well the last few days have just been a whirlwind. We left Strasbourg, travelled 12 hours by train, stopped in Switzerland and bought some chocolate and enjoyed the beauty of an incredible country, stopped in Milan where we saw a man passed out lying in his own vomit and urine, and arrived very late in Vernazza Italy. Vernazza has got to be one of the most picturesque places I have ever been. It has little winding streets and old Italian buildings and a little piazza and a coast line. The streets are brimming in the day time with old italian people dressed to the nines and every window is adorned with clothes strewn on a laundry line. There were more cats than I could name or befriend (and I can do both a plenty) so there were a lot. We were there for 3 or 4 days. I really have no idea about time anymore and in Vernazza I'm convinced you aren't supposed to. The first day was not raining or at least not as much so we just explored all day. It was incredible. You get the feeling that this world is entirely separate from the world you live in each day. The journey some of these people take just to go to the market (everyday) to get food is truly impressive. When we get back we will post all the videos and pictures so you understand. There was a brief moment of sun while we were sitting on the rocks watching the boats come in. It was the first sunshine we had experienced this entire trip and there was one brief moment yesterday but that was it. We savored every second. In this area of the Italy they are famous for their Pesto and we had pesto pizza. It was excellent. I was so excited to not be eating french food that I tried to eat everything in sight. The following day was raining, of course, and we visited the other towns in the Cinque Terre. We were reassured that we chose the best one by staying in Vernazza. On the last day we went to Pisa. I was grumpy. TMI but I was on my period and it was day umpteenth of rain and I was hungry and tired and in every picture of the leaning tower I am scowling. Its kinda funny now actually. We left Vernazza the next morning and went to Pisa where we daytripped to San Gimignano. This place was so rad. Its this old fortress type place and it looks out over the Tuscan countryside. We left there for Civita de Bagnoreggio. Civita is out in the middle of no where, lie where people look at you weird because you are a tourist and no one speaks English. You will not believe Civita. Its a deserted castle town on an island of sorts with a little walking bridge out to it. There are about 10 residents there and 1 offered a b & b. We had reservations but when we arrived no one was there. Its eerie being in a deserted castle place in the middle of nowhere Italy with no idea where to stay or where to find food or how to survive the weather. We said a prayer and out came a woman from what looked like a cave and we ran over to her. She spoke on Italian and essentially we conveyed to her our predicament. She tried to call the guy we had reservations with but to no avail. Finally she took us to what looked like an abandoned old building and out came an old man in a torn shirt. They spoke in italian for a while and then the man turned it us and in perfect American acccented english said that we could stay with him. Huh? Turns out he is from Georgia (the state) originally though he has lived in Italy for almost 50 years. He let us stay in this incredible apartment that he rents out to architecture students in the summer. I can't wait for you to see the video and pictures. It was insane. He was definitely a hermit and wasn't interested in answering questions but he was very kind and took a liking to me. He had 5 cats and when I won them over I think he came with the deal. hehe. Anyway we hadn't eaten in 12 hours or so since we had done Florence, oh yeah, we did Florence on the way to Civita. I'll just say David was way way bigger than I had expected and totally worth the wait. And the Duomo there was fabulous. Anyway, he gave us some cheese and a bottle of wine and a sausage. In the empty apartment we found some old noodles so I made noodles with cheese and sausage cooked in wine. I felt like a chef and we were so hungry it tasted great. We toured Civita this morning in terrential down pour and then took our soggy butts to the train station and headed to Rome, where I am writing this from. We are staying with some of the nicest people, the Oppenheims. They are a military family and very catholic. One of the 6 kids is getting confirmed tomorrow and so lots of family is in town, and then there is us. Ha. They treat us like part of the family here for confirmation. Its really fun. We are so happy to be here and be dry and be fed. This trip has been surprisingly hard. It has rained everyday nearly all day and rain takes its toll. Our recompense truly has been the people that God has placed in our path. Alvaro in London. Marie Jeane in Paris. Cathia in Strasbourg. The couple visiting Vernazza who worked at the embassy in Rome and offered us a place to stay if our place fell through. Tony the ex-pat in Civita who fed us and housed us. Marty and Nancy from New Jersey in Orvieto who raised our soggy spirits on the way to Rome. The Oppenheims here. Seriously, if I've learned nothing I've learned that God sends His love to me through these saints. I have been surprised at how rude people can be on this trip, and on the same hand been dumbfounded at the generosity of strangers as well. I want to always be a kind person. I realize now more than ever, just how far kindness can really go.