itsa me, mario. 

italy is what i have been waiting for. i have loved the whole trip obviously.. but with the weather, food, and accents – italia is beyond compare. 

when we got to italy, we walked from the airport to our hostel which was about 15 minutes away. while checking in, i observed that this seemed more like a hangout in a coffee shop (rather than a lobby). there were games, couches, tables, books, a bar – people on their laptops and chatting. this was a backpacking hostel, so many young people. we booked a private room because staying in a dorm with 14 other packers was not something i was not interested in. 

after checking in, we rented some bikes for a mere €5 and headed to the leaning tower of pisa. somehow we made it there with zero issues, besides the fact both of our bikes had flat tires. 

the leaning tower was packed with tourists. they all had their arms in the air striking the infamous “i am trying to hold the tower from falling over” pose. we couldn’t resist doing it ourselves. it was certainly funny to see everyone standing there like a fool, but everyone was doing it. this was an acceptable place, if any, for the selfie stick.

whenever we tried to pose, someone else would get their arms in the way or come up right next to you. it was like the hunger games trying to get that perfect photo. you would shamelessly sacrifice someone else’s perfect opportunity for a photo to get your own.

when biking back to the hostel, i almost died 3+ times (apparently). lewis had the gopro strapped to his chest and caught me on video with numerous close calls of getting hit by a car or running into a pedestrian. you can hear him shout out my name (a lot), but i couldn’t hear at the time. whenever i am in a car and there is a biker, they always get in my way or ride like an asshole, so i apparently did the same. i do have the right of way, after all. there are SO many people on bikes and scooters that cars really get the shaft. i think lewis is just a worry wart. 🙂

the cobblestone streets reeked of the past and the air was thick with humidity. i was loving every moment of it on my bike ride, the breeze hitting my face, and my flat tire making “help me” noises on the pavement. 


after taking a fat nap in our room, we walked downstairs to eat dinner. there was a €7 buffet of pasta and pizza. yes, you read that correctly. all you can eat pasta and pizza. we ate so much so fast, i don’t think we even talked for the first round of food on our plates. 

the best part of all of this was that shots were €1, beer and wine were €2. i love you, italy. we slept well that evening.

the next day we went to rent a scooter so we could go to the beach. YES. this is what i have wanted to do my entire life. images of hilary duff in lizzie mccguire (in her disney channel movie where she goes to rome?) pop in my head. she rides a scooter around italy with a hot guy and that is what i was going to do.

every fairy tale has a climax, though. we got so lost trying to find this place. we were on foot this time, i wasn’t feeling as confident as i was on a bike. after a very long, hot, humid hour – we found it. we originally found the shop with no problem, but there was a map saying to go to the street to rent. that is where we got confused. we walked in circles. it was 88 and humid and i was getting pissed. i wanted my scooter. 

when we made it to the street rental, there was nobody there. we stood there for 10 minutes baking in the sun. when i was about to call it a day, a young man comes up and says, “ciao!” i am thinking, “where the hell have you been?” but instead smile and say we want to rent a scooter. he says we have to go the the shop because it is open now. yes, the shop we orginally were at. luckily we know where it is.

the cutest italian man helped us out. he was probably in his 50s, tan, styled grayed hair, 5′ 5″, and beautiful olive green eyes. i wanted him to keep talking while i filled out paperwork, i can’t get enough of that accent. the way mario and luigi talk is no joke.

before departing, he warned us not to speed and winked, sticking out his tounge. he looked JUST like the emoji that winks with one eye and sticks out his tounge. i laughed. 


we rented a red vespa for five hours. i was in heaven. i clutched on to lewis as we escaped the heat for half an hour, the wind hitting our faces as we curved around the streets of italy. i put my arms in the air and let the wind brush my body. i will remember that moment forever. i smiled the entire way to the beach.

when we made it to the beach, i had my first experience with a squatter. yuck! i didn’t take a picture to spare you from the horror. at first i thought it was a shower, but it was a toilet. there was a hole in the ground and two raised blocks in the shape of feet where you were supposed to stand, line your business up with the hole, and go. 

this was traumatizing for me. a boy can easily aim and stand, but squatting and peeing in a small hole? i mean i have gone camping before and had to go in the woods, but this was different. when all was said and done… yes, i did pee on my shoe on accident. sorry, but if you are going to italy this may happen to you too.

the beach was empty besides a woman tanning topless, a small family, and a group of friends with their 4 dogs. we walked far down the beach until the other people looked like blurs in the distance.



it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. i looked around deviously before taking my own top off. hey! no rules in italy, right? it felt so freeing knowing i wouldn’t have tan lines.  

lewis and i stayed at the beach for about an hour and a half, soaking up rays and splashing in the water. i will never forget my first taste of the mediterranean sea as it hit my lips. naturally, lewis and i had no towel. we didn’t care. this was a picture perfect day.

when we left, dusting off all the sand we could, we headed back toward town. i noticed myself gripping tight on to lewis when trucks or busses would drive past us.. as if my holding on to him would save me if a semi truck were to hit. i held on to him tight, anyway. 

after another relaxing scoot, we experienced our first italian sit-down meal. they brought us bread, wine, and beer. i had lasagna and lewis had a pizza with egg and ham. oh, it was so good. 


now this is where there was trouble in paradise. it was 4:30 pm and we needed to return the scooter at 5:30 pm. this left us a gap to go back to our hostel and grab our bag, get gas, and return the vespa. right? wrong.

it was one-ways the entire way back to the hostel so we got lost. by foot or bike, no problem. we got to the hostel at 5:00 pm. heading back, one-ways got us again. it was 5:25 when we made it close to the scooter shop, but still had no gas. we were flying. also, lewis’s phone is at 3% and mine does not work without wi-fi.

i was freaking out because i was not sure the penalty for being late and we could not find a gas station nearby. at 5:28, i tell lewis to just swing by the shop. nobody was there and the door was locked. he drops me off and speeds off to find gas, almost falling off the scooter in his rush. close call.

5 minutes later, lewis miraculously returns with a full tank of gas and the guy is still not there. what’s up with our luck these days?

at 6:00 pm, the cute italian man returns on his own scooter and apologizes for being late. “sorry fora my-a delaya.” so cute. and so lucky.

we are now in florence. we took a train here last night and are ready to explore again today.  

hey, we might even get a scooter. 


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