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The Trip To Italy 2016
Missus Bee <3
I returned from Italy! I have lots to tell you, and I decided the best way would be to take lots of photos and to keep a journal.
Please ignore that the journal also turned into a bit of anxiety recording tool for me XD I did enjoy the trip very much!
This turned out pretty detailed.

May 30th 2016

We woke up at home at around 4AM and my sister Katri drove us (me, her and our mum) to Helsinki-Vantaa-airport. I was really nervous about the flight, especially at the take-off. I even felt a slight panic beforehand that I haven't had before as I couldn't stop thinking of planes falling. But of course the take-off went just fine. When we were going up some Finnish kid yelled "The plane is falling!" and everyone laughed nervously.

When we arrived in Rome it was +25°C and cloudy which was just fine. Katri has been studying the map and guides a lot more than mum and I, which is good as she is a good tour guide. After travelling from the airport to the Termini railway station, she found our hotel without once looking at the map!

We found a food shop and bought some snacks. The hotel is okay, but our room's air conditioning failed to blow out any cool air despite that we tried everything with the remote. The toilet and the shower weren't from this century either, as the water pressure was so low, guess it's a Rome thing.

There are a  lot of lovely ancient ruins here! We got tickets for a tourist bus where I could photo everything.

On the down side, there seems to be a lot of trash on the streets, which apparently is because of constant public worker's strikes and ill managed services.

Another thing there is a lot, are American tourists - true to their stereotype you can usually hear them, before seeing them XD Everyone is carrying a selfie-stick which are being sold in Rome among with all the other tourist stuff near all the touristy spots, like the ancient ruins. 

In the evening we ate spaghetti and chicken until I was a bit too full! Italians like their first and second courses. We slept well in the hotel, except on the first night I angsted a bit because I thought I looked so round in all the photos of me and Katri told me I snore!!! The dress I wore coloured me blue, even though I washed it at home by hand just so that it wouldn't do that. Mum and Katri bought a bottle of some alcohol beverage which was 40%, and tasted horrible. I still drank a glass.

May 31st 2016

I usually can't eat a lot of breakfast, and the coffee in Italy is pretty strong! I am not wearing the blue dress today, because of the aforementioned colouring.  Instead I wore a salmiakki print dress and a blue flower on my head, even though Katri told it looks odd. No it doesn't! Shhh!!

We went into a restaurant and I ate a croissant, and remembered to pronounce it right, instead of the Finnish way. The flower didn't stay on my head anyway. We went on a tourist bus again, and then walked to Piazza del Popolo and visited the Leonardo museum which was cool.

On our way we saw an ancient ruin inhabited by cats! An American dude said "Dad, I wouldn't do that if I were you!" and seemed disgusted when I and his dad tried to pet one of them. I just went all "here kitty kitty kis kis" and it turned out the cat was really friendly! It just kept rubbing it's cheek against my hand and started flopping on the wall. I don't get it, you cat hater guy.

I can tell Italians apart from tourists easily. They walk and scooter about holding their phones and smoking.

We walked through a park being really desperate for toilet. There were only statues of some men, not a single woman.

We also looked at some shops and ate pizza in a restaurant (where we also found a toilet.) The pizza had prosciutto in it and was really good. My feet turned into mush a bit, and we drank two rounds of ice tea and wine at a cafe near the fountain where people throw coins  - luckily the guy playing accordion for cash which was annoying  disappeared after a while!

I forgot to mention that yesterday I almost threw an old chap on the head with a coin at that fountain, oops!

I confess I am bothered by a bit of a "Finnish nightmares" feeling here, I can't handle the aggressive sales situations when the shop people yell to us all "Ciao Madame! Water, water? Bella! Beautiful hats! Selfie stick?!" Another situation that causes anxiety is when we make some noise or talk too loudly by accident and people might notice us - in Finland it is polite to be silent and let people go about in peace. I miss my cat, and also have noticed I am culturally quite Lutheran, even though I am an atheist XD

PS: Katri told me to write in this that I took the best pictures, because apparently this turned out to be a whining journal.

PPS: I saw a missing ad of a Chihuahua with a 2000€ reward!

PPPS: Oh crap, oh crap oh crap, Katri's credit/debit card has gone missing from her wallet in her bag! DDD: We saw it yesterday the last when she bought train tickets to Venice from a machine, and today when trying to get more cash from a machine she noticed it's gone, and we have no idea how! We couldn't find it so she had to call to a Finnish service number and close it immediately. She had already saved that number on her phone just for this situation! How could someone steal if from inside a wallet and bag, are italian thieves so sneaky??? We also called dad at home and he checked her account, but luckily nothing was missing! The most logical explanation is that it fell from her unusually empty wallet which she had emptied for the trip - Katri was pretty upset with herself and shed a few tears which is rare, poor thing. Luckily nothing worse happened!!!!

June 1st 2016
Today we will travel with our expensive train tickets to Venice. We got good seats as we bought the tickets early. Bye Rome, hotel Siviglio's WiFi and the camp guy at the reception! Rome has a lot of history, but it could try to update a bit to present day in my opinion. Unsurprisingly there are americans sitting behind me on the train. Their R's reveal them without mercy XD

I got some Italian Disney comics for travel reading! We arrived at Hotel Henry in Venice and went to see the city, it is really beautiful and original here. We took a vaporetto (a water bus) and went here and there, and I took a lot of pictures. There are a huge amount of tourists, but I am not as bothered as in Rome as there is no motor traffic!

We ate in a restaurant that charged us a lot and we were quite baffeld as to why! Shock! The prices were pretty different on the menu and the check! I guess it was ok as the food and service was really good and we hadn't eaten anything the whole day yet, except I ate an ice cream (gelato) earlier which is really good here also.

We are at the hotel now, which is on one of the many tiny alleys in Venice. I am not as anxious here anymore, except about the prices and being embarrassed when in customer situations.
The owner of Hotel Henry is a hyper multitasker, take a breath, dude! Because it's so expensive here, we are all in the same room, but it's okay, I have earplugs (mum snores). In the evening we took a stroll at the original jewish ghetto which is very near. It was nice and calm there, but not on the bar area which was also near. We came back to sleep soon. Wonder how many people fall in the canals while drunk this night.

June 2nd 2016
According to television, today is Italy's national day. We are now on a vaporetto, going to Murano, where the famous glass factories of Venice are. In Italy "coffee" means a tiny a cup of espresso, by the way, we should really learn to order "caffe americana"!

I googled at the hotel last night and realised why the food cost so much at the restaurant yesterday, apparently here they charge according to weight of the portion, especially for sea food. So the price of say 10€, was only the price of 100g of food! Cheeky! We just stopped at the cemetery island, here even the bus stops are floating.

There were mostly glass shops in Murano as can be expected - an owner chap called Bruno in one of them tried to sell us all the most expensive glassware and thought the best way to do it would be to act really sleazy at us and then…to grope me!!! Ewwww, I was all, let's get out of here quick! I told mum in Finnish he's doing it and we left, but unfortunately I had already chosen a necklace before this happening and had to buy it. :pppp

We are back in the main Venice now and went into a cafe, where the women just ignored us. I'm not sure if our Finnish ways are somehow rude or are they just pissed off at tourists? Constantly being on a vaporetto is starting to feel as swaying even when on land. I ate ice cream again.

One thing we don't understand here is why can't we go into a restaurant to just sit and drink wine/coke and eat some desserts and ice cream. Maybe it's not productive enough? Maybe it's somehow rude? We have been turned back a couple of times here already.

We are chilling at the hotel now. The shop was closed too, maybe because of siesta. Today has been somewhat quieter in general. We walked through the ghetto on our way here again, and in one window there was a cat we first thought was stuffed, it was so still! And on top of that, it was a Kitler! How…ironic, I guess? XD Next we are going
to go on Canal Grande now to sail back and forth.

We went on the square of St. Marco again, and there was a bit of flooding and several orchestras. It is quite a beautiful evening in Venice. We ate some pasta again and drank some wine and the local drink Aperol Spritz. I wrote a card to Spacefall, and I noticed the kiosk with the friends post box was closing up, and ran there to give the card to the dude. Mum and Katri laughed at me when I also ran back to our table in the restaurant.

I took pictures again and bought a dress too. We came back to the hotel and there's a dubbed Finnish film "Tommy and the Bobcat" on tv!

PS: My notebook had a bit of a water bottle disaster.

June 3rd 2016
I'm starting to feel like I want to go home already, I'm such a wuss.  I know that Finland doesn't have nearly as much amazing and old history, but I am feeling a bit anxious living in this big outside museum and "adult amusement park" as they call it. I would like to go back to normal environment with new houses and roads and S-markets and a few older houses here and there. And by old I don't mean a palazzo from 1362 but a wooden house from 1880's that miraculously survived various fires and demolishing verdicts. We are still chilling at the hotel, let's see what we will come up with today.

It's weekend now and seems like there are even more tourists here! We came to the art museum of Accademia in a vaporetto that was packed full. There are a lot of Bellinis, Tintorettos and other masterpieces here. Otherwise really interesting but I think this whole building is shaking!

The floor has been worn into several ups and downs by the centuries. I feel quite anxious here and had my first real attack since the plane. I am sitting down now and trying to calm myself and not think of the building sinking/collapsing/falling to pieces. Somehow the religious subjects of the art are not really helping. I hope the art downstairs is more secular.

There was a book printing exhibition, aw yiss! It was beautiful. We will sit down for a while now and then go back and forth the canal again. There was an amusing text in the guest book in the gallery. I took a picture.

Otherwise fine, but I miss oat porridge and rye bread. And sleet.
-Johann Wolfgang Alexander Von Jaatinen
Anno Domini 2016 On the Last day of May

We're sitting at a tourist cafe again and are going to eat prosciutto bread soon. We also saw the place where Mozart staid in Venice when he was on his tour and climbed (on an elevator) in the bellfry of one of the churches, where we got some awesome views. We also saw nice art shops on our way.

In the evening we took a small tour and ate, but I'm getting tired already. Tomorrow is home time, yay!

PS: Here even Gordon Ramsay is dubbed, what the hell?!! (Yout should maybe know that back at home everything is subtitled on TV except kid's shows XD)

June 4th 2016

Today we should get into the airport and the plane and then home. The tourist masses of Saturday are something shocking. The vaporetto was packed full of people with luggage and I was really anxious. On top of it, it was raining and thundering during the midday when we left the hotel and the air is humid and hot. I'm in hell.

Luckily we got out of the railway station and bus station area and are now sitting on a quiet street in a small cafe, I'm waiting for my chicken and chips. It's still several hours until airport, and the plane will take several hours too, it's awful to wait but I guess we must find some amusement. I also saw a missing advert of two little kitties, the other was white and the other siamese type! :C

We sat on a square for a while and now are having more ice cream.  The sun started shining warmly and we dried our stuff a bit. An accordeon dude started playing "O Sole Mio" which I found very fitting and charming.

Aw yiss, we made it to the airport. There are still four hours until the flight, so we are super early but I don't care. To pass the time I could list some details of the trip.
Tourist buses
Mad driving

Turqoise lagoon
Not a lot of locals in the old town
The sales people are foreign
The boats have their own traffic signs
A church tower that is leaning
Artists wash their equipment in the canal
Tourist boats
Lot's of dogs being walked
Invisible mosquitos
Old town difficult for wheels

At last in the plane which is a bit late! Helsinki-Vantaa, please. I'll try not to panic this time.

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Sorry to hear you had so much anxiety on the trip, but your photos are amazing. :) I'd love to visit Rome sometime. The masses of tourists do sound sort of unpleasant, though. It's interesting that they won't let you just sit in a restaurant and drink wine or eat dessert -- I guess they don't like to waste a table, if there are so many tourists that they could be serving whole meals to?

Anyway, I love all the pictures and your sketches. All those masquerade masks are amazing. And I'd heard there were a lot of cats wandering around Rome -- I guess it's true!

I read all the way through and looked at all the pictures - I think Rome and Venice are too busy for me, I'm not brave enough to face the crowds there. Helsinki is nice and compact with not too many tourists, at least in the middle of winter. :D

I had such a good time looking at all the pictures and reading about your trip. I'm sorry you had so many anxiety problems. If I felt like the building was shaking, I guess I'd be anxious too! I had to laugh, because I took many of the same pictures you did when I was in Rome years ago. Spanish Steps, Fountain of Trevi and all. I guess some things don't change. I was there in early spring, so there weren't so many people, so that was a good thing, although it was pretty cold.

I really loved the pictures of Venice. I've never been there. The carnival masks were fascinating and all the canals.

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us!

I read through the post, re-living my own visit to Rome and Venice (only I also had Florence on my list) some eight years ago. Some things have changed, certainly no selfie sticks back then! But lots of what you said resonated with my memories vividly. Loved all the pictures, they capture both places really well, I felt.:)

I've been thinking of going to Venice for a few months next year, just to live in Italy for a bit - I have a dear fandom friend who was born and raised in Venice - but I must say, my sweet fantasy/tentative planning took a bit of a hit when I was reminded just how un-Italian Venice can get. You've got that right, I think.

I hope you look back at the trip with fondness and the anxiety you felt at various moments is remembered only as a distant blurred shape in the background. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed visiting Italy with you.:)

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