Onwards to Firenze!

After a few days in Rome we managed to secure a hotel in Florence (“Firenze”).  This was not an easy feat, as it was Holy Week and everyone and their mother was flocking to Italy’s famous cities.  But we found a cheap room and made it to the Trenitalia station bright and early, despite staying up waaaaay too late drinking and chitchatting the night before.  Hey, you only live once!

On to Tuscany (Toscano). Due to our pathetic condition, we didn’t get to enjoy the scenery on the train ride as much as we’d  hoped.  By the time we got to Florence it was cold and raining (these SoCal kids are NOT used to that!) and we were desperate for food and a nap.  Several pizzas and several hours later, we were back in shape and ready to go look around the slightly wet city. Florence had a lot more varied food options than Rome did, strangely.  We stuck to Italian food though; it was just too good!  Florence was much smaller and easier to walk around than Rome, but still packed with gorgeous architecture and history!

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Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

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The (fake) David, by Michelangelo, in the Palazzo Vecchio.  The real one was is inside the Academia Museum (Academia di Belle Arti di Firenze), but tickets sell out months in advance and we didn’t think that far ahead.

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Perseus killing Medusa.

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Battling the Minotaur.

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Ponte Vecchio, super old bridge covered in jewelry shops.

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Stunning view over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.

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Santa Croce

Tomorrow we’ll get to Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the most famous churches in the world, and climbing it’s beautiful dome!

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The Holiest Place on Earth?

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Our second day in Roma included the necessary trip to the Vatican City (“Vaticano”).  Since it was Holy Week, we expected it to be thronged with tourists, and it was.  You couldn’t walk five steps without a street vendor trying to hawk you a selfie stick.  Lines were long to go into St. Peter’s Basilica (“Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano”), but we survived all the waiting and pushing for a chance to go inside the world’s largest and most famous church.  After clearing the ticket booth and two sets of metal detectors, the line of people began filing up a winding staircase inside the Duomo. The church is one of the most famous work’s of Renaissance architecture, designed in large part by Michelangelo.  It wasn’t until we made it to the first balcony that we got to view the magnificent ceiling and cupola.  Believe it or not, this entire ceiling is not paint, but a mosaic!

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After getting up close and personal with the amazing mosaic interior, we continued upwards.  The stairs got steeper and narrower, with the outside walls even tilting in on us.  I’m not normally a claustrophobic person, but the tight spaces and the slowly plodding line made this trek a little nerve-wracking!  I was really glad when we finally got outside at the top!

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The view over the rest of the Vatican and out into Rome was stunning!

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After taking pictures and buying some postcards from the rooftop gift shop, we headed back down 500+ stairs to go inside the cathedral.  So much ornate sculpture and artwork it was overwhelming!

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One could easily spend hours navigating the interior of St. Peter’s but by this time our crowd tolerance was wearing thin.  We headed outside, past the Swiss Guards, and off to a well-deserved lunch!

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The Backpacker Trail Through Antigua, Guatemala

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

As you may recall from Zach’s last entry, he was feeling pretty sickish during our time in Parque Nacional El Imposible.  Unfortunately, the day after our epic hike, I woke up with the same bug, and he woke up with the beginnings of a mysterious rash on his hands and feet.  So we were definitely in fine form when we got onto the backpacker trail through Antigua, the beginning of our brief stint in Guatemala.

The afternoon we pulled in, I did nothing but lie in bed and feel miserable.  What a lame-o.  The next morning I pulled myself together enough to walk around a tiny bit and take some uninspired picture of the old city.

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua
I think the Spanish really liked the color yellow.

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua
The Cathedral

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

Every time we went into a church we had to sit down inside to rest.  This picture characterizes how we were feeling:

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua
Blech.

Fortunately by the end of the day I was starting to feel much better.  Not so much for Zach.  His rash had spread to his face and was getting worse.  Stay tuned for his story of how we ended on the backpacker trail through Antigua…

If you enjoy this post about the backpacker trail through Antigua then the check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Cuzco Free Walking Tour – Peru’s Inca City

Cuzco free walking tour

Loki Hostel a daily Cuzco free walking tour.  The tour takes you to some of the famous sites around the city, as well as a couple cool restaurants that the hostel is promoting.  The first stop was a free vegetarian restaurant owned by an Indian family.  They ask for a donation that goes to feeding poor children in nearby small villages.  We sampled the food and they told us about how to volunteer to help feed the kids.  We are trying to go do it before we leave Cuzco.  Next we walked to the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco’s famous square.  From here you can access many famous churches and restaurants.  The flag of Cuzco is actually rainbow stripes, causing many people to mistake it for the gay pride flag!

Cuzco free walking tour

After the plaza, we walked to the Museo do Cacao where they let us sample cacao-leaf tea and showed us where chocolate comes from.  We also sampled the “aji” (spicy) chocolate and the dark, which were both amazing.

Cuzco free walking tour

Next, we walked down an old alley; on the right was a wall built by the Incas.  The Spanish had knocked down the top of their building, but the bottom 10 feet or so remained.  The blocks were huge, some a couple feet wide, and fit together perfectly (you couldn’t fit a piece of paper between them).  The best part was that every rock was a different size and shape, the coolest one having 12 sides.

Cuzco free walking tour

Another cool part of the tour was playing with an alpaca and a vicuña!  The vicuña thought our blonde hair looked similar to the grass they eat in the wild.  Thus we kind of had to watch out to not get bitten on the noggin!

Cuzco free walking tour
Vicuña
Cuzco free walking tour
Alpaca!

We spent the end of our Cuzco free walking tour at the food market, satisfying our appetites with seafood soup and beer smoothies!!!  All in all, the Loki free walking tour was a great time!

Enjoy this post about Cuzco free walking tour ? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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