I'm going to bitch and whine about all the annoying, irritating, bothersome, irksome things about our trip.
1. Cigarette Smoke: Athens was the worst. At one point we opened the window in our hotel room to get some fresh air only to have smoke drift in from the cafes below. Sitting outside is a surefire way to have smoke with your meal.
2. Ugly Americans: I encountered them right away, and all the time. It started in Piazzale Michelangelo where some young (college age) Americans were carrying around wine bottles and drinking out of plastic cups. Classy. They were arguing about who the statue in the center of the Piazzale was. Ignorant. Stupid. Americans. It seemed like there were more of them in Italy than Greece. I'm delighted when people think we are English or Canadian. I don't want to be associated with all these stupid, rude Americans who think that the world revolves around them.
3. Smells: It seems that Italians and Greeks don't understand proper venting in bathrooms, so sewage gases come up through the pipes. Lovely. There are also some pretty nasty smells on the streets. Oh, and Europeans don't feel that deodorant or regular baths are necessary, so we got hit with a lot of body odor smells too. It seemed like when we were out and about it was either B.O. or cigarette smoke. One or the other. We couldn't get around without either.
4. Disrespect: Some churches and museums don't allow photos. My attitude: buy a postcard, it will probably be better than the photo you were trying to take anyway. If a church doesn't allow photos, then I respect that. It is, after all, a place of worship, and many times people were actually there praying. I felt bad enough walking around while people were praying, but to also take photos? No way. We met an American lady who was upset that some churches charge entrance fees and many don't allow photos. She was really angry about it and said she took photos anyway. Shameful. The worst was at St. Francis's Basilica. When we got to St. Francis's tomb there were people praying. It was weird to walk by them and around his tomb. Photos were not allowed, but everyone seemed to be trying to sneak them in. It was awful, and the same way at the Sistine Chapel.
5. Relics: I don't like relics. We saw reliquaries in many churches. They bother me. I'm bothered because here you have some piece of a guy you see as holy, which means you desecrated and destroyed his body in order to put a tiny piece of it in a fancy jar. Ross is bothered by the fact that people worship that bit of bone or tooth. It is creepy and wrong. I always skip past them in the churches and museums. People fight over these bits of bone. Boggles my mind.
6. Poop: There was dog poop everywhere. Most people don't clean up after their dogs. Ross started calling them Italian biscuits. You always have to watch where you are stepping. Gross.
7. Rain: We had lots of rain in Florence, one rainy day in Athens, and it did rain some in Rome. We even had a rain shower at the State Fair. I'm glad I packed my umbrella and tall boots.
8. Restoration: Seems like everything we visited was under restoration: the Duomo in Florence, The Acropolis, parts of the Vatican museum, St. Peter's Basilica. Annoying, but necessary, and next time things will be brighter and cleaner. It just sucks when you can't see things at all or they are covered by scaffolding. Cranes kept getting in the way when I wanted to take photos.
Okay, I'm done bitching. The good way outweighed the bad.