Sunday, May 25, 2008

Europe Day 6 (Saturday)

We were insanely glad to get off this bloody Island. Venice sucks. However, Dipper was very excited about the opportunity to visit Murano before we headed off so, what the hell? Murano is the place in Venice where they manufacture/create some very nice glass sculptures/art. Some of it really is very beautiful. I must admit that I was entering a state of extreme jadedness but I tried to grin and bear it (I probably failed).

The trip there was yet another long boat ride that didn’t help our spirits. The highlight of which was me getting lectured by several old Italian ladies who knew very well that I didn’t speak Italian yet still decided to lecture me on my pronunciation of the word Murano. BURRRRRRRRRRAAAANO. God damnit. I hate Venice.

We stayed at the glass factory for about 35 minutes before deciding we really had had enough. To make matters worse, we purchased some lemonade slushies from a stand near the Boat-Taxi area and then got bitched out by them because we considered sitting down at the tables outside. No NO. If you want to sit down it’s a 5 euro charge. Fucking hell, seriously? I mean really? There was noone there! I hate Venice.

We finally got back to the car and paid our 20 euro parking charge. Finally getting back on the road we had to get fuel. Italian petrol stations don’t make any sense at all and it took nearly 20 minutes for us to figure out how to pay them and place the petrol into the tank. There wasn’t just a language barrier here, it just doesn’t make any sense. I hate Venice.

From here we basically drove for 5 hours. Venice is on the extreme East side of the continent and Monteroso Al Marre is on the extreme West side. It took nearly 4 hours on the Autostrada (highway) to reach countryside in Italy that was actually worth looking at. Dipper drove some of the trip, which was… an experience in and of itself. Manual transmission is not his favorite, so to speak. Most of this countryside reminds me of the parts of the drive between Sacramento and LA that noone wants to look at it. There were 1 or 2 slightly bitter comments coming out of my mouth from the backseat here.

Once we reached Monterroso everything changed. This place is fantastic. Basically a small town nestled in a Italian hill/cliffside that is right on the ocean. Not a lot of parking but we got the last spot in the only parking structure. Awesome! The car will basically stay there for 3 days anyway. Cinque de Terra is a series of 5 towns that are very close together. You can hike or walk between them as the roads are not particularly wide or frequently used for automobile travel.

We had a bit of trouble finding the place we had reservations to stay at though. We were staying in Manuel’s guest house, which is a place that Rick Steves (traveling tool) recommended in his book on Italy. We walked up an amazingly steep flight of stairs that the directions told us to get to the top of looking for house # 39. We found 38 and 40/41 but 39 was nowhere to be found. We ran into a couple of girls who had just gotten to Monterroso as well but they were not able to find it either. We ended up having to call Manuel and go all the way back down the stairs (with all the luggage) and then going up a completely different set of stairs that were much more epic in height up to one of the higher points in Monterroso. It was painful with all the luggage but WOW what a view. I have pictures and will post them soon.

We decided to go ahead and get showered and then go grab some food. We wandered around the city for a while before actually deciding on a place though. The ocean is gorgeous and not too cold, the atmosphere is really neat, and the prices are nowhere near as outrageous as Venice (I hate Venice). We finally decided to go eat at a small place that wasn’t too expensive on one of the side Alley’s of the city. Dipper had a great plate of pasta/seafood and Ryan and I had Pizza for 7 Euros. Yum.

After dinner we spent an hour wandering and decided to purchase some champagne for 10 Euros a bottle. We also wanted to check out this bar that we read was nice down by the ocean. This turned out to be one of the more ridiculous alcohol infused nights. A liter of red wine at dinner (it was ass, but…whatever), 1 shot of some lemon liquor at the bar + more champagne, then we went and slayed one of the bottles of champagne that we purchased without pouring any into cups while watching the ocean in the dark near our place. Good times.

We also got to watch the Italian guys that worked at the bar kick the futbol around for about 30 minutes. Its awesome to watch these guys who have been playing all their lives juggle the ball. We played a bit with them but mostly acted as someone to kick the ball back.

Good night for now!

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