Stops 10, 11 and 12: Pisa, Firenze and Venezia, generic Italian tourist scheisse…

So Diano Marina was crossed off our list, now it was time for some overpriced touristy stuff. The plan was simple; Pisa for the day taking leany style pictures, then off to Florence for the evening to do romantic things with Triple M (my mate Matt).

Pisa was exactly what I expected; people holding their hands out pretending to hold up the tower. I photobombed a Chinese girl doing it and her mum wasn’t happy. She said something that sounded Thai so I replied in Thai. She completely blanked me and muttered something that was definitely Chinese, showing that their family was clearly the life of the party!

Once we’d taken a few photos we saw some Italians trying to take a group selfie. I say some, it was upwards of ten. I offered to help and they called me a hero. Then more Italians came in droves. I reckon there were nearly thirty people in the photo by the time I took it. They said thank you and went on their way…

Then we went to the Arena Garibaldi as it was nearby. That’s a lie, it was nearish. It felt a hell of a lot longer as we were lugging around our backpacks. It really wasn’t worth it in the end; the stadium genuinely looked like an abandoned block of council flats. Oh well, something to tell the grandkids! Positive energy etcetera!!!!

Firenze!!!! Except we are budget travellers. This meant not only did we have to pick our keys up at another hotel, we had a shared toilet with the rest of the hotel. We did have a shower mind you, awkwardly positioned in the corner of the room so me and Triple M had to leave the room when the other was taking a shower! After we navigated that obstacle we went in search of food, and we found some in the form of pizza (who would have thought…?) it was the bomb diggity, until the heavens opened and we had no way of getting home without getting soaked. So we did what most people would do in this situation and got hammered…

I had a Bellini, which was prosecco and peach juice. I started to feel tipsy so I thought I’d stop before I started messaging ex girlfriends saying how good we were together and maybe we should give it another chance. Then Matt had a genius idea and bought an umbrella for €5. It worked, because the rain stopped and it hasn’t rained since on this trip!

We shared the umbrella home because it was still spitting and then after Matt rung his girlfriend and rubbed it in that his life this week was 85% better than hers we had an early night and got some sleep. The next day we woke up and got the train to Venezia, Venezia (or as the English know it: Venice) was magical as well. It didn’t stink of piss like everyone said it would which was handy. There were a few side streets were it wasn’t busy where some people had got lost and casually relieved themselves, but I was expecting the place to hum and it didn’t… so 5 points to Venezia!

5 more points to Venezia for San Marco as well. Which is a shame because I had to deduct 5 points for the botanical gardens so unfortunately they are still on 5, which is still more than Sunderland. BURN!!!!! Triple M said it would be worth it so we walked a couple of miles to get there, but just before we did I remembered that it cost money to get in the botanical gardens in The Philippines, so we didn’t stand a chance of cheap tickets in a tourist hotspot like Venezia…

By then it was too late, when we saw the €25 per person sign I died a little inside and smoothly incorperated an about turn in my walk. We then walked to the pier to try and figure out if there were ferries to Croatia (we failed) then went home to recover after walking over fifteen bloody miles!

Finally in the evening we went to a restaurant before going to a jazz bar nearby. I was freezing because I’d ran out of clean jumpers and only had my Chiang Mai football shirt on. I’m not sure if the strange stares I was getting were because of the unusual football shirt or not, but to be fair the fact I was rubbing my body to try and keep warm wasn’t doing me any favours…

The restaurant was called Ristorante Capri and had a charismatic waitress serving us. She didn’t speak a word of English, so I had fun translating what she was saying for Triple M. He wanted something spicy, so she bought over a sauce that she described as ‘atomico’. I wouldn’t have gone that far but Matt was sweating, whereas I was enjoying my prosciutto e funghi pizza. After that it was off to the jazz bar. The jazz bar was playing Paolo Nutini (Which makes perfect sense…) and we had a couple of drinks to celebrate our last night in Italy. Then we lost track of time and had to run home because the hotel locked its doors at 11 and if we missed it we’d be outside until 5 in the morning…

So that was it for Italy! The next step is Slovenia and several other countries, finishing in Greece next Saturday. After that I have no plan. Matt flies back and I wander around shouting “Job???” until someone hires me, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten in life at the moment…

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