Since I was in Barcelona, my days have been pretty full. I ended up staying in Barcelona for almost a week. The city is amazing, I was expecting not to like it very much but it turned out to be amazing. I stayed in a more residentail part of the city where I could actually relax and escape the insanity of the city. It’s a unique city, the architechture alone is enough to make your head spin. I saw lots of Gaudi buildings and took a day trip out to the Dali museum in Figueres.
Leaving Barcelona as my final destaination in Spain I headed back to France for Marseille. The town was pretty quiet when I was there, though I did meet some people at my (nearly deserted) hostel and two brittish girls on the way to the beach. The water was a bit cold, but nice!
After Marseille, I continued along the coast to the twin towns of Frejus and St. Raphael. The towns were really pretty and right on the ocean. The nice thing about travelling along the coast is that the trains usually run right along the coast too, and you get a beautiful view out the window. From Frejus, you can get to St. Tropez pretty easily, so I went there for one day. The town was really pretty and if you take the bus out to the far beaches there’s a nice path to hike along the cliffs and rocks on the coast. The weather started to shift at this point and it’s been rather chilly ever since.
Next stop on the trip was Genoa. I was recommended to go there…I wouldn’t recommend it. The city was ok, but not terribly interesting. There is, however, a cool pirate looking ship in the harbor. Aside from that it was quite chilly and I spent most of my time just walking around, taking the city in.
After Genoa, I went on to Verona. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect there, but am I glad that I went. The town is absolutely amazing, very beautiful. Another great thing about Verona is, that it’s only an hour or so from Venice, so I could go there for the day without having to actually stay in Venice.
Venice was another town that I expected not to like, since I’ve heard nothing but bad things about it from other travellers. I decided to go anyway, because it’s such a unique city. I’m glad I went, because I really liked it. I think it helped that I wasn’t there in the dead, stinking heat of summer. It had just rained when I got there and the whole city had been washed clean and was nice and cool, quite the opposite of what I’ve heard from everyone about the place. I didn’t really go see any museums (saving that for Florence) but rather walked around the city all day. It’s really interesting, there’s not a car to be found (hooray!) and the streets are quite catacombish.
Next stop on my trip was Florence, which I had been briefly to in the summer of 2001. The city is really amazingly beautiful, but unfortunately really amazingly expensive. And they’ve recently done away with student discounts at museums! I managed to get into all the museums I’d wanted to see, walked around town a lot and had time for a day trip to Siena. Florence really does have some amazing art, though most of it really isn’t on my list of favourite styles…it’s still interesting. At the Uffizi there was a really cool special exhibit of self-portraits that were really interesting, in addition to all the famous masterpieces of which you only ever see prints and posters.
I left Florence two days ago for Greece, and arrived last night after a very long boat ride and two train rides. Greek transportation is…um…interesting, to say the least. Not my favourite country to take public transport, but the place itself is really beautiful. The whole way to Athens from Patras I could see the coast. The water is so beautiful, blue and clear…I can’t wait to get to the islands and go swimming.
Athens is a huge city, however I’m staying right in the middle of it. I can see the acropolis from the roof of my hostel and walk there in about 5 minutes. It really is amazing, unfortunately much of it is also being restored and is covered in scaffolding.
That’s all for now, folks. Only two weeks and one day until I come back to the states. The crunch is on.