after a long flight, a bus ride, and a short trishaw ride, we arrive at kanchanaburi; tired and jetlagged. had some fun riding on the lovely red bike to sai yok noi waterfall. stinging needles of drizzling rain and unfriendly cold air.
finally, good asian food. spices. chilli. tomyam. meat. no cheese. no bread. GREAT. and most of all, cheap food and cheap accoms. and cheap internet. although calling home here is like 2 to 3 times more ex than in europe. hmm why?
pattaya with the boys tomorrow. nikhil flying home sooner than planned.
good fun at spa today. had a footbath, body saltscrub and aroma oil massage. wheeheehee. indulgence.
yesterday we went to the galleria degli uffizi in florence and i finally got to see botticelli’s ‘the birth of venus’ after a very long wait. since my encounter with (a cartoon replica of) it in some educational game on the computer, i’ve always wanted to see that particular picture, and yes, it didnt disappoint. of course, the gallery was lovely, and it had better be, since we queued for 15mins before opening time, and about 1.5hours after. it showcased works by leonardo da vinci, michelangelo (who considered himself more of a sculptor than painter), raffaello, etc.
i think the icing was the exhibition on leonardo da vinci and his interest in, and research on, various fields. they numbered quite a lot. engineering, architecture, physics, mathematics (geometry, patterns, his man inscribed in circle and square), and yes, for the meddies, even anatomy. and by god that man is a genius indeed. it had an in depth coverage of the last supper and monalisa’s smile. there is so much more to a painting than artistic technique and aesthetic appeal. the monalisa exhibit dealt with da vinci’s play on light and shadows, which i didnt linger too long over, since it had been 2.5hrs of nonstop walking thus far. the last supper, which interested me more, explored how he meticulously painted each disciple’s reaction to christ’s annoucement of his betrayal to match their individual temperaments. the position of the limbs, the body stance, the mouth nose eyes and space between the eyebrows, are all carefully considered. really, ‘the mind of leonardo’ special exhibition made my day.
of course, it did help that lunch after was at this quaint trattoria called ‘mario’, which served out lovely minestrone with risotto, and roast veal (aack vegans pls dont hate me). we are going back today for roast rabbit. because its thursday’s special. yummy! hehe.
more artsy things later.. michelangelo’s david at the galleria del academia.
florence is thriving. it’s teeming with vibrance and diversity. it’s such a cosmopolitan city, mostly due to immigrants (illegal or not i dont know). there are artists who use pastel and chalk on the cobbly roads, portrait sketchers, entertainers, magicians, and not forgetting our ‘you know how much’ darkfriends who have been such a constant through our exploration of italy.
back to milan- it was a city, city. lovely! wished i had shopped more and bought stuff there.. all the shops were saldi saldi-ing, while the rest of the shops in other parts of italy arent saldi-ing. gaaah. dolce and gabbana, gucci, etc. all the big names. milan is lovely, like the duomo it houses.
realised that niks and i have climbed many towers. strong legs, firm asses now? ready to tackle some realruns and armyhalfs.
in two days i will be going back to rome and then bangkok with eusoffboys. i cant say that i dont regret not visiting more european countries, but i did enjoy italy, and the diversity of this country. every city is different from another. the daily gelato scoops did help too.
by the way, michelangelo is not pronounced michael-an-gee-low, but mee-cal-an-gee-low.
we lost letsgo. and the postcards contained therein. apologies to shirlene and papamummy. and the various other intended recepients. ahhhhhh my lovely postcards!!!
wrote a motherlong post on uffizi and michelangelo and leonardo and food and etc. but vigorously disgusting internet logged me off for no good reason. now it is gone. and never coming back.
until i get internet and in a better mood.
haha i am so going to buy an italia shirt. being in italy when it won the worldcup is an unforgettable experience. like i said, we were at riomaggiore, one of the five towns in cinque terre, when italy played and won, so it was rather lowkey. nonetheless, there were fireworks for crying out loud. fireworks. like reserved for cny and nationalday and all. haha. and drunk flag-bearing italians hugging almost every girl they could lay their hands on.
been to milan, cinque terre and pisa. now florence. wow the leaning tower really leans! theres nothing else to say about that.. florence is so pretty, and charming. looking forward to see the arts and museums and stuff. touristy stuff.
i realised that we’ve climbed alot of towers. and trekked alot in cinque terre. hello like nearly 5hrs of walking. but still, i am fatty. haii.
okay you know how it goes by now right? roll your mouse over to see captions.
bologna for a day
venice was pretty, but it didnt quite capture me. too overrun with tourists i think.
i am getting tired of photo downloading into the comp, transferring to the harddisk, and posting onto flickr then this blog. grrraaaah. chore!
this time round, the leftovers of naples, and the subsequent days
i was determined that we would climb mount vesuvio and after 3 trying attempts, we finally did. third time lucky?
1. traipsing about pompei, the city ravaged by vesuvio herself, till 415, we missed the last bus to vesuvio at 330. okay.
2. decided a lovely late afternoon climb wouldnt be as scorching so we set off for the famed archeological museum in the morning, and after a 15minute walk, we were rewarded with a group on strike atop the museum’s balcony. well done, that was fun. proceeded to be lazy and having to run for the SITA bus, which, in our haste was not the right bus we could take. landed up in pompei scafati instead of pompei scavi. hence, missed the last 330 bus again, and had to walk a good few km to get to the metro. rumblings from mount sauyee. pompei-nikhil starts building protective shield.
3. had to check out of our lovely hostel, so we left our baggage at napoli centrale stazione. conflicting advice from lp and letsgo on bus times and boarding places. big hooha here. trained to ercolano only to realise there were a measely total of 2 buses to vesuvio per day and we had miss the first. continued train to pompei, all set to buy tickets when GG! no money and everything was left at napoli. trained back to napoli, retrieved backpacks and trained back to pompei to climb vesuvio WITH them bloody backpacks. take that. train rides are not like from city hall to clementi btw. more like from clementi to pasir ris. in the train fiasco, mount sauyee erupts, thankfully pompei-nikhil’s shield allowed him to escape unscathed.
vesuvio tackled, sorrento here we come. rested and then had a fantastic beachy day at amalfi, atrani, minori and maiori. had a glance at positano as well. it was a lovelylovely day. beaches!!! sun!!! water!! look at pictures. oh yes lovely man gave us a ride when we were lonelily walking to maiori. hahaha sauyee struts her stuff to get us hitched.
after beaching, we had to backtrack a little, to take our longest trainride ever, from down under at napoli centrale, to up north bologna centrale. and this was a crazy train ride! crazy expensive and crazy funny. 40euros per person. intercity, second class. here i present to you nikhil’s (and a little from sau)
“6 easy steps to rub shoulders with the affluent in italy”
1. board the intercity plus from napoli headed for milano. bump up to first class cos your carriage’s airconditioning breaks down.
2. get evicted from the train in roma centrale by skinny punks sporting thumb-sized ear piercings and crazy hairstyles overrunning the train you are on. the polizia gets involved. you are told the punks are ‘menushites’, whatever that means, or is spelt.
3. be a hapless tourist, look lost and worried when you dont understand the vigorous announcements made in italiano. get your intercity plus ticket signed on the back by some bigshot with a blue jacket and many tags at roma stazione, binaro 5, complete with explaination of your situation in italiano.
4. board the eurostar first class to milano at binaro 1
5. refuse to budge from the eurostar first class, reserved seats you chose.
6. enjoy as you fly past the green fields and sunflower clad hills of umbria and tuscany with no less than people wearing d and g and gucci shades, with huge diamonds on their fingers.
i forgot to mention that we got free coffee and biscuits cos we were in first class. that, and the conductor gave nary a glance at our ticket before stamping it okay. hehehe. fraught with troubles, we, the charmed ones, paid second class price for a first class ride. aiyah, dont be green. it’s overrated la. and it was kind of a rough ride, what with the punks, police and train hopping.
ok photos from rome and first day in naples.. will post more naples photos, later. especially after climbing mount vesuvius!! haha. whee. roll the mouse over photos to see description.
Espanyol? (shakes his head)
Mexicaaaan !!! (no!)
Indiano?(pulling at the white and blue tee – ITALIANO!)
And finally, the truth – (Nepal) NEPAL? BEACHES? ( no, no .. mount everest?) oh, oh.. (okay, at least he knows)
But never Singaporean. Why not? Is that somewhere in china?
When you travel Europe, you realise why the Americans are so hated here.
sometimes it’s not seen.
been to all the “must-see” rome sights in our past 3 days here. suffered from some jetlag on the first day, but it’s not so bad, except for the hellish heat that plauges italy in summer! and they say that it’s only going to get worse! haha. weird keyboard makes me type slower than usual. çé*°:§ weird symbols that arent meant to be in the places that they are.
i particularly liked the colosseum, and the spanish steps, oh yes trevi by night was lovely too. okay actually almost everything la. i just dont like the heat. really. i think the vatican and sistineàs opulence is so overwhelming you get immune to the sights after a while. not quite a lot of pictures to show for it, we ran out of film and battery at the same time. other than the standard piazzas and historical places, we actually saw a gaypride parade, by chance! too tired from walking the palatine and colosseum, and kaobeing the bus which never came, wondering why the road was blocked, suddenly spied a line of policemen and then the rest of the show came on. i was appalled by this damn fat woman sticking her hand into some guyàs white trunks (yes thats all he had on) on one of the ten floats which entertained us for about an hour. i mean non stop ball grabbing action, eek. it was colour, sounds and sweat. add some alcohol and smoke. nikhil will elaborate.
If you’re GAY and you know it, be PROUD. Opportune moment for the cameras to give up on us as well, hers with the cell and mine, with the film. If i was gay, i’d be proud too, after having seen the procession. Hell, i feel like half the italian men are gay. Especially the CARABENIERI. Just imagine the best of the CARABINIERI and POLIZIA having one mass orgy in the massive round bathtub seen in the Vatican Museum. Not too difficult. We could show you the tub, but not the policemen, apologies.
When you need to pee so bad sometimes, your brain stops functioning. And when your brain stops functioning, your mouth goes into overdrive. Add to that the heat of the Roman summer – not a pretty sight.