08.13.2011 – 08.22.2011
The Coliseum (one of the “7 New Wonders of the World”) and Cinque Terre are the main reasons for this trip. I am impressed with the Cinque Terre landscape with colorful houses stacking on cliffs, which no matter how difficult to reach there, it is still on my top list.
Venice is a very artistic city. The city feels small with its narrow canals and bridges, making me reticent to even call it a “city”. I enjoy walking in every corner of it, though it is very touristy. “Water taxi” and “gondolas” are the most famous forms of transportation.
Florence is all about art museums and Michelangelo’s David sculpture. However, I personally love the panoramic view of the city the most: it offers an endless view of red-roofed houses and buildings, which fits the artistic characteristics of the city very well.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is my favorite travel destinations so far in 2011. It is very difficult to get to, with multiple transfers by trains via Venice. From my experience traveling, I have learned that the destinations that are the most difficult to reach are usually the most beautiful.
Cinque Terre means “Five Towns” in Italian. All of the five towns have their own unique characteristics. Riomaggiore, Corniglia, and Manarola are the most elevated and offer a 3D experience. A stack of colorful houses has been built on the cliff, seemingly disorganized but incredibly beautiful. Vernazza and Monterosso are beach towns with flatter landscapes of architecture, but more popular for relaxation and tourism. I personally do not like touristy places, so I enjoy Riomaggiore and Manarola the most.
The sea is so clear and blue, completely different from the Pacific Ocean. I like to walk by the sea during the day and the sunset, to experience beauty in different forms.
The line for entering the Leaning Tower is too crazy. I end up skipping it and view it from outside. It has an interesting tower if you think about the physics of the architecture. Although Pisa is small with limited things to do, I would say that it is still worth a visit.
Rome, Italy: The Coliseum, one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World”
I spend a substantial amount of time appreciating the Coliseum, one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World”, and the Roman Forum.
I spend three nights and four days in Rome and stay in a hotel near the Spanish Steps. I walk around the city every day for 10 hours.
McDonald’s is very good in Italy and sells everything and so many more desserts than the US. I rely on Mickey D for my drinks and after-dinner desserts.
I did not like Italian food before coming to Italy, but I have been very impressed with it during this trip. It only costs a couple of Euros to get a high-quality house wine in any restaurant and the seafood is exceptional. My most memorable dining experience is at Cinque Terre with a view of the open terrace during sunset. My favorite dessert is the flan.
Italians love pistachio flavor. I buy pistachio flavored food/ice cream everywhere.
I don’t usually drink coffee, but I have become addicted to the Cappuccino in Italy. It costs 1.5 Euro (a tiny cup) and tastes completely different from the one in the US (in a much bigger cup). Getting up early with a tiny cup of cappuccino in my hands, no matter how hot the summer weather is, has become my daily routine.
Please refer to “my book” section for more details.