After leaving Rome the group took a train to the coastal region called Cinque Terre (meaning five towns). We stayed in Riomaggiore the southernmost of the picturesque towns. The town consisted of bright buildings that were stacked up against a steep hill that dramatically plunged into the Mediterranean Sea below. The water was dark blue and crystal clear. The breathtaking beauty and laid back life style made it one of the most enjoyable places I have ever been too. We spent a lot of time lounging on the rocky beach and swimming. One day we rented a little motor boat and drove down the coast line to a beautiful cove with a waterfall. The next day we hiked to some of the other towns passing through beautiful coastline, vineyards, orchards, and forrest. It was so hard to leave Cinque Terre. We are now in Florence staying with some of Amanda’s friends from school who are studying here. Yesterday we took a day trip to Venice. We saw the Rialto Bridge, San Marco Square, and took a Gondola ride down the Grand Canal by the Doge’s Palace. Today we spent sight seeing in Florence and plan on doing the same tomorrow. Can’t believe the trip is close to coming to an end!
On Thursday morning Emily, Amanda, and I took the train from Delft to Eindhoven to catch our flight to Rome. In Rome we met up with Amanda’s high school friends Shelby and Allie. The first night we went to Piazza Navona and had dinner and a few drinks. It called it an early night because we ha a long day or sight seeing. Much to our dismay their was a strike going on which shut down the Metro and a lot of tourist attractions, including the Coliseum. But we were still able to make to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon. That night we went on a pub crawl which made for a fun and wild night. It was sad to leave Delft but I am loving the weather in Italy!
After leaving Brussels, we caught a train to Munich (or Munchen as the Germans say). We arrived late Thursday night and only explored far enough away from the hotel to find what I have decided is the most delicious beir hall in all of Germany. We again got lucky with beautiful weather the next morning so we made the short trip to Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps. We got of the train in the town of Fussen where we picnicked on the banks of a river in the foothills of the Alps, a beautiful setting. We then ventured on to the village of Hohenschwangau, then up the mountain to the castle. It was quite the trek but absolutely worth it. The mountains the castle rest on are some of the most beautiful I have seen (and still snowcapped in June). The castle is situated on a steep river from the mountain tops above with powerful waterfalls and beautiful pools. I was hoping to be able to swim in this gorgeous valley but the water was completely snowmelt and unbearably cold to even stick your feet in for too long. The castle itself rivaled the surrounding natural beauty. It is inspriation for Disney’s sleeping beauty castle. Each room inside is themed after one of Wagner’s operas. It was truly amazing. The next day we wandered into Marienplatz, the heart of Munich. It was swarming with people and after lunch Ben, Nathan, Amanda, and I met up with my high school friend Bess Rystrom and her friends who are studying in Munich. We went to the famous Hofbrauhaus bierhall, one of the oldest in Germany. We then went down to the river and enjoyed the great weather. The group then went for some delicious dinner and watch the soccer match. The bier hall we had been going to gets pretty rowdy so it was fun to mix it up with the locals. I am now back in the Netherlands getting ready for the last week of class! Pictures to come soon.