Week 11

Boxing Day was pretty hectic because after driving back from Devon we had to finish packing up our apartment….and it always takes longer than expected!  Luckily we were able to store our things at Mal’s work.  It was all a bit annoying and a long story suffice to say that we would not recommend the real estate agents to anyone!!!!  But we managed to get out the door and to Stansted airport, return the hire car and check in by 4am in the morning…..all without Mal nor I getting even 5 minutes of sleep!

But even though we were exhausted when we arrived in Rome the magic of this fantastic city soon took hold (along with the gorgeous blue skies – how could we be so lucky to have this fantastic weather in the middle of winter?)  For the next 2 days we wandered around taking in the sights such as Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and The Colloseum.  We visited St Peters Basilica, the amazing Vaticanand The Pantheon.  We ate THE best pizza ever and had some great coffees and gelati as well.  Being just after the Christmas the already beautiful city was dotted with nativity scenes and Christmas lights which made it even more special. There was definitely heaps more that we could have done in Rome as it’s such an incredible city…..next time.

Instead we drove north to the gorgeous Lucca again and spent another 4 days there.  I think that I’ve said before but I LOVE this place and can completely understand why our friends choose to make it their home.  This time as we had a hire car we drove to some places nearby to Lucca spending a day in the hill towns nearby and a day in Bologna.

We were in Lucca for New Year’s Eve which was lots of fun.  We stayed in the apartment and ate gnocchi, drank delicious Italian red wine and played cards until about 11pm when we walked up to the free public concert.  It seemed like every resident of Lucca was out sedately wandering the streets – that is until midnight when calmness turned to mayhem and at least half of the crowd started letting off fireworks! Very different to Australia but lots of fun!

The following day we were off to an early start (but not too early to grab one last coffee from the brilliant little bar near our apartment) and drove up through the north of Italy and into Switzerland…..passing through about 100 tunnels and the most incredible scenery!

We arrived in Geneva about 3pm and had a look at the lovely lake but as it was both a Sunday and New Year’s Day we couldn’t find anywhere open to eat! Eventually we went to find our accomodation for the night but even that was a chore as it was just out of Geneva and up into the hills which were covered with snow.  Eventually we found where we were staying but still couldn’t find even a supermarket open so back into Geneva for some very expensive dodgy kebabs…..not that impressive after the beautiful food we had been enjoying in Italy for the week.

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