Never made it to Morocco…. Just getting that out of the way first!
Traveling has had its ups and downs, but I think I’m finally getting more and more accustomed to life on the road. I’ve admittedly struggled with living out of a backpack, showering in community showers, and at times sleeping in bunk beds in a room with eight other people…. I’m a really light sleeper, so this can be dangerous territory if there’s a snorer amongst the crowd… I entered into this with great optimism, but it hasn’t been easy. Not just traveling, but also having experiences that bring to light weaknesses and faults of your own that are easy to overlook in normal, everyday life but in this type of lifestyle are magnified times ten. Regardless of those areas where I may not shine my brightest, I look forward to the rest of my journey through Europe and through my own existence of growth and change.
Kevin and I left Spain and flew into Rome Italy. What a truly remarkable place. Each day was spent exploring the city and enjoying the delicious Italian cuisine. We visited the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and went to Vatican City and saw the Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. We even sent each other a post card from the Vatican post office! The people of Rome were incredibly friendly and most everyone speaks English, so that has made that aspect of travel quite a bit easier.
After three nights in Rome, we took a train from Rome into Florence, Italy where I’m now writing this post. Florence is a large city, but not much for sight-seeing so we had big plans coming here. Cinque Terra and Tuscany! Before coming to Italy I’d never heard of Cinque Terra, so when Kevin told me about the towns and that there was also a hike involved, my interest began to peak more and more. I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world, but I grew up taking family vacations to North Carolina where we would camp, and hike and do similar activities for the week and I always really loved it. So while I may enjoy a nice spa, I also enjoy a good hike! “It’s not that intense……” was what Kevin said when he originally told me about his hike through Cinque Terra six years ago. LIES. His memory served him wrong because this was no beginners hike. So. Many. Stairs. The scenery is absolutely incredible once you reach the overlooks and the views of the oceans and the upcoming towns, as well as the towns you’ve left behind, but it’s seriously a tough hike. Due to some work on the trails, as well as a mudslide that happened recently we could only do the hike through two cities. Upon reaching the third city, we scaled another mountainside so we could take a swim in the Mediterranean. SO SO SO amazing. The water is crystal clear and was so refreshing. After our swim, we headed back up and caught the train to the last two cities and then back to Florence where we ate and quickly fell into bed like two zombies with jello legs, because that’s what we were. After a great night sleep, we picked up our rental car and were off to explore the Chianti region of Tuscany. It was so nice to have our own car, just Kevin and I, to spend the day together… We’ve been together since we left, but this really felt like a date day, which I’ve missed, therefore, truly enjoyed. We had no real agenda, but made our way (in our SMART car) through little towns and up and down winding roads into a small town where we got some much needed info and booked ourselves a wine tasting and tour at a local winery. Kevin has done winery tours and tastings before, but this was my first and I loved it. Our tour guide, Jillian, was an older woman from London who truly has a passion for her job. She was so educated, informative and best of all, had a great sense of humor which is always a plus! She gave us a brief history on the winery and took us into the cellars and eventually the tasting began. The wine was delicious, as well as the olive oil and balsamic vinegar they produce there. Kevin and I had the best time and have seriously made the most of our time in Florence. Tomorrow, we catch and early train into Venice where we will surely ride a Gondola and sing “That’s Amore” out loud, to anyone who is unfortunate enough to hear us.
Here are some pictures from Cinque Terra and Wine Country!
Kevin & Ash