One week. That’s all it’s been since I last posted. Yet I feel like it could’ve been a month. Let me clarify, it’s not that the trip is dragging on, it’s that every hour we are seeing something completely new, each day we venture somewhere else. As I write I see vineyards rolling by, green shutters flung open as we whiz by small Italian towns on the way from Venice to Lake Como. Life is good and like this two-hour train ride, the view is changing fast and it’s hard to keep up.

Chrissy and me riding bikes on the walls around Lucca

In the spirit of trying–since my last post–here is where we have been (pay attention, you don’t want to miss the cities rolling by). We left the paradise of Positano, headed north to Lucca, then traveled back east to Florence, up to Venice and are now steaming ahead to Como. And I used to think that the three hour trip from Chapel Hill to the North Carolina coast was a busy travel day.
Each has been spellbinding in its own way. I loved Lucca for the same reason I love Carrboro. It’s off the beaten path, less touristy but packs a bigger punch of life. Great food, better people and a small town that is content in itself. Florence is what you’ve heard–beautiful, artsy and lots of tourists. Yet, the thriving study abroad programs in Florence make it seem like you’ve discovered your own college town abroad.

UNC t-shirt found at the Lions Fountain Irish Pub in Florence

The Venetian lifestyle happens at a slow pace of beautiful wooden boats, designer clothing, palatial hotels, blue skies and $10 cappuccinos. Needless to say, that’s not the life we lived–we stayed in a rundown hotel that was seemingly operated by the Russian mafia and thats claim to fame was that Allen Ginsberg might have stayed there (from the looks of it, they have not changed one thing since, evidenced by the carpets which appeared to have experienced one too many of those Beat generation parties). The day started off with a casual tornado (apparently we slept through it–ignorance is bliss they say) and continued with on-and-off rain. However, even through all this, I remain a fan. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to brag, “Hell yeah, I’ve seen the floating city, navigated the canals on a gondola and took touristy pictures in front of St. Mark’s square.”

The three of us in front of St. Mark’s Basilica

One last update as the train’s cogging has slowed and we lurch into Como. Coty, our long-lost friend, has returned! Her family generously put her back on a plane and told her to celebrate her grandmother through her love of travel. So for now, we’re doing just that…while trying to keep up with the changing outlooks and views as we speed through Italy!

Next up, we slow down (or do we?) and begin our work-stay at Tenuta Antica, a farm in northwestern Italy, for two weeks.