When I returned from Morocco I realized I had reached the midpoint of my 6 months journey. Yes, unbelievable to think that three months had already gone by and I had another three to go. I reflected back on the first day I arrived in Rome back in April and remembered how excited I had been. This time, initially I must admit I felt a tinge of homesickness. But it didn’t last long. I decided that I was going to treat the next 3 months as if I was only just beginning “Part 2” of my incredible adventure.
And very soon I was reminded why this holiday has been so amazing! The night I arrived back in Rome, I went for drinks with the gorgeous young photographer Carlo that I met during my very first week in Rome. I could talk to him for hours. His passion for photography is such an inspiration. I made him promise to take me on a photo shoot before I return home.
The very next morning, I was having breakfast at the B&B and started talking to a wonderful American lady, Kerry (32 years). We got along instantly, and ended up spending the entire day wandering around Rome together trying to find some famous crypt (which took us about 2 hours and 10 km’s of walking to find it) and chatting over lunch and dinner. She was on a kind-of-find-yourself quest after splitting from her long time boyfriend, quitting her job, and losing her father from a heart attack last year. She was in her third and final month of her trip, and as you can imagine, we (and her too??) had heaps to talk about!! She was just lovely!
And how lucky is this….she ended up taking a day trip to Siena when I was there and we again spent the best part of the day wandering around the sights of Siena (I was the tour guide) and having another wonderful day together. Gosh, I am blessed on this trip!!
After Rome, I stayed in Siena for 5 nights and caught up with a number of friends I had made since coming over. I so loved the familiarity of being back in Siena. I met up with the teachers from the Italian language school (yes, of course Mauro was one of them), and Vincenzo and Mirko who I had previously met in Siena. I just read that line back and I wondered whether you were thinking that they had the most unfortunate names in Italy…Mauro, Vincenzo & Mirko??? What were their mothers thinking!!!!
I went back to ‘my’ hairdresser in Siena and had a cut and colour again. It was so great. I walked into the salon and she not only remembered me but even remembered my name!!! The first thing she asked was if I got my visa sorted!!! I also bought myself a good Dan Brown novel and managed to actually relax and do very little except try and recover from my cold. I even squeezed in three afternoon naps and…hhmmm….plenty of pasta, pizza and gelati (to obviously build up my strength again)!!!
After Siena, I made my way to Lucca for 3 nights. Lucca is this amazing little Tuscan town and is the only city in Italy that is completely surrounded by walls. I had heard so much about how wonderful Lucca was, and the town certainly lived up to my expectations. There were walkways along the top of the walls and the thing to do in Lucca was to hire a pushbike and ride along the walkways and through the gorgeous cobble stoned streets. So of course that was what I did! I have the chaffing on my butt to prove that I hired a pushbike on two of the days I was there! I am yet to decide what was worse…the camel or the bike!!
The second afternoon I was there, I was sitting on a park bench having lunch when another American lady, Noreen (62 years) sat down beside me. No surprise, we ended up in conversation which lasted about 4 hours that day and then spent the whole next day exploring Lucca together. She was one of the most interesting people I have met so far on this trip. However, I don’t know that I could afford to spend too much more time with her, as every time I showed her something I liked in a shop…she convinced me to buy it!!!! I scored a lovely dress from the Markets and a very unique silver & Murano glass ornament (which I eyed off for 2 days before she persuaded me that it would be a very special reminder of Lucca? She should be working in the markets in Morocco!!). Gosh, my suitcase is fast becoming a storage cell for items that bring many fond memories of these lovely towns I am visiting!!
After Lucca, I caught a train to Florence and spent one night there before flying out to Prague (Czech Republic). I was told that the taxi ride from my accommodation to the Airport would take about 20 minutes. I was a little nervous about almost missing the plane to Morocco, so I allowed 40 minutes to be on the safe side and booked it for 7am. However, my over-excited taxi driver took only 8 minutes!!! After driving through three red lights and at a pace like we were in a Formula one race (passing every car in sight and almost colliding with a truck), he said to me that he could still drive like that at this time of the morning??? What made him think I wanted him to still eludes me!!!
Anyway, I made it safely to Prague and was very excited to find that Ros (My new travelling partner from Tasmania) had booked us into a wonderful hotel in the Centre of town….especially as we are here for 4 nights. Oh My God, I LOVE PRAGUE!!!!!!!! My eyes and mouth were wide open in awe as I walked around last night. It would have to be the most beautiful city of my trip so far.
Will add more about Prague in my next email, as I better head off now and get some sleep. We are being picked up by Adriana (the lady I met in Venice) in the morning. She is going to give us a private tour of Prague. Can’t wait!
Oh, one last thing, I have never seen a breakfast spread as huge as the one this morning. Just doesn’t seem right to be eating chocolate cake as part of breakfast…but it was there in front of me…and must be deemed to be the “Prague” thing to do…so of course I had to eat it…along with the ……..other stuff……
As always, hope everything is great with you!!
Love Joy xxxxxxxxxxxx