Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The trip to Italy!!

BUONGIORNO! Before I start ranting about the trip to Italy, I would like to bring into cognizance a round trip around the sun by Soliloquy. One complete year. It all began on a lonely night brimming with a tumult of emotions. From there on, there was no stop to this train of thoughts. My friends said the blog would die soon with me running out of blood ink and motivation to write. I seconded them. Ironically, Soliloquy is 20 posts old talking about 15 different labels from the macroscopic worldly realms of Travel, Photography, Politics, Wars, Sports, Education, Women Empowerment, Food, a Movie Review, the IIT phenomena to the delicate and subtle issues of Love, Break-ups, Humor and Sarcasm. I am no judge whether the journey has been a successful one, but certainly, it hasn't been a failure either.

The idea to fly away with friends all over the Alps from Brussels to Rome was built in a day to overcome the frustration of the badly done exams of my first semester in Ghent. Peers had warned about Italy being the hub of pick pockets and notorious small timers taking tourists for a ride. Keeping that in mind we simply took a cab to the hotel. The friendly driver suddenly got adamant for a petty absurd luggage charge after reaching the destination when all I had was a laptop backpack and a small handbag (Che Cazzo!). The expected welcome to Rome was indeed received and I was happy I made it to the hotel. With a good night's sleep I awaited what Roma had to offer.

Roma/Rome: We took off for the city center, Piazza Venezia (Hysterically, it sounds like Pizza but means Venice Square) after having an obvious breakfast of Pizza! Ancient Roman architecture all around.

''Tourist mode = ON''

 Altare della Patria, Piazza Venezia

Beautiful sculptures with meticulously detailed carvings which only eyes can perceive. So many attractions in one square that in one whole day with the Colosseum just infront of us, but still we couldn't make it upto there. The Roman forum and the Colosseum are surely a Day 2 event when your blood and breath are filled up by Pizza's and Lasagna's, the only thing which you'll find on the streets.

Piazza Venezia as seen from the Roman Forum
Vatican as seen from Castel Sant'Angelo

VATICAN on Day 3! World's smallest enclave.
The state of the Bishop of Rome - The Pope.
We were lucky to be there on a Sunday noon and get a glimpse of the Pope addressing the crowd with a chapter from the Bible. To get into the Basilica was an endless queue of people. Took almost two hours to be in there but the view inside was absolutely breathtaking. Completely flawless, the interiors, the intricacies of the walls bedizened with marble sculptures and gold coatings, St. Peters Basilica is undoubtedly the most beautiful monument man built by the mankind, an epitome of craftsmanship. The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican museums are a must go irrespective of the heavy entry fees they charge. Indeed, Rome is much more than just the Colosseum and deserves all the hype that surrounds it. We were supposed to go to La Spezia next day but trusting a Bla-bla car driver stood us up. So, I would advocate pre-booking of travel if one wants to experience the high-speed and luxurious Frecce trains, otherwise, Regional and Intercity trains also serve the purpose.

Firenze/Florence:

City of Florence from Cathedral di Santa Maria
Surprisingly small as it is, this riverside city is like no other. Cradle of the Renaissance and of tourist masses that flock here to feast on world-class art, Florence in three words is magnetic, romantic and mellifluous. Perfect destination for a honeymoon, solo travelers can still find bliss in the gastronomy of the city. After surviving only on Pizza's and pastas for the 4 day stay in Rome, Florence came to rescue with a street full of Indian food joints. Taste buds tingled again with the authentic spices from back home. A visit to the Michelangelo square atop a hill south to the city center is recommended, both in daytime and night to appreciate the panoramic skyline of Florence.

Florence at night


Cinque Terre (Five lands): The hidden paradise of Italy

Not to miss the beautiful La Spezia, we made a day trip from Florence (with a 30 minutes stop in Pisa for a wasteful selfie with the Leaning Tower) to Cinque Terre. Travelling amidst the lush green farms and the snow covered mountains in the back, the train ride was truly mesmerizing. Blazing through the tunnels in blinding darkness, the first sight of the mammoth blue sea was pure serendipity. Unequivocally ineffable, the view cannot be captured by any lens. My eyes were glued to the horizon embracing the sheer infinitude of the cerulean blue sky fusing with the fresh azure waters. Strolling on the beach savoring each moment this Earthly heaven had to offer, my whole life turned into a clear slate with all pain and sorrow fleeting in the sand washed away by the receding tides. Relinquishing all the fatigue and melancholy, it the was best birthday I ever had and could possibly dream of.

A journey along the ethereal spectrum of nature

Venice
Venezia/Venice:

Heading towards the final destination with lots of surprises at each venue, I thought the trip could not get any better until I stepped out of the station in Venice, a city floating in the Adriatic Sea, so enchanting, feels like God himself conspired with mankind to build such a World Heritage. The weather played spoilsport in exploring Venice. Nevertheless, we were hell bent on rattling ourselves, getting lost in the narrow streets of the island, each evoking a thousand tales. Despite freezing conditions, the cheap off-seasonal Gelato was the best ice-cream I had in Italy. As Venice Carnival was approaching, markets were in full zeal and zest, showcasing some of their best collections of Venetian masks, designer dresses and accessories. A visit to the Glass factory in Murano and a Gondola trip between the colourful houses in Burano still lingers on my bucket list.

Foodie tip: While taking a train from Florence to Venice, a stop at Bologna for lunch is highly recommended for admiring their delicious pastas, specifically, the Spaghetti Bolognese.

Hitherto, these photo's I clicked and this blog-post is a futile attempt to portray the surreal beauty I witnessed. I await going back to Italy to reminisce those pleasing memories.

Thanks to a special friend to make me blog with such positive energy making me relive the awesome trip to Italy.

Ciao! Until next time.

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