Leaving Amsterdam we were disappointed. We expected the Cannabis culture and the Red Light District but not the lack of any other stimulus. Our opinions may have been jaded by the cold but, even in the summer, swimming in the polluted canals would have been degrading unless you were smashed on beer and/or pot, with a hooker on your arm.


Arriving in Amsterdam we followed the directions to the campsite until we came to a sign with the words "Peace to the world" with psychedelically coloured vans within. Although we were open to a more laid back lifestyle in Amsterdam this came as a shock and we braced ourselves for our hippy hosts. To Kaylas dismay this was not our final destination, which was a short distance away and although ordinary in comparison contained the basics we were looking for i.e. hot showers and nearby public transport to the city central.

From Switzerland to the Netherlands

As we crossed the border from Italy to Switzerland we were stopped at the border control to purchase our motorway sticker. Unlike France and Italy where you would pay as you go to use the motorway, often exorbitant amounts, in Switzerland we were charged a one of fee of 35 euro allowing us access to the motoway for a year. Even though we weren't going to be here long this known cost was reassuring.


We caught the early train from Venice to Florence so we could start exploring the city as soon as we arrived. After an hour of train delays, each time the train stopping inside the dark tunnels obscuring our view of Tuscany, we arrived in Florence around 2pm. The hostel we had booked was warm and clean, and we shared the dorm with a quiet British couple, making it a great place to lay our head after a long day exploring. Although the weather was overcast, we eagerly hit the streets of Florence.


After beginning our train journey at 8:30am, we arrived at the Venice Mestre train station at 9:30pm before walking the short distance to our hotel. We were up early the next day and back at the station to catch the local train the single leg to the island of Venice. Upon exiting the train we were welcomed by the sight, made familiar in movies, of the many canals filled with boats of all types.


After an uneventful train ride to Napoli, we arrived in the city centre shortly after noon. Checking into the hotel we found that our room contained the worlds smallest bathroom with the worlds biggest basin. After using the toilet, you could wash your hands right where you were seated or with half a step, around the basin, be in the shower. 


We woke early and headed down to the provided breakfast. This consisted of a voucher which we took down to a local patisserie for coffee and a croissant which we would soon discover was the breakfast that is provided in Rome. After checking out we jumped on the metro heading to the hostel we would be staying in for the next two nights. We arrived at a high rise building, walked the five flights of stairs up to the hostel where we were greeted by the owner and his gorgeous dog, an affectionate boxer that had a run of the place and gave it a homely feel.