Still here...sorry. Internet access is expensive in Italy!
We had an amazing time in Nice. We swam in the Mediterranean, toured a candy factory, ate delicious food, took naps, and saw the new Harry Potter movie with French subtitles. It was, so far, the best part of the trip. I cannot wait to go back!
We left Nice for Italy, and we started out in Pisa, where we camped for a couple nights, taking time to see the leaning tower and visiting the perfectly preserved medieval town of Lucca before heading to San Gimignano, another medieval town with fourteen big towers all along the walls. In Lucca and S.G. I got to try out my limited Italian knowledge, and it was so much fun! It is amazing what a thrill something so small can be. One night I gathered picnic supplies from four different shops without a word of English. It was great. The last night at Pisa we played pool with some Italian guys, and that was another fun test of language skills...and pool skills: Bryan kicked their butts :-) In S.G. we stayed at a farmhouse, which was another language challenge because the family there didn't speak English at all. We got along okay. You can get a lot of meaning out of simple hand gestures, and you can get a lot of kindness by just smiling and saying thank you.
We left S.G. for Rome, where we ditched our planned campsite way outside the city for a really nice, cheap hotel in the city. We walked around the city at night and threw our three coins in the fountain, like you do. It was really nice. The next morning, Andrew and I left for Sorrento while Bryan and Christina stayed behind. We just couldn't stand the heat anymore and figured the coast would be cooler. We took the train down the coast to Naples, which was, in a word, disgusting. But we left right away for Sorrento, which was not so disgusting. It still wasn't what we were looking for, though, so we hopped on an interesting bus ride up over a high mountain ridge and down the windy cliffside road on the other side. After an hour and a half of nailbiting, bus-turning, scooter-passing action, we arrived in Amalfi and applauded the bus driver. Amalfi was gorgeous. It is a little town on a small harbor south of Sorrento, and it is famous for its volleyball-sized lemons and limoncello liqueur. We splurged on a nice hotel on the water and spent a day and a half just relaxing (and enjoying the local culinary specialties).
After our nice mini-vacation, we headed back to Sorrento to meet Bryan and Christina and Robert and to send Andrew o ff to London for his interview. We found Bryan and Christina okay, but just as Robert arrived at the train station, we later learned, the train workers went on strike. Just like that. So he was stranded in Naples. Yuck. We found him eventually the next morning and set out for a long and thrilling day at Pompeii, sans Andrew.
Pompeii was awesome. I know that's an overused word, but it really was just that. It is so much bigger and complete than I realized. The streets felt eerily empty, and when a nearby wildfire started raining huge black ashes down on us, we were a little alarmed, but it passed in the little breeze there was. It was ridiculously hot, but in such beautiful surroundings, who can be too upset?
The next day, Andrew came back and we explored Sorrento a little bit before a nice dinner. And yesterday, we took a six-hour train trip that turned into an eleven-hour train trip to get to Bologna. We walked around the beautiful city center this morning, and now we're in Milan, waiting for a train to Interlaken, Switzerland.
So there you go.
More news, and photos, as soon as possible.