Saturday, June 10, 2006

au revoir, europe!

Hot chocolate at a patisserie in Lugano, Switzerland... 3 Euros
Authentic Venetian glass necklace from Venice... 40 Euros
Tri-Colored leather sandals handmade by a shoemaker in Assisi... 45 Euros
Genuine leather purse at Leonardo's Leather Works in Florence... 81 Euros
Black-trimmed sandals at Prada in Milan I wish I could have brought home with me... 329 Euros
10 days exploring Italy and Switzerland with my parents... priceless.

It's hard to believe my long-awaited vacation has come and gone. It's amazing how quickly 10 days can come and go. But what an amazing trip. Italy sure did not disappoint. I loved Florence the most I do believe, although Rome has certainly since grown on me.

I'm working on prepping pics to post shortly. I put up some already on my profile and am busy working on repairing some others. As I feared was the case, my lenses had some dust on them (which I will soon be getting professionally fixed -- what a pain!) so I am working on fixing the many photos which this affected. It is reparable, but will take some time on my part. Guess it works well for that only that I seem to have somehow pulled my back at the end of my trip. Hopefully nothing that a low-key restful weekend and a heating pad can't repair.

On the plane on the way back, my mom and I were going through our list of top things we would miss the most and, likewise, the list of the things we were definitely not sad to see go. I thought that would definitely be an appropriate way to sum up my trip!

Things to be missed...
  • Amazing hot chocolate
  • Pizza galore
  • Gelato 24/7
  • European art & architecture
  • FABULOUS shoe selection (it was heaven...)
  • Wine being less expensive than Coke!
  • The hot vendor working at the plaza in Florence (it was only 5 minutes, but what beautiful minutes they were!)
  • Being able to practice my Spanish -- it was surprisingly helpful in Italy
  • Not having to prepare my own meals
  • One word -- VACATION
  • My mom's students -- they were a fun crew
  • Our tour guide - Annameke

Things to gladly say adios to...

  • Break-neck sightseeing
  • Walking 7 miles a day
  • European hair dryers (sneezing creates more wind!)
  • Funny bathrooms (just a hole on the floor? c'mon!)
  • Living out of a suitcase
  • Uncomfortable cardboard beds
  • Bland chicken
  • Generic french fries (I love fries, but we saw so many generic fries that I think I'm "fried-out")
  • Our tour bus driver
  • No control over the daily schedule
  • Only 1 or 2 TV stations in English -- CNN and, if we were lucky, CNBC
  • Cold, cold showers

So it's back to work and reality... next international trip I'm aiming for is Prague & Budapest with the family, and I'd of course love to return at some point to Spain and Amsterdam. Nothing too soon though, I'm afraid. I'll have to settle for some domestic travels in the near future.


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