Pizza, pasta and bread? More like food, culture and men! Most people go to Italy expecting great food, great wine and vineyards. These are all readily found. But I took on Italy in a slightly different way! Tricia and I are in the process of backpacking through Europe for 6 weeks. This is our week in Italy! We started in florence and then moved to Rome and finally Venice…. With a small stop in Sicile. We have been using trains for transport and couchsurfing and bed and breakfasts for accommodations. There has not yet been one dull moment in Italy.

I found out very quickly that the men in Italy were very fond of blondes. I got more attention in one week in Italy than my entire life in the states! It was quite the confidence boost! Everywhere Tricia and I walked we heard, “Ciao Bella” and “Barbie”. When we were in florence we were walking across the bridge to get dinner with a couch surfing friend, and this Italian man on a motorcycle pulled over and told us he wanted to give me a ride that night and to meet him on the bridge again at 10 pm! He told me to put my friend to bed and meet him. Lol lets just say that I was flattered but did not attend. The couch surfing man we met up with took us to a non-touristy restaurant where we got florentine steak! Yum! He then told us about how his home is in the historic district and the paintings on the walls were from students of Michaelangello. He told us about his family and three homes. He offered to let me stay in Italy at one of them if I wanted to. I thought that was very generous. culturally that is normal though. We had great conversations about the purpose of life. He was an italian writer. We walked through the town and stumbled upon another protest by the Palestinians. This is the 3rd country we have observed this. When he left we were being scoped out by a French speaking man dressed as a pirate who was with an Indian man. They were very scary. This was the first event that we were in possible danger.

When I ordered a martini at the restaurant, the Italian host we were with said that I was ordering a super drink. He told us that he sees Americans that always drink to get drunk quick and not to socialize. In Italy they will spend hours at dinner! When I went to order the drink the waitress had walked away already. The host said, oh she escaped! Tricia and I laughed because it didn’t translate well. He then took my hand and he said he would read my palm in a way. As he held my hand in his and stroked his thumb along the base of my fingers he said, ” oh my” and stopped. I asked him what the problem was and he said that he didn’t want to talk about it. I continued to inquire and he said that he has a hi of seeing people’s pasts. He said that it was to deep and dark. He told me I had a recent health issue that I was dealing with that is better now. He was very accurate because I just recovered from my hip surgery. He would not talk about anything else because it was too much that he saw! It was bizarre. Then the table behind us had 4 men sitting at it. They didn’t speak English well, but the man facing me told me to come over to him. He kissed my hand and asked me to stay in Italy with him. Tricia said, “what about me”? He said, “you are ok but I prefer her”.

It was raining one of the nights in florence. It was funny to see people riding around on mopeds in the rain because half of them were wearing ponchos in the bikes! We got a ride on a moped by another couch surfing friend in Florence. For the most part we rode the metros. When we arrived to the metro stations it was like playing a game of; which character here is the pickpocket? We saw a few obvious ones! You had to be very careful entering and exiting.

We had a couch surfing host in Rome that was also quite a character! He made us dinner at his parents house. It was a pasta dish with peas in it! I do not prefer peas but yet I ate it. He invited his friend to dinner as well so there was 4 of us. He was playing techno music loudly in his house which was funny to me. He had a “chill room” for hanging out and to host couch surfers. He had buckets full of lighters. When I asked him where they were from he basically said that he was a professional pickpocket! It was very interesting. He then drove us to some terrace bars outside of Rome city center and showed us how the locals hang out. The drive there was quite interesting. He ran a red light on the way and when Tricia asked him why he did that he said, ” the lights was red for everyone else, but for me and my lawyer it was green. He said some very funny things during that car ride. When I told him that I needed to go to the restroom he said, ” please do not pee in my car, that is just basically rude”. He was serious! Then he pulled over and peed on a tree and handed me napkins to do the same….. Well……I had to go! That night was quite eventful! Eventually he dropped us off back where we were staying at a bed and breakfast in Rome. When he got out of the car to say goodbye he tried to convince us that in Italy it was tradition to give a kiss on the lips goodbye. He kissed Tricia on the lips and that shocked her because she wasn’t expecting it. When he came to me I pushed him away and guided him back to his car and said goodbye. Tricia and I started walking to our B&B and we heard somebody running after us. It was him! He was running after me and grabbed me and turned me around quickly to kiss me. I pushed him away again and we ran home. He walked back to his black Lexus that he left parked in the middle of the street with the door open and he went home. Wow quite the experience. The whole night he kept telling me that he would marry me and keep me here! I made sure to end that evening early!

We finished our Italy trip in Venice. I could write an entire post about Venice! On the train ride there we met two Portuguese men. We told them about our trip to portugal and laughed a lot! I LOVE the people from portugal. I have not met a bad one! Venice was lovely. The city built on water. The transportation was all boats the ambulances were boats going to and from the areas. That was quite interesting. We rode around in water taxis and took them to and from the islands. We went to Murano and Burano. When we were in Murano we got lost in a maze of houses. We didn’t know which way to go to get back to the taxi point to make our train home. There was a man we saw in the distance as we turned the corner. He was standing there alone he appeared to be about 80 years old. When we reached him, he didn’t speak English, yet he took us and pointed us in a few directions and motioned for us to walk a certain way. We thanked him and he turned a corner and disappeared. Tricia and I looked at each other trying to figure out where this man came from and how he knew where we were trying to go. I personally believe he was an angel. Strange things happen to me like that all the time and I truly believe it is divine intervention. There was a man we were speaking to, and I said, “yolo”. Afterwards he didn’t understand and said, “yolo? Is that Mexican? I thought it was hilarious. I explained what it meant afterwards. We continued to talk and I asked him if he was married. He said, “not recently”. I told him that was the funniest comeback I heard all day and that I would adopt it as my own.

We met two Canadian couples who were roughly in their 60’s on that boat ride home. We ended up going of a gondola ride with all of them. That was fun! The one lady had a water bottle full of wine. She asked the gondola driver permission to drink it. It was adorable. We ended up having a Bellini with them in San Marco square. That was our first train that we took that day that left at night. On the night train to vienna we were in a cabin with 6 people. It was 5 feet wide. On each wall there were three beds. 4 guys and us two girls all stayed there. It was so small and quite an interesting ride. There were two 18 year old boys from London, one 19 year old from vienna and an 18 year old professional swimmer from Russia. He had swimming fins with him. It was quite the interesting bunch. Tricia and I were on the top bunks and it was so hot up there. I had brought fresh berries with me on the train and it was so hot that when I woke up in the morning they were covered in mold. I have two more night trains to go on this trip alone without Tricia because we will be splitting up in Budapest.

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