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Bye bye, Italy.

We spontaneously took this photo on our last day in Italy, in Rome, on our way to see some famous monuments and stuff.

We are in Berlin now. Today I bought pink Lego earrings and a vinyl compilation of San Francisco bands from 1985. Good times.

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Cinque Terre photos

We are currently enjoying our last 24 hours in Rome, but before heading out for an evening in the Trastevere, we thought we’d post our photos from our brief stop in the Cinque Terre.

If you haven’t heard of the Cinque Terre before, it is truly lovely – five coastal towns, connected by hiking trails, full of cute shops and good food and views of the Mediterranean Sea.

We stayed there during sort of an odd time, however. The official tourist season had ended, so a lot of places were closed, and there were only a few other visitors wandering around. Overall, however, it was well worth the trip.

Near our hotel:

Walking down the hill in the tiny town of Manarola:

The hills:

Jeffrey and boats:

Really really high waves. The waves were so high, in fact, that the hiking paths between Manarola and Corniglia were closed.

Anna and the Manarola hillside:

A hillside cemetery, spotted in Manarola:

The view from the top of Manarola:

Hey look, we found ducks!

View from our hotel room:

Sunset, as seen from our hike between Monterosso and Vernazza, lightened up in Photoshop just a bit. P.S. Don’t do the Cinque Terre hikes at night.

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Miscellaneous Paris photos

Here’s a set of random photos to round out our series of Paris photo posts.

The train station in London, where we got new stamps on our passports and a one-way ride into Paris:

The fountain on Place Saint-Michel:

The Notre Dame de Paris, of course:

We visited the archeological crypt underneath the Notre Dame, which was full of really freaking old pieces of ruins:

More of the ruins:

Hannah reading about the ruins:

Jeffrey made me take this photo of a super weird advertisement outside of one of the Paris Metro stops:

Arènes de Lutece, taken from underneath a big hallway with a roof (it was really rainy that day):

Just a super creepy statue, found in the Jardins des Plantes:

And simply Paris, on a rainy day:

And finally, Alexis jumps in front of our rainy and blurry photo-op:

Cinque Terre photos next! (we’re taking advantage of a steady internet connection while we still have it – who knows what Rome, Berlin and/or Amsterdam will have available)

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So many bones – the Catacombs of Paris

On our second day in the great city, we visited the Catacombs of Paris. The quick and dirty way to describe it would be as an “underground cemetery,” but that doesn’t seem to do the place justice. There were stacks and stacks and stacks of human bones, stacked fastidiously and with immense care during the 17th and 18th centuries.

As a museum experience, visiting the Catacombs was very unique – I don’t know when and if I’ll ever see piles upon piles of very old bones again in my life.


An underground stone sculpture, of sorts:

More bones:

We walked down hallway after hallway (all underground) of bones stacked just like this:

Graffiti next to ancient inscriptions:

Alexis in front of some inscriptions:

P.S. As we left, a guard searched our bags. Why? Because people actually STEAL BONES from the Catacombs. There were about half a dozen or so bones and a skull behind him on a table that he’d found in peoples’ bags. Seriously? WHO STEALS HUMAN BONES FROM A MUSEUM?

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Versailles photos

Our first full day in Paris revolved around a trip to the Palace of Versailles, where we saw both the Palace itself and the special exhibit by Takashi Murakami. We were joined by our friends Hannah and Alexis, who live in Paris.


Jeffrey and Hannah in front of one of Murakami’s works:

Old and new – an old work of art and regular piece at the Palace, and one of Murakami’s new pieces of art:

More Murakami:

The Palace and the garden:

More of the gardens. It’s tough to tell in this photo, but the fountain in the foreground is super creepy – it’s a goddess getting mad and turning the people around her into frogs, and some of the statues actually depict the turning-into-frogs process:

Alexis and Jeffrey in front of Murakami’s Oval Buddha:

Jeffrey and Anna in front of the lake:

Hannah and Alexis in front of the lake:

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Learning time

Two things we have gathered from our time so far in Italy:

1) When a sign says it will take two hours to walk from one town to the other, pay attention to that sign. Pay even closer attention if the path between those two towns is a hilly, rocky demi-path that will cause you pain and existential worry if you cannot see what’s in front of you. Pay the utmost attention if it the sun is setting, leaving you unable to see what’s in front of you.

2) You might have just transferred from a train whose ticket was attached to the one for the train you’re currently on, but that is not enough for the onboard attendants. Forget to read the fine print on the back of your ticket that tells you to “validate” (and don’t be told what “validating” means) and you will be fined an outrageous amount in front of a crowd of smug, Italian onlookers.

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Jeffrey is angry to be in London.

Enough said.

(Not really, he was quite happy)

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Florence, we have arrived

We awoke this morning to the sound of thunder and lightening in the Cinque Terre. We had been thinking that we’d spend this morning checking out Riomaggiore, but when a giant clap of thunder shook our cute little room overlooking the ocean, Jeffrey turned to me and said: “Let’s leave!” And I agreed. Exploring more of the Cinque Terre will have to come at another time, as it is a really beautiful place. Pictures to come soon.

After a flurry of train rides, we have arrived in Florence and settled into our private hostel room, allowing our electronics to charge and taking advantage of the steady internet connection before heading out again. Our hostel is pretty awesome – big room, friendly and helpful owner, convenient location. All is looking well.

In the meantime, here’s this:

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Paris photos will come relatively soon, but in the meantime here is a post to let you know we’re already crackin’ Mario jokes here in La Spezia. Although Mario is either from the Mushroom Kingdom or Brooklyn, based on who you ask.

We are on a train to Manrola, one of the terres in the Cinque Terre, after having just disembarked from two other trains with broader goals. It is the end of the tourist season around these parts, so I doubt we will have much to report besides a serious amount of lounging, which, in fact, suits us just fine.

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A typical cafe in Paris.

P.S. It is quite cold and rainy here, but we are having a lovely time regardless. Headed to Italy tonight!