friends.
Canyoning at Chli Schliere near Interlaken with 15 California kids who just got out of highschool. Watch the video to understand the level of adrenaline this entails (I don’t have pics from that day, sadly)… I’m proud to say I pulled off my first backflip, another reminder 36 is not late to try new things.
Making friends with four Korean girls at my hostel in Salzburg, making due backpacking Europe with really bad English… respect.
Memorable nights in Brno with some Italian Biology PhD’s and Alexis the Cell Biologist from Singapore, traveling solo around the world.
Wien, where I met for beers with Lauri from Finland through Couchsurfing.com. We found ourselves having a pretty intense chat with an Austrian economist at an outdoor film festival. The economist had very strong views on every topic from the Greek Crisis to the potential bankruptcy of Germany to how the US Fed is controlled; and he would not be swayed by anything we said (or researched). After the guy went on his way, Lauri turned to me and said some of the wisest words I’ve heard:
“An argument is worth having only if each party involved is willing to change its opinion”
I spent the weekend in Budapest, never ceases to impress with its architecture and sheer size. This time I got to experience a bunch of ruin bars: ancient or soviet buildings that were about to be run down, and instead were decorated and turned into some really cool pubs. One of the greatest weekends of my life.