We have had quite a time coming to Italy! I came with a group from work (Tonya - my roommate and Tom - the programmer at work) for a Distance Education conference. While we came for the conference, we decided we should spend a few days seeing the country as well.
Beginning the Trip
We started by missing our connecting flight in New York. Then when we arrived on a later flight to Rome, our luggage didn't make it and the Italian airline didn't know when it would arrive. We decided to go ahead and go on to our trip like we had planned. When we got to the main bus station, we got to our track and boarded the train. By the time we got to our car in the train, I noticed every pocket on my backpack had been opened and all of my cash was gone. Oh wow. The trip was not starting out so well.
La Spezia/Cinque Terre
We went on a three or four hour train ride to a smaller town called La Spezia and went to these five towns (Cinque Terre) that are built up on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Wow the water was so beautiful! It was so blue! We spent one day there and then we had to go to Pisa to pick up our luggage from the airport there. So we then went to see the Leaning Tower. It was leaning alright...We got home late and then we got up the next morning (Sunday) and went looking for the church. It was a good thing we left when we did (2 hours before it started) because we barely arrived on time. It was a branch of about 40 members and it was nice to be at church. We went back to Cinque Terre that afternoon and enjoyed being out in the beauty of nature and being able to see how people lived and built their homes and livelihoods on a bunch of cliffs, including planting their gardens and their grapes.
Then we went to Venice, Orvieto, and now we are in Rome, so I will have to post some more when I have more internet. I feel like our trip is going quickly. We are constantly on the move. We have stayed mostly in Bed and Breakfasts and they really have been nice. I have been really impressed. While we are at the conference in Rome, we are staying at a very classy hotel. We sort of feel out of place because it is so nice. I will have to post some pictures when I can too!