“Bonjour I have to say that. We’re in France. After spending a few very rainy days in the Tuscany region of Italy we arrived in Nice, France, last night. Not surprisingly, it’s, um, nice. Anyway more about that later. This is what we’ve been up to since we left Venice. Caught the bus to Florence in Italy and arrived at around lunch time. The area is really nice, the countryside is green and lush and it is really very nice after the bare Greek landscapes. We stayed in a campsite in a cabin which was really cheap (especially compared to Hotels in Italy) and was only about a 20 minute bus ride to the city. We went into the city the afternoon we arrived, checked out the Duomo (a big church) and a few of the other sights. Michangelo’s David statue is also in Florence, but we only got to see the replica because the museum was closed when we went to have a look on Sunday. After a few hours of walking around the city we decided to catch the bus back to the campsite, which was a bit of an adventure because the bus driver decided to change the route number after we got on and the bus went in the opposite direction. After a long time we passed some very familiar sights, and we realised that we were heading back into the city. We stayed on the bus and met some Kiwis who had got on the same bus for the same reason. We got off in the city and caught another bus, which luckily stayed on the correct route and we got back to the campsite, but not before it started pouring. So out came the waterproof jackets from our day packs, wow, what a good investment! The next day we took a day trip to another Tuscan town, Siena. I don’t want to sound like I’m gushing, but this place is awesome. The town is pretty much how it was a few hundred years ago, and the best thing was that it has a church which is absolutely MASSIVE and every corner of it is decorated by works of art (many by Ninja Turtles, ie: Donatello etc). The ceiling is lined with busts of hundreds of people, all different, and all in perfect detail. The outside has the same thing. The floor has a huge mosaic in it, the walls are adorned with famous religious paintings, there are statues all over the place. We spent a good few hours in there and couldn’t have possibly seen everything. Apart from the fact that it was raining heavily outside and we didn’t want to go back out, this place coulod keep you entertained forever. We saw some other stuff in Siena, but it all seems pretty insignificant compared to that church. That night we went back to the campsite and cooked some spag bol in the campsite kitchen, which seems to have become a habit because that’s what we’ve had every night since! The following day it was still raining so we just hung around the campsite until it stopped at around lunch time. We stupidly thought that it wouldn’t rain again, and as a result we got wet for the 3rd day in a row! The church itself was closed, but we did get to climb the 414 stairs to the top of the bell tower. I can’t believe they make you pay to do that. The stairs are payment enough! Although it was raining and the viewing platform wasn’t under cover, the view from the top was pretty spectacular. We went back to the campsite and left on the bus to Nice the following morning. The bus went via Pisa, so we got to see the leaning tower which is on much more of a lean than we expected. We took some obligatory stupid touristy photos of us holding up the tower (they’ll be on the site soon). The road between Florence and Nice has something like 200 bridges and 200 tunnells. It’s not good if you’re afraid of heights, because some of the bridges are a few hundred metres above the ground. It’s pretty amazing. We haven’t really done much in Nice yet. We cooked our spag bol last night, and then went to the supermarket this morning for obligatory supplies of baguettes and croussaints (sp?). I was accosted by another bum this morning. Needless to say, French bums only speak French (not like the classy ones in Vienna)! Today we’ll check out Nice, tomorrow we’re off to Monaco to meet the Prince and get a stamp in our passports! Might hire a car and do the Grand Prix circuit! The following day we’re off to Lyon (also in France) and then we’re heading to Switzerland which we’re pretty excited about. We reckon that although we’ve been way under budget so far, Switzerland might just sort that out! Overall we’re having as great time. Thanks everyone for your emails and keep in touch! Jane and Jon”
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