Im blogging this from an internet café in Firenze (thats Florence for all you ingnorami), which is a marvelous union of incongruity. The computers are brand new with flat screen LCD monitors and all the trimmings, and the room dates from about the 14th century, complete with marlble columns, romanesque arched cielings, and slate floors. good stuff. (please forgive the random punctuation... the italian keyboards take some getting used to.)
i arrived here this afternoon from Rival del Garda, a charming (ie, fake) tourist town on the nothern tip of Lago del Garda, a gorgeous alpine lake in the Dolomites near the Austrian border. The water was milky green. I spent a lovely 2 days jogging along the lakeshore, hiking the hillsides outside of the town, window shopping for stunning italian leather items i will never be able to afford (though i think jacob might snag that black and oxblood purse for me and stash it somewhere til xmas. i hope.), and making nice to my brothers new fiancé. he popped the big one my second night there. well, it was inevitable. he told us he was going to do it, but we all saw it coming anyway. i dont hate her. he really could have done worse, but he could have done better too.
anyway, 2 days was about all i could have handled of riva del garda, so im glad to be gone. i arrived after having my luggage stolen by a bus driver in verona, where i didnt need to be in the first place becuase some other idiot gave me bad directions. ergo, it took me 22.5 hours to get from manchester to a resort in northern italy. i couldve rowed here faster, and had more fun in the process.
the train ride down to firenze was lovely. i was glad to get out of the mountains, which make me claustrophobic. we passed vineyards heavy with grapes, and olive trees just starting to ripen. all over tuscany there are odd little abandoned castles stuck into the hillside. not the big imposing castles of enland and wales. these are just one small tower and paltry curtain wall, looking out over the countryside with centuries-blind eyes. i love travelling alone; i love going where i want to go and when, but when the sights get good i always pine for a friend to share the experience.
im staying in a dingy hostel in a seedy area (dont tell my mom), but i love it. the guy who runs it has been hitting on me since i arrived (he looks about 30 and i could do a lot worse), and is doing everything in his power to make my stay comfy. i love being in a residential area. i love seeing the city as the florentines see it, sans tourists. rival del garda was created for tourists. its like walking around the set of a movie set in a quaint italian village. its too cute to be believable. firenze is the real deal. theres garbage in the streets, hookers on the corner (no wonder the italian blokes are hitting on me), and destitute art students everywhere. its gonna be hard to leave, i can tell already.