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Italy and the journey home...

Written on: Saturday August 4th, 2012

A journal entry from: Whiskey, planes and automobiles!

Well I should be at home in Canada sleeping at the moment, but instead I am in Amsterdam... I'll come back to this.

I arrived in Italy late last Thursday evening. Hanna one of my housemates from oz who is working on her phd in Florence was there to meet me. My first impression of Italy was tight roads and crazy driving. We almost hit a man who was somewhat driving and cut us off as he was talking on his phone and writing in his daytimer...maybe he was a real estate agent...? Still not sure how he managed to drive!

Hanna's flat was in the heart of Florence and quite nice. From here you could walk almost anywhere. We went out that night to meet a few of her friends for a drink.

The following day we explored Florence and all its major sights. I learnt a lot from Hanna on different aspects of art, it was really interesting and like having my own expert guide. The architecture and history were really impressive, but the heat was a little hard to take and the city seriously smells absolutely awful!! Reminded me of Cairo!

On Saturday we took a bus to Sienna which is the location of the famous horse races. I liked Sienna, it was nice, much cleaner than Florence and not as busy! It was nice to be able to just walk around and check out local shops. *it was 38 degrees! :s  That evening we went to see an apartment that Hanna was considering moving to in Florence as she has to move in a month. It was neat to see part of the real estate aspect here in Italy. All I can say is that we are really lucky to live in north bay!

On Sunday we took a train early in the morning to Venice! This was the part of Italy I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint! It really was a surreal place. Luckily for myself Hanna had lived here before so she knew her way around most of the tourist traps and busy roads. It really was a magical place to see. I am sill amazed how it is all possible and I think I will always be wowed by this city. However while on the island itself you certainly have a feeling of entrapment and apparently a lot of Venicians are not very fond of the tourist.

Although I was leaving the following morning, it was a really full 3.5 days and I feel like we really made the most of it!

I had a pretty long day back to Germany as I had to stop in Paris for 3h but once arrived Tobias picked me up downtown and we had a really nice BBQ by the river with Iris and a couple of their colleagues. It was a welcome change to the hustle of the last couple of days! The following morning Tobias took me to a couple of really neat castles near by as well as one last stop to a fresh German bakery (so good) before heading back to the airport to head home. *met a lady in a park with a welsh springer spaniel which was really cool, we exchanged pictures and it was almost like a family connection!

My flight from Frankfurt to Amsterdam was delayed 40min and once arrived in Amsterdam I was nicely told that my flight was overbooked and that there were no more flight for the evening... At first I was quite upset but you can't cry over spilt milk. To help ease the situation KLM put me up in a fairly nice hotel with all food and transportation included with an additional lump sum cash payment to say sorry, as well as upgrading me to economy comfort for my flight *more leg room. Well after figuring out the logistics of being picked up in Toronto it was pretty hard to complain. The compensation made up for most of my original flight!!!

All in all it has been an amazing trip and certainly one of my best ever. Such a variety of scenery, cultures and events. Most of all I have had such amazing hosts and am very thankful to all of you. It is sometimes amazing how hospitable people can be! And I look forward to hosting each of you someday!

Trip highlights; friends/family, whiskey tour with an emphasis on the Johnnie Walker house at Cardhu and of course the formula one race and getting to see Vettel and Raikkonnen race!

I'd have to say that Germany was my favorite country because I feel comfortable there and things just work! Maybe I'm a little biased... :)

Scotland would easily be the most beautiful!

Thanks for reading and looking forward to next time!

All the best,

David W.


From Susan on Sep 9th, 2012

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