Back in the USA: Some Observations on Being A Freak in Your Place of Birth

Helloooo from America, land of the free and home of the lightning fast internet speeds that have pretty much turned me into a potato chip eating, Netflix-binging shadow of my former self.  It’s been almost 8 years since I’ve spent a summer back in the motherland, and while my vacation has been a blissful combination of visiting with family and friends and enjoying some creature comforts like obscenely large jars of peanut butter and to-go boxes of food, I have noticed that in my absence a few things have changed.

Behold the ever-changing and constantly growing list of things that are now super weird to me:

  1. American toilet paper.  It’s like wiping your ass with kittens! How do they get it so soft and where can I buy some of this magical mystery fabric in Florence?
  2. The outrageously large size of the stores. They’re growing wider every day, much like my waistline.
  3. Potato chip flavors. Southern biscuits and gravy? I can almost hear my arteries clogging, but in the name of sacrifice and this blog I tried them. And by try I mean ate a whole bag and then hated myself for about 30 minutes afterwards. DAMN YOU, LAYS!!
  4. Space on the roads. Have we always had this much room in between lanes? The first time I got behind the wheel I had to fight the urge to swerve like a Mario Kart driver between lanes while shouting WEEEEEEE!!!!
  5. Strangers being nice and chatty with no ulterior motive like getting you to give them a discount or stealing your spot in line while you’re distracted.

Is it possible that I’ve turned into an Italian without even realizing it?  A few days ago I was walking around the city with my sister, looking for a place to buy a coffee and exchange some one dollar bills for coins to feed our parking meter when we passed a very unassuming shop window filled with stainless steel countertops and an empty deli window. I was about to follow her next door to an actual coffee shop when I spotted an espresso machine out of the corner of my eye, lurking behind a couple of bearded gentlemen who were chatting behind the counter.  “Hang on a minute, let’s just get a coffee in here,” I said as my sister looked at me a little strangely. I asked the guy behind the counter for a coffee and almost cried with joy when I realized THEY WERE ITALIANS!! AND THEY HAD ESPRESSO!! Turns out these two dudes were actually from Rimini and Lucca, respectively, and had literally just opened the shop a few hours ago for a prova (trial).  They were super sweet and gave me a free coffee which made me so happy I had to restrain myself from jumping across the counter and kissing their awesome Italian beardy faces.  Instead, I will thank them by shamelessly telling everyone who visits San Francisco to go to The Italian Homemade Company on Union Street.

It’s strange how out of place I’ve felt since coming back to America.  I never really considered Florence my home until people started asking me where I was visiting from and I realized that although I may have been born in California, I have spent the better part of my twenties in Italy, struggling to adapt to the habits and customs of a foreign country while simultaneously trying to navigate my post-college adulthood.  For better or worse, Italy has been with me during these defining years and has turned me into a weird half-breed of human that doesn’t quite belong in either place.  I will never be Italian, just like I’ll never identify with being just American anymore– it’s too late for that.  Anyone who has ever made a home outside of their birthplace can relate to this strange place in which I now find myself–dancing along the line that connects continents and cultures, learning to be content with existing in the space between.  Because like any good foreigner will tell you, at the end of the day it’s not really about where you come from, but where you are now that really matters.  Bonus points awarded if where you are now has extra-soft toilet paper…#AMERICA!

 

What It’s Like to Fall in Love With Italy

This post is brought to you by your favorite neighborhood blogging mafia C.O.S.I. 

So you want to know what love looks like in Italy? Well, my story might not be the most romantic, but if you’re interested in how a 22 year old California girl who’d never left home before studying abroad and eventually wound up living in Florence and dating a half-English, half-Italian bar manager….well, I already wrote about that here.

The love story I want to talk about today is my long-standing love affair with my city.  Firenze is the place I’ve called home for the past 6 years, and while there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way, there is just something about this goddamn city that I can’t stay away from, no matter how much I hate it sometimes.  Take this morning, for example.  I’ve been packing frantically like a rat high on cocaine for the past two days since I got the unexpected notice that I had to be moved out of my apartment by Feb.20th, not the end of the month like I’d originally planned. I’ve had little sleep and a jam-packed work schedule on top of this, all the while trying to ALSO pack for my vacation back to California on Thursday for one of my best friend’s weddings.

So needless to say, it’s been a stressful time in my household (Zola has taken to hiding in her corner of the couch, blissfully unaffected by the chaos around her) and this morning was no different. After being woken up at 2am to Francesco moving boxes out of the apartment, I had to be up and out the door for work at 7:30am. As I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes during my walk across the Ponte Santa Trinita, I realized that in the morning light I was literally the only person around. Taking cold sips of air in through my nose, I breathed out a sigh of relief and looked around me.

sunrise ponte vecchio
Sunrise warming up the Ponte Vecchio
empty streets by the ponte vecchio
Empty streets for miles…

 

Moments like this are rare with my city, but when it happens it’s enough to stop you dead in your tracks for a brief minute.  Without the noise, the traffic, the bodies and daily chaos of the tourists clogging up the streets, this morning was a stunning reminder of why I fell in love with Italy in the first place. There’s just something there that tugs at just the right place in my heart, kind of like when you eat a lot of really spicy food…oh wait, that’s not right. Well, the obsession with one’s indigestion thing (and also the need to publicly discuss bodily functions) is probably also why I love living here too.

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though sometimes Florence can be a real bitch, I also am really going to miss her while I’m away for the next two weeks.

NOT! I’ll be sitting by the pool in San Diego with a beer in my hand laughing at all my friends who are freezing their asses off.  Sorry I’m not sorry, guys. I really need this vacation.

A presto!

Xoxo,

Gina

 

London, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

The past few days I’ve been happily trotting around London for a training trip with work, blissfully unaware of the chaos that reigned unchecked in my absence from Italy. Case in point—my boyfriend’s mother, who tripped and broke FIVE of her bottom front teeth, or the bizzare earthquake that rumbled through Florence accompanied by several baby aftershocks. Friends broke up with their significant others, others quit their jobs, and I returned from the hustle and bustle of England’s most cosmopolitan city finding that in just a few short days, everything had gone ass-over-elbow instead.

Before we go any deeper into what happened in Italy while I was away, let’s start off by saying this—I was more excited about visiting London in December than a fat kid in line at a Las Vegas buffet. Have you guys ever seen that “Friends” episode where every 30 seconds, Joey blurts out “IT’S LONDON, BABY!”? Yeah, that’s me.

london baby friends

Anyway, the entire morning before our flight I was like a little kid at Christmas with ants in my pants. I must have taken about 20 pictures at the airport even BEFORE we got on the plane, which thoroughly embarrassed my co-worker, but I was just SO EXCITED. It’s London, baby. And then, I got off the plane and immediately changed my mind.

Here’s the thing—I’m a small town girl. I grew up in California, but in the suburbs surrounded by lots of grass and places to ride my bicycle. And then I moved to Europe, which opened up my mind in a whole new way, but still—I live in Florence. If you’ve ever been here for more than 3 months, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a small town, where everybody knows everybody else and you float around in your security blanket because there’s a pretty good chance that even if you do end up face down in the Arno, at least one person will recognize your disgusting bloated corpse after you wash up along the dams at Ponte Vittoria.

London, on the other hand, is a whole different universe. I stepped off the train at Victoria station and into a sheer madhouse of bodies all rushing past me, elbows held out aggressively from their bodies to check the never-ending tide of people crushing in around them. Shrinking back from the waves of chaos, I stood timidly in the middle of the train station, anxiously looking around for my co-worker, who was fearlessly charging ahead through the masses of people, confident in her knowledge of the city seeing as how she had already lived there and knew the ropes. I, on the other hand, spent the next 3 days alternately bemused, shocked and thoroughly bewildered as I attempted to keep up with the mayhem.

In the few quiet moments before the sky lightened enough to feel like daytime, I meandered through the neighborhoods near our posh Kensington hotel, admiring the classic white Victorian buildings and soaking in the English charm. This was what I had been hoping for, not the panicked feeling I got every time we had to brave the hoardes of people while taking the tube.

 After a whirlwind few days of meetings, parties and pubs, I was more than ready to be back on a plane heading to Florence.  Although I had enjoyed my brief glimpse of the city, the sparse daylight hours and stressful atmosphere of London’s city streets had worn me out.  And then, of course, I just had to go through security at London Gatwick and fall into the 21st century a.k.a shopping Wonderland, where not even the joys of getting felt up by the airport security lady could compare to the glee I felt when I saw all the mini travel-sized toiletries lined up before me.

Seriously, Italy–is it too much to ask to stick in a Boots or a Waitrose’s every once in awhile?  You sure know how to break a girl’s heart.

I’m not quite sure how I’d describe my feelings towards London after my all-too-brief encounter with the city, but I do know that I’d like to go back and continue exploring it one day.  For now, though, I’m perfectly content to be sitting on my couch at home in Florence with Zola at my feet, with a BBC documentary on TV and my Cadbury’s chocolate in hand.

Chiuso per Ferie: But What the Hell is Ferragosto, Anyway?

This post is brought to you by C.O.S.I–Italy’s most badass blogging mafia.   For more great stories from expats in Italy, check out our page here.

If you’ve ever been in Italy during the summer months, you’ve undoubtedly noticed those foreboding signs posted up in nearly every shop window–the ones that say “Chiuso per Ferie/Closed for Vacation.” Welcome to Italy in August–the shittiest or the best month of the year, depending on where you fall on the socio-economic spectrum.

chiuso per ferie sign

 

So what’s all this ferie business about, anyway? Well, listen up America, because Italy has got this one right. Every year, Italians take their paid 3 weeks of vacation time sometime during the month of August, or more specifically, around the 15th/16th of the month which is known as Ferragosto.  Because it’s hotter than a witch’s tit in the summer here (especially in the cities), almost everybody hightails it out of town and hits the seaside during August.  Despite the massive traffic jams on the way out of town, it’s the one time of year where most people expect you to do nothing but sit on your butt eating fresh watermelon and seafood and turn an abnormal Oompa-Loompa shade of tan.

Unless you’re one of the unlucky ones who have to work throughout the summer like me, obviously.  In which case you’ll be shut up inside your air-conditionless house until you have to go to work at the bar, serving cocktail pitchers until 3 in the morning to drunk, obnoxious Australians who roll into town on their Contiki tour buses.  Don’t worry, I’m not bitter or anything (can you SMELL the sarcasm through your computer screen??).

However, I will say that Ferragosto is actually one of my favorite times of the year due to the massive drop in population in the city center.  Despite the fact that it’s almost impossible to get anything done during August since no one is working, I still harbor a secret nostalgia for this time of year that has kept me in Florence for a record-breaking 7 summers in a row.  I very rarely take my vacation time during August for a number of reasons, including the fact that it’s one of the busiest times of year for tourists (and therefore very easy to make money) but more importantly because summer in Italy is one of my favorite times of year.

Even as a kid, summertime was the one period of the year I looked forward to the most, where the biggest obstacle in my life was figuring out which flavor of popsicle to eat that morning for breakfast and where I was going to ride my bike that afternoon.  Italian summers are no different–because I usually spend my summers doing odd jobs (i.e. bartending or waitressing) it means that I have my days free to indulge in whatever my heart desires, whether that’s meeting up for a leisurely lunch with old friends, impromptu barbeques on someone’s terrace, taking long walks along the Arno with Zola, and so on.  Because my school year is usually so hectic with work trips and late nights at the office, Ferragosto reminds me to slow down and enjoy the things you can only do during lazy summer days, like drinking prosecco at noon or watching an entire season of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix (yes, these are my summer priorities and I’m sticking to them).

So if you’re planning a summer vacation to Italy or you already happen to be here during Ferragosto, don’t panic at the thought of all those “Closed for Vacation” signs.  There are still plenty of beautiful little alleyways to stroll down, and that cafe around the corner will still be open in the morning so you can sit down, read the paper and enjoy an iced coffee before escaping to an air-conditioned museum or the cool enclaves of the nearest church.  And if you’re lucky, you might just get a glimpse of that bella vita vibe that makes Italy so irresistible.

 

Malta, Malta: Revenge of the Lamb Vindaloo Part 2

(Click here to read Part 1 of Malta Malta: Revenge of the Lamb Vindaloo)

As I lay on the cool tile floor panting, I tried to call out to Francesco for help.  I was so weak from the wrath of that little Angry Vindaloo Baby that had taken up refuge in my cramped stomach that I could hardly even sit up, let alone stand I was shaking so badly.  I placed my forehead against the wall and slowly caught my breath, leaning against the toilet for support.  What the HELL was in that goddamned sauce, razor blades?! I thought to myself as my stomach slowly unclenched, having expelled the wretched demon food as far away from it as possible.  In the next room, Francesco slept on, peacefully oblivious to the fireworks show taking place just steps from his bed.

Okay, if I can just make it back to the bed, maybe I can sleep this off, I thought to myself hopefully.  Let’s give it a try.  On wobbly legs, I somehow managed to stumble back into the bedroom, looking like a drunken squirrel.  I sat down gingerly on the side of the bed and crawled underneath the covers, laying on my side and trying to lay perfectly still so that I could will myself back into a dreamless sleep.  Eyes shut tight, I began counting. Okay, let’s just count sheep until you fall asleep.  One, two, three….uh, four…..five….oh no, not again!  This time I shot out of bed like a cannonball, scaring the living crap out of Francesco as I clapped my hand over my mouth and raced to the bathroom and slammed the door.

“Jesus christ!! What’s going on? Are you dying?” I could hear Francesco calling from the other room as I sat there with my head shoved so far into the toilet, it looked like it might as well have replaced my head.

“Yes, I’m dying, kill me now please,” I moaned in misery.  My angry little Vindaloo baby had gone full-on postal, and was now punching and judo-kicking the crap out of my insides.  I heard the door to the bathroom creak open, and then Francesco entered the room, one hand pinching his nose and the other holding a glass of water.

“Here, take this.  It reeks in here.  What did you eat?” Francesco said.

“The same thing as you!! How are you not dying like me right now?” I protested.

“Well, I didn’t eat the vindaloo,” he said thoughtfully.  “It was too spicy for me.  Maybe it was bad?” He looked at me questioningly.

“Oh, YOU THINK?” I said.  “Look around, buddy.  It’s like Vietnam in here.  Save yourself while you still can.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Francesco asked me as he slowly backed out of the room, shielding himself with the door.

“Yeah, just go.  From what I can tell, it’s gonna be a long night,” I said wearily.

“Alright, I’m going back to bed.  Good luck in here,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said sarcastically as he shut the door behind him.

For the next 24 hours, all I did was lounge around on the couch, drinking tea and eating saltine crackers while watching SKY TV in english and catching up on all the TV shows that I normally miss out on living in Italy.  By the end of my convalescence, Francesco practically had to drag me back out of the house.  “But, but…I’m gonna miss the end of Doomsday Preppers!!” I protested as he tugged me towards the front door.”They’re making a CATAPULT in their front yard! Come onnnnn!!!”

Once I had gotten over my food poisoning & remembered that I was actually in Malta to do things other than watch crappy television and barf everywhere, I perked up and got out my big embarassing tourist map and starting looking up all the things I wanted to do while we were there.  Francesco and I hopped back in the car and slowly over the week we began to visit all of the little towns along the coast.

In no particular order, here is a list of my top things to do while on vacation in Malta:

1.  Take a day trip to Gozo Island.

While visiting the several different towns scattered throughout Malta is great, I highly recommend taking a day (or two) and hopping on the ferry over to Gozo Island.  A greener, rockier version of the big island, Gozo’s history is steeped in myth–legend has it that Gozo is actually the same Calypso’s Island that Homer wrote about in The Odyssey.  And of course it is absolutely beautiful, which means you will probably end up taking an obscene amount of pictures like I did.  We ended up visiting the main part of town, Victoria, before heading to the coast to check out the Azure Window, a natural rock frame that was created when two caves collapsed.  After taking too many pictures, we hopped back in the car and headed over to Ramla Bay, one of Gozo’s most beautiful beaches that is renowned for its red sand.

photo 15
Exploring the old Citadel and the fortress.
photo 2-2
Peeking out from the rocks outside the Azure Window!
gozo 3
Enjoying the empty red-sand beach of Ramla Bay.

 

2.  Have lunch or drinks somewhere in St. Julian’s Bay

While Sliema, St. Julian and Paceville are all well-known for being nightlife hotspots, I’m not really into the whole “twerking in the club next to drunk Australians” thing.  Francesco and I decided to take an afternoon stroll around St. Julian’s Bay instead of indulging in the club scene–and with pretty amazing results.  If you’re in the area, I’d recommend hitting Ryan’s Pub, a typical English-style bar located just up the street from the bay underneath an Argentinian steakhouse.  Open for lunch and dinner, I gorged myself on a burger stuffed with gorgonzola and caramelized onions,while Francesco had the pork knuckle with mashed potatoes.  Set up on a terrace overlooking the bar, it was the perfect place to grab a late lunch before exploring the port.

photo 3

 

photo 1a

3.  Go for an evening stroll & a nice dinner in Mellieha.

Since the trip to Malta was part anniversary celebration, part Christmas vacation, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner one night.  All of my research pointed to Mellieha as the place to go for great food, so armed with a few restaurant recommendations from the internet, we headed off in search of a special meal.

Mellieha turned out to be absolutely gorgeous when lit up at night–before dinner, Francesco and I had drinks overlooking the bay and then explored down by the port before cramming our faces with seafood.

mellieha
Walking around the grounds of Mellieha’s Parish Church at night

 

4.  Get your history/culture fix in with a visit to Valletta, the capital city.

It’s definitely worth battling the hilly streets in and around Valletta in order to tour the capital city–there are tons of great shops, a big outdoor market right at the city gates, and tons of historic tradition.  A definite must-do is a trip to St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral–Francesco and I grabbed our audio guides for a few euro and enjoyed walking around the different chapels all dedicated to the patron saint of the 8 sections of the Knights of Malta, but the highlight of this church is definitely seeing Caravaggio’s stunning artwork The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, which takes up an entire wall of one of the smaller side rooms.

valletta
Sunset lighting up the dome of the Carmelite Church in Valletta.

 

5.  Take a drive to Ta’ Qali Craft Village and pick up a few artisan souvenirs to take home with you.

Housed on the grounds of a former RAF wartime airfield, the Ta’Qali Crafts Village is a great place to pick up some souvenirs from Malta while also helping out the local tradespeople continue on with their traditional craftsmanship.  From glassblowing to lacemaking, they’ve pretty much got something for even the pickiest of your friends.  You can also watch the artists at work in their studios, which I thought was pretty cool!

6.  See who can pronounce the names of the cities without sounding like an idiot. 

Sidenote:  Unless you speak Maltese, this is pretty much impossible–but it does make for some pretty entertaining conversations when trying to read a map, as Francesco and I found out when we were trying to get to the Dingleberry Cliffs (Dingli).

random malta

 

 

Malta, Malta: Revenge of the Lamb Vindaloo

gozo 3
Visiting the red sand beach of Ramla Bay in Gozo.

This past year for Christmas, I wasn’t able to make my yearly trip back to the States to visit family, so Francesco and I decided to take our first vacation together and go to Malta.  Yes, I know–we have been dating for over 5 years, but this was actually the first vacation we’ve ever taken together (not including visits to family).  Between our crazy work schedules and traveling and life things, it was nearly impossible for both of us to get the same amount of time off, but with some strategic begging & pleading with our respective bosses, we managed to wrangle a week away from Florence and hit the open road (or in this case, skies).

Malta is an island just south of Sicily, and categorically one of the most underrated destinations I hear people talking about when exploring the Mediterranean.  But hey, you know what they say–when Ryanair offers you 2 tickets to a fantastic paradise for less than the price of a fancy dinner at a restaurant in centro…then don’t be an idiot and buy the damn tickets.  Obviously.

We arrived at Malta’s Luqa International Airport to unseasonably (for Florentines) warm weather–somewhere in the mid 60’s (Fahrenheit), in the middle of December. Did I forget to mention that Malta enjoys about 3,000 hours of sunlight each year, nearly double the amount of their northern European counterparts?  Needless to say, the sunloving San Diegan inside me was definitely doing her happy dance as we walked off the plane and immediately shed our heavy winter coats that we’d donned en route to the Florence airport.

After picking up our rental car (and me getting used to the fact that the Maltese, like their British forefathers, drive on the opposite side of the road!) we headed off to St. Paul’s Bay, where we’d rented an apartment for the week for dirt cheap. Once we’d checked in with our gracious host and dropped our bags off, we immediately headed down to the bay to check out the surrounding area.

The view from our balcony...incredible!
The view from our balcony…incredible!

Walking up the road, we decided to hit up a local pastry shop for some pastizzi, a local specialty made from pastry puff and filled with various meats and cheeses. After wolfing down a couple of those suckers at only €1 a pop (as if I wasn’t already falling in love with the place) we hopped back in the car and decided to drive along the coast for a little while, stopping when we saw this:

photo-7
What an ugly view…

 

The clearest water I've ever seen.
Some of the bluest waters I’ve ever seen.

At this point I had already fallen in love with Malta–what’s not to like about cheap, delicious food and beautiful surroundings?  However, every vacation isn’t complete without a little drama here or there, and I was about to encounter my worst nightmare in the form of a little-known demon known as the Lamb Vindaloo.

Now, one of the greatest things about visiting Malta for an American expat is the fact that Malta is a former British colony.  Translation=English food.  And lots of it.  The entire week we were there, Francesco and I pigged out on all the stuff we can’t get back in Italy–pub food, fish and chips, indian food, Cadbury’s, cheddar cheese, etc.

random malta 2
Our suitcase aka Fatty Fat Kids.

On our first little exploration around town, I had excitedly pointed out a large restaurant with big black columns in front, and a decadent golden fountain in the window.  “Look, babe, it’s an Indian food restaurant!! We HAVE to go!”  After living in Florence for nearly 5 years, I get all kinds of excited whenever I see ethnic food because I pretty much exist on the 3P diet when I’m in Florence (Pizza, Pasta and Panini).  Luckily, F was born and raised in England so he is all about the Indian food and immediately agreed with me when I stopped to make us a reservation for later that night.

Our dinner that night was decadent–we ordered samosa after samosa, exotic dishes piling up on our table like offerings to the gods.  The climax of the meal came in the form of a steaming hot plate of Lamb Vindaloo, a dish so blood-red and spicy that I could barely choke it down, no matter how much I insisted to the waiter that “I love spicy food! No really, it’s great!” (Side note: my tongue was completely numb after the second bite.)  After consuming enough food to feed an African village, I sleepily toddled to my bed that night, cuddling my food baby as Francesco got ready for bed.

At about midnight, I woke up after a fitful few hours in bed.  Now I generally don’t sleep very well when I’m on vacation, mostly because I’m sleeping in a new place and it takes me a while to get used to the different sounds and feelings of a place, but this time was different.  It felt like a stone was sitting in the pit of my stomach, a tiny little angry Vindaloo baby who was about to make my night hell on earth.

Getting up from the bed quietly so as not to wake Francesco, I walked out into the living room to get a glass of water.  Sipping it slowly, I sat on the couch for a bit, hoping that if I could just fall back asleep again I’d feel better in the morning.  However, Vindaloo Baby had other plans, and before I could take another sip of water from my glass, I sprinted over to the bathroom and barely made it to the toilet before Vindaloo Baby unleashed the wrath of Montezuma’s Revenge all over that bathroom, and I puked up an entire 4 course Indian dinner in spectacular red and orange splashes all over the floor.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Malta:  Revenge of the Lamb Vindaloo.

 

Austria: Land of the Australians.

While most normal people tend to go to work on a Monday, I chose to go to Austria. And by chose, I mean I was bribed with offers of beer and shnitzel into taking a road trip with my boyfriend (i’m easy like that). I had just taken the last group of the summer semester down to Amalfi so I decided to reward myself with a nice long snooze in the car while we trekked up through the border of Italy and into the Austrian Alps. Until I was awaked by this ugly scenery:

Drivin down the highway

After a few hours, we showed up in the town of Hopfgarden, about 30 minutes outside of Innsbruck. Even I had to admit the town was cute–little houses that looked like they were made out of gingerbread, brightly colored plants hanging in boxes from the windows, and people strolling down the main street. Plus, it wasn’t 400 degrees outside, so obviously I immediately took a liking to it.

Our hotel, owned by Hansel and Gretel’s great-great-grandchildren, thrice removed.

The best part about Austria? It’s full of Australians! Apparently somebody caught on to the fact that Hopfgarden is a cheaper place to ski, snowboard, hike, etc. than neighboring Salzburg or Innsbruck, so they started carting in busloads of tourist on holiday. And I thought I was getting AWAY from tourists for the day…sigh.

After we checked in to our hotel, we set off to explore the area. Which took about 90 seconds, as the entire town can pretty much be summed up by one long main road with a bunch of meaningless alleyways attached. This is in no way a bad thing, because it left us with the rest of the day to do more important things, like drink beer and watch hilarious Austrian TV from the 1890’s television set in our hotel room.

And that’s the story of that monday I went to Austria. The end.

P.S- It’s summer, people. There are no students around and I am spending my days in the office talking to weirdos trying to sell me socks and stalking people on Facebook. There will be no interesting posts until the semester starts. Fair warning.