Wow, its been an eventful few days since we jumped off the boat in Bari, Italy last week. It started off with a train ride to Rome, melting for the next couple of days, a stopover in Florence for a night and now a coupe of days on the beach. Italy has been a blast. I understand the people better than I did in Greece, but so does everyone else. It is a bit of a tourist trap. The place is packed with tour groups taking pictures, and here I'm just one of them. It seemed like in Greece there were less Americans wandering the streets and more Greeks. Every other word you hear is English. I guess that means I've made it to the best places. Rome itself was an awesome place to visit for a day; to see all the sights you've heard about for so long. We spent most of the morning in Rome at the Vatican, walking through the museum and the Basilica. The next day we spent on a treck to the ancient city of Pompeii at the bottom of Mt. Vesuvius. Again, it was an unbearably hot day and walking through baking ruins didn't cool things off. Nevertheless, it was still pretty dang cool to wander the streets, and peak into the houses. The day after we left for Florence on an express train. The is jsut what you think it would be; almost untouched by time. We saw the necessary sites like the David and Il Duomo and spent the rest of the day on tour bus that took us throughout the city. This morning we attended one of the local branch meetings in Florence. I had to concentrate to understand the members, but I understood about 60% of what they said. The church really is true wherever you go, and the Spirit transcends languages. This is the first time I've attended church in a place that I didn't know the language. I guess there are firsts for everything. After church we caught another train bound for Monterosso, one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre region south of Genoa. These five villages are built into the cliffside and form a protected National Park. That means there is little growth and the streets remain mostly the same as they have for centuries. The water is clear and calm, and the food is fresh. What else could you ask for? We've walked through most of the village we are staying at and will spend the rest of tomorrow on the beach being lazy.
Beard Update: As soon as my program wrapped up last week, I decided I would not shave until after I arrived home. I've never gone for more than a week with a beard so its a new and inchy experience for me. I've been tempted to shave it from time to time, especially when it gets hot but my Dad of all people keeps encouraging me to keep it. I've noticed that all it does it help me fit in with some of the Italians. I'm getting a nice tan, I have a large romanesque nose, a nice beard and I like to wear Aviator sunglasses which is the norm for 75% of Italian guys. I've even been asked stuff in Italian by some people in the street. Obviousley they thought I could respond. All thats left to complete the Italian image is a speedo and a cigarette.