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TUSCANY CALLED MY NAME

Eva Kylstra

Hey, Well I've made it back to Amsterdam in one piece. It's a little overwhelming to be checking my email when there is absolutly no limit on how long I can stay on. I don't know where to begin sorting through the heap of unreplied messages!
eva

Well for this little trip it all really started in Nice . After my first bad exprience looking for a hostel and hopefully my last, I've now resorted to calling the day before I get there! After Nice, Tuscany called my name. The hostel I stayed at was in a town even smaller than Alexandria, you've got love small town mentallity. Absolutly beautiful there, I borded in a 16th century manor, I swear the owner was there when it was built!

A day in Sienna , my first expirience with the open air museumness of Italian cities. It's all tourists, I swear there's not an Italian to be seen. It was a bit off putting but once I got off my high horse and joined in the sightseeing I began to understand why the tourism. Sienna really has the feeling of a city which is still back in the 16th century, the streets and houses with old convents and churches everywhere. Wow! I was lucky enough to bump into a very genuine American girl to hang out with for the day, that sort of thing seems to happen a lot when your on your own, only you're extra lucky when it's the type of person that you still like at the end of the day.

BACKPACKER-HEAVEN IS ALL PINK

I also paid a 3 day visit to Florence which proved to be not such a sucess. I was hailed on in the middle of a sunny day, and caught the flu of which I still haven't been able to get rid of. Otherwise, yet another open air museum.
eva in florence

Beautiful!
Heading down to the ferry port, I stopped in Naples for a couple of days only to litrally run into an Australian boy I had already seen twice during the year. To my embarrasment I still didn't know his name but it turns out he was in the same boat. Very strange!

Greece hey! I always thought Greece was out of my reach but when your so close and the ferry fare is included in your interrail ticket, why not? This is where I was to meet up with someone going in the same direction as me. An American girl called Erin was on the ferry going to the same place on Corfu as I was so why not go together!? Greece was absolutly beautiful! The water was so clear it felt as though you could see the bottom even when you were in the middle of the ocean. We took advantage of the calm seas by going kayaking, hiring kayaks from our ridiculously over-sized hostel. It was more of a club Med for backpackers. Just a huge Pink complex of restourant, bar, tennis court, volley-ball court, basketball court, accomodation for 850 ppl, car hire, boat crusies, their own club/disco, kayak hire, private beach and lots of other backpackers. The worst part is that it's all PINK!!!

We had a great time though, a highlight being the scooter hire, we had a convoy of 7scooters and 2 cars crusin' the island of Corfu . We must have been damn noisy!
eva

To burst my bubble of the backpacker heaven the room key sucessfully demagnitised my bank card putting me in a potentially troublesome situation. Luckily I had Erin coming to my rescue whilst my mother dearest reactivted my trusty ANZ account. Where would I be without my loyal parents?!.

We were lucky enough to be there for the greek easter. They have a very interesting way of celebration the resurrection of Jesus. Fire crackers constantly going off, smashed plates eveywhere along the road and a lot of Ouzo. The festivity carried on for a few days, wherever we went they never failed to amaze us with their, what must be, enormous store of firecrackers.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT JIMMY HAD BEEN TELLING THEM

BUT IT WAS GOOD

After getting used to the lux trains of Italy it was a real culture shock to board a greek train. What do you call a station? Well there it's people standing along the track with no visible sign of a station to be seen waving there arms. Gutsy I reckon.

Then it was down to the serious business of island hopping for a week. Santorini (Thira) first and then on to Ios . Both very interesting for different reasons. We managed to get ourselves into a bit of a pickle when we decided to go to "that church up there". With no map, two bottles of water and mini skirts we decided to tackle what turned out to be the highest point of Ios. Always going "just a little bit further" we managed to reach the top before sunset only to realise how stuffed we were if we wanted to get down alive. 

The view was breathtaking from up there, the little town looked really little now. We began our steady decent taking a different route to the one we came up on, a more direct one. Bad move! It turned out to be more a rockclimbers decent then a walking one, and in the dark that can get awfully tricky. After approx. 3hrs of that we were thoroughly disheartened when we spotted a street light....at the bottom of an even steeper decent. Twisting ankles, spraining knees, being attacked by 5cm long thistles we managed to get ourselves close enough to see the road. Now the only thing between us and civilization was a 3m cliff, even better, it was made from dirt. My attempt to climb down was soon replaced by falling down, resulting by almost being run over by the islands one and only taxi. I don't even want to begin to imagine what he was thinking. With Erin stuck on the top almost wetting herself laughing we still had a problem. She solved that. If you imagine spiderman clinging on the buildings and suddenly losing his grip, then that's what Erin looked like. She even landed on her damn feet. All this and we were even in time for our dinner reservation! 

game
Sadly we had to say good-bye to Greece to return to Italy. Erin and I went to see Jimmy (an aussie boy we met on Corfu) in Rome , it was madness, we were treated like royalty the whole time we were there, by everyone, even the owner. I don't know what Jimmy had been telling them about us but whatever it was it was good! The camp ground it's self was pretty normal, lots of older couples holidaying.

A couple of tour groups with some alright people, but man, I don't know how anyone can stand travelling around Europe with such a regimented timetable! I'd go mad. Other than all that our time there was very well spent, chilling, going into Rome, swimming and eating exquisit meals, (we even got a banquet of home-cooked food!), it was hard to leave, to get used to paying for accomodation again.

THEY EVEN CAME IN WHILE SLEEPING

Then we moved on the Venice which turned out to be a rather strange expirience in it's self. After exploring the city by getting lost and found about 10 times we had had enough of being tourists so back to our convent for the 10pm lights out curfuew! Can you believe it, they even came in and closed the windows so the 30 girls sleeping in the orphange style room wouldn't get a chill. They meant well but it was a bit of a culture shock after all the other hostels. After being graced with a 7am wake up call from the now not so cute nuns we discovered that another day in Venice was on the books due to a national transport strike. 

Filling in the day was no problem though. By now, due to lack of funds and just a bit of fun, we had resorted to having picnics for meals rather then eating out. Easier said then done in a city with limited grassy patches. Well, with Erins keen eye we soon sco! ped out what we thought was the only grass in Venice, an apartment block's front lawn, we figured if they wanted us away they'd soon let us know. Well they did the complete opposite! We were graced with an all Italian dish of homemade gnocchi! Yum! 

The rest of our Italian days were spent in a garden which we had somehow overlooked earlier, and let me tell you, theres plenty of very weird sorts hanging out in the parks there, my mind is forever scarred from that day!!

After meeting up with Sean Murphy (a friend from school), in Salzburg I returned to Amsterdam to get myself reorganised for my next adventure. Hope I haven't bored you too much, and sorry it's taken me so long to write.
I hope everything is well with whatever it is thats keeping you occupied these days!
berlin
Lots of love, Eva