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Day 8-Greece Sightseeing(Mountains, Markets and Monasteries)

Meteora, Greece

sunny 32 °C

Early morning, here we come. We woke up at 4.15am (Italy time, Greece is an hour ahead), and made our way to breakfast. As soon as we finished breakfast, we got our bags and waited in reception for about 30 minutes until we disembarked. I face timed Mum and Dad while we were waiting too. We finally got off the boat to the 29 degree weather. We drove a little ways to Kalambaka, through mountains with a little snow on top. It wasn't very cold, though. We stopped at a really pretty town in the mountains. Rachel (Our guide for the whole trip) told us bears and wolves lived around here. Luckily, we didn't see any. She also said the widows would dress in black so no-one made fun of them. They looked really cheery, though, I think they had a little too much Bakalava. Speaking of backalava, we went to a little cafe' and had a slice of it to share between the three of us, and I ordered a hot chocolate too. When our food came, I dived into the backalava, and it was delicious! After 4 bites, though, I was stuffed! The hot chocolate was huge too, although it was not literal melted chocolate! We walked around a while and there was so many wood carvings and the souvenir shop products were all wooden. They sold these bead bracelet things that you play with when your stressed. They were really fun! We boarded the coach again to Kalambaka, which was about a 2 hour drive. We got there, and there was these huge rock formations with the monasteries where the nuns and monks live (Monks in one, Nuns in another). There were a few of them perched on top of the big rocks. We stopped at the Meteora Restaurant for lunch (Meteora is the Region of which Kalmbaka is in). This was run by an older woman, Katie, and the restaurant was full of her family's trophies, ribbons, photos ect. Also, all the food was home cooked. We then walked around, because we had about 2 hours free-time. I got a snickers gelato too!
We then sat underneath a tree near a fountain for a little bit. We then took the bus to a Monastery called St. Barbara. We had to wear the long skirts they provided, and since it was hot out, I was boiling. We walked through the prayer room too. The nuns would wake up at 4am, and have breakfast before praying 'till 9am, then they would open the Monastery to the public. 2 nuns would work the tickets and gift shop while the others clean, sew, paint ect. After that, we went to St. Stevens. The views were really good too. After the Monasteries we drove to our hotel, which was in the middle of no-where in the bush. I liked it because it was cut off from everything else. Me and Grandy went down to the pool because it was hot out. The pool was so big. We were swimming around when Grandy spotted a small snake in the pool. Other people from our tour had just come out to the pool, so they saw it too. We called Management, and they came and came Grandy the scooper thing to get it out! We stayed in the pool for a while before getting out to get changed for dinner.Dinner was a humongous buffet, and after dinner, there was a dessert buffet too! After that we played Mills & Runs and Nanny won, again. We then went to sleep really quickly. Tomorrow is a drive to Delphi, then we go to Athens.

Morgan

Posted by Italy17 06:05 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Day 7- Overnight Cruise to Kalambaka, Greece!

Ancona, Italy and the Adriatic Sea

all seasons in one day 20 °C

Greece, here we come! Driving, through countryside, yet again, to board our overnight ferry to Greece! We arrived in Ancona to sparkling, opaque, turquoise water! The boat was pretty big for an overnight ferry, as it looked like a cruise ship! We walked to the boat and went up the escalators with steps, with all of our luggage. I hurt myself three times on this escalator, lugging 3 weeks of clothes, souvenirs and my backpack proved to be extremely difficult! We finally made it and got checked in. We were one of the last to get our keys, and we were on deck 9 and everyone else was on 8, and right now we were on 7, so those people could've gone up 1 flight of stairs! I mean, seriously! We waited for what seemed like forever, until the tiny lift came! We came to our room, which was a tight squeeze, but it was cozy. We had a window too. We went off to get lunch, then went to the top deck to get a gelato. The cornetto's in Italy are humongous! We then decided to get the cards to play a vicious game of Mills & Runs, and I won! It was eventually dinner time and we were walking to the restaurant when the boat started to rock and me and nanny felt a little queasy, but then we got better. We came back to our room for another vicious game of Mills & Runs, which nanny won. I was so tired, I fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.

Posted by Italy17 03:41 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Day 6- Venice Sightseeing(Glass, St. Marks and Burano)

Venice, Italy

sunny 16 °C

Today we had the famous murano glass blowing demonstration. We took a taxi to a small island where the glass was produced. We went into the factory room where all the equipment was. The person who made the things out of the glass took a hollow metal tube, then stuck into the oven where the molten glass was. He came out with a blob on it. It was glowing red. He had 1 minute to work with it before it hardened. He blew into the tube and the blob inflated. Then, once it hardened, he sanded the sides to make it flat. He then pulled on the glass to make handles. It was a vase. Then, he walked over to the oven and put it back in to melt!!! All his work gone! Luckily, he then told us he was going to make a horse. I was like, "I doubt he can sculpt a horse, out of molten glass, in 1 minute".He was the second best maker in the business. His dad was the Chief. The glass on the stick then transformed into a majestic horse right before my eyes. It was awesome. He then melted it again!!! Geez, man. The director brought us into the shop/gallery to show us all the glass. I was sure I wasn't going to make it out without breaking something. We then walked into the room with all the glasses and cups. We sat down at the table where there was these really expensive things. I glued my hands to the chair. He started showing us all the glasses. He said it took 3 days to make 1 glass, because of the design. He then slammed the glass down on the table and everyone jumped violently. It didn't break! He said only pure murano glass won't shatter unless dropped on the floor. He started doing it with all the glasses, even the wine glasses. Then, the water cups came and he pushed the over and the rolled right back up! The glass set was something like $1700! Wowza. We looked around for a bit, saw a bit of lace and the Venetian masks. Venetian masks are basically really spectacular masquerade masks people wear during Lent to conceal their faces. The story behind this was, in the 1900's, people would get drunk, gamble, and other stuff the Pope didn't like. They told them to stop and they didn't. Then the Pope said as long as he doesn't see them doing it, (Stupid, right? Why wouldn't you just shut down the casinos and bars?) they won't get arrested.Anyway, they would where the masks and black cloaks and run around the city. This was something to do with sins, to that's why they do it during lent. We walked around Venice for a while while the local specialist told us about the history. We went by a an old girls' orphanage, where unwanted girls (normally under the age of 5) would get dropped off. They would get placed on a lazy Susan and were spun around to the orphanage never to see their parents again. They normally got the last name of Expose' meaning exposed. After the walk, we came to St.Marks square to get morning tea. We went to a cafe' and me and nanny ordred a hot chocolate, because it was cold outside. The drink came, and it was literally 'Hot Chocolate'. It was pure melted chocolate, that was hot, in a cup! Ihad a sugar-rush after. We went to St. Marks Basilica which was famous for the mosaic work. The whole of the Basilica's art was made out of teeny tiny little squares! St. Marks is the biggest basilica after St. Peter's. We then had a small lunch and boarded a boat to go to Burano. Once we made it Burano, we same that all the houses were painted different vibrant colours. And I saw Mr. Pines purple house! (Mr. Pine lives on White street with 50 houses all in a line, looked the same. He planted a tree. Everyone else planted a tree. He planted a bush. Everyone else planted a bush. He painted his house purple. Everyone was about to when Mr.Pine yelled "No!". So 50 houses all in a line painted different colours, Mr.Pine being the only purple). We went to a seafood restaurant to for a huge lunch. We then walked around and saw all the handmade lace. We then got on the boat back to the hotel to go to sleep. Today was so fun and I am lookind forward to tomorrow when we embark on our overnight ferry to Greece! Also, Happy Birthday Mum! Arriverdeci, Venice!

Morgan

Posted by Italy17 01:26 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Day 5-Florence Sightseeing(Academia,Walk and Leather Making)

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

all seasons in one day 16 °C

Today was our first and final day in Florence. We went for a bit of a walk around Florence before we came to a leather factory. They showed us how they put the gold on the products and the difference between Peruzzi leather and ordinary leather. Then we went to theAcademia. The museum of Academia is where most of Michaelangelo's works are kept. This museum used to be an art school, so some of the students works are also kept there. Kept there are the 6 prisoners, and I talked about those yesterday. There was one in particular that I liked, which, in my perspective, was one of a man trying to push a piece of marble off his head. Then there was David. A 15 feet, 4.5 metre, 8 tonne giant. The most celebrated of Michaelangelo's works. We walked the full way round this mass sculpture. The sculpture wasn't in the best shape, as it used to be kept outside and pigeons would poop on it, people would throw rocks at it and it would get covered in wax to make duplicates. Although, they did clean it and rub it which took off the shine.Speaking of copies, yesterday we went over a lookout and there was a fake David that looked like he had 'an extreme case of dihorrea' down the back of his leg! One interesting fact is the pupils in Davids eyes are heart shape to give him more emotion.After this, we hopped into the coach and started the 5 hour drive to Venice. I was really looking forward to Venice. We arrived at the mainland port then took a water taxi to the gondola port. The canals were just like roads; they had posts going through the middle of the canal, to make traffic lanes, there was bus stops(or boat stops) every so often and there was a garage for each house to keep their family boat.Then we arrived at the gondola port. This were really cool. Once we made out of the grand canal, it got quieter and we passed under small footbridges. We then went to St. Marks square for dinner and made our way back to the mainland by boat, to get to our hotel. Tomorrow we have a glass blowing demonstration and St.Marks Basilica.

Morgan

Posted by Italy17 03:04 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Day 4- Rome Sightseeing and Florence Drive

Rome, Italy and Tuscany, Italy

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Today was our last day in Rome. We woke up too early in the morning (5.30). We then went to St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is where the cardenials voted for the new Pope would go. They would lock them in and burn papers to make black smoke out the chimney. Then they would vote, and once the new pope had been determined, they would turn the black smoke white to show the city they have decided. The Sistine Chapel had many paintings and alfresco painted by Michaelangelo. Michaelangelo was a sculptor, not a painter. He lived in Florence, so when the pope called he said he could come to the Sistine Chapel to do about 40 sculptures. He packed up straightaway and left for Rome. He started every saint and then went back to the first few. Then the Pope told him he wanted him to paint the Sistine Chapel instead. Michelangelo was not happy; he hated painting and he was a sculptor. So all the unfinished works are called the 6 prisoners because it looked like they were people trying to break out of the marble. Michaelangelo decided to get some revenge. The Pope said he would pay for all the equipment. So Michaelangelo took this to his advantage, and bought the most expensive paint ingredients like jewels and emeralds. And lastly, he painted naked people on the wall. This made one of the cardenials really upset, so he complained to the Pope. The Pope didn't like him either, so let Michaelangelo paint them. He was angry with the priest for telling on him, so he drew him in the hell section of the heaven and hell alfresco. The Chapel was packed shoulder to shoulder and you weren't allowed to talk. So, if even 1 person talked, the guards would blow a whistle and yell 'SILENZIO!' After the Chapel, we went to St.Peters Basilica. This is the longest church in the whole world. Inside, there was mandalas and 12ft underneath them were the passed Pope's (you couldn't see them, though!). We then got on the bus for a 3 hour bus drive through the Tuscan countryside. We went through vineyards and olive trees and in nanny's words: "Just beautiful". We then stopped for a be our guest dinner at a thirteenth century villa. Thos villa had been in the family for 9 generations!!! They kept the house the same as it was when they got there, so it was old and medieval. The family grew everything and raised everything thing they ate; from Olive Oil to Chickens from Grapes to zucchini. The food was delicious! It was like a Sunday roast but Italian style. We got back on the bus, and by that time it was dark. Then came a dry lightning storm. The lightning struck over the vineyards so you could see it clearly as we drove through the small medieval towns. We then got to our hotel and fell asleep straightaway. Sorry about not posting photos. We are always on the bus or hustling out the hotel, so we don't have time to upload them and the bus takes really slow to upload them.

Morgan

Posted by Italy17 22:14 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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