Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Up Vesuvius

Because I am an alternative and fascinating non-conformist, I skipped out Rome on my Trenitalia odyssey from north to south in the country, instead opting to spend my last three days in Italy around Naples.

This wasn't anything to do with the city itself, which I didn't even visit - famed as the home of the Mafia and excellent pizza - but for the nearby living legends (well, dead and dormant at least) of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, just a short trip from my surprisingly excellent hostel.

I've never walked up an active volcano before, only dead ones like Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, and while Vesuvius doesn't have the lava pools and scattered ash of something like Etna, it was still pretty fantastic to peer into the crater and consider the inevitability of its next devastating and long overdue eruption. Even if the tour guide had to ruin things by saying we'd all know at least four days in advance and would not be dying today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free Firenze

It's nice to pretend you're not a tourist sometimes, even when your skin is 7,000% paler than the locals and the extent of your Italian vocabulary comes entirely from the first of two pages of key phrases that you hastily printed out before leaving the UK as a flimsy attempt to assuage your post-colonial guilt by pretending you were ever going to learn more. You didn't even make it to page two, did you? I hate you.

Luckily, it turned out my last full day in Florence coincided with several unrelated national holidays and local events that most tourists seemed oblivious to, but which were a great way to tick off some galleries and museums I otherwise would have felt a bit hard-pressed to pay for. There was also plenty of free fruit drink and chocolate milkshake available - oh Florence, you are spoiling us.

Sunday was my best day in Florence by far, more than making up for the initial disappointment I had when confronted with the mental traffic and pollution after spending five days in snow-globe Venice. Thanks to my friend Sofi having put more effort and passion into researching the Renaissance masters than my own minimal contribution (which involved tracking down the four namesakes of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the various museums, galleries and churches of the city on Friday), I was able to really appreciate the great sculptures of the Borgello and enjoy some rare proper food in the evening, without having to contribute to Florence's economy - take that, Florentines!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Venezia - The Venice of Italy

I've written thousands of travel pages over the last year, being paid to imagine what I think places might be like (or paraphrase what Lonely Planet said first), but if this new travelling lifestyle has taught me anything, it's that 70-cent carton wine is never a good idea. But also that you really do have to visit some places to get an idea of what they're really like.

Wow, who would have thought? Expect to have your mind blown with more original opinions like that one for however long I keep this blog up. I'm only writing this because you asked me to, so don't expect it to be good or anything.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hello there

Hello there, my name's Dave and this is my website place. Since I began this zany travelling adventure I've been inundated with almost four requests to set up some kind of blog to recount my adventures, so that's what this is. Obviously.

Here, you'll find fascinating overviews of destinations I visit, tours I take, dubious advice to help you get around yourself and borderline racist commentary on exotic cultures from my over-privileged, post-colonial perspective. But mostly I'll be aimlessly wandering about.