Africa to Italy

This past Saturday, we boarded a plane from Cape Town both sad to leave South Africa and excited for the next leg of our journey.  

We've just spent 7 amazing weeks driving through South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia.  We had up-close encounters with elephants, drove across the Kalahari Desert, climbed red dunes and saw great white sharks while cage diving.  

Shark Cage Diving off Cape Town, South Africa

Needless to say, Africa was amazing.

But we were equally excited to begin the next leg of our trip in Europe.  We boarded an 8 p.m. flight to Rome via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Again Nate flexed his amazing travel hacking muscle and got us business class tickets for just $80.  Total.  For two people.  To go from Africa to Europe.  (Best Husband Ever).

Boarding our Ethiopian Airlines flight from Cape Town to Addis Ababa.

Boarding our Ethiopian Airlines flight from Cape Town to Addis Ababa.

We had a quick stop in Johannesburg and slept on the overnight flight to Ethiopia arriving early Sunday morning.  

Fun fact about flying Ethiopian Airlines- if you have a layover longer than 6 hours in Addis Ababa, they put you up in a hotel and feed you all of your meals.  Pretty cool.

Our free hotel in Addis Ababa

Our free hotel in Addis Ababa

So we spent the day napping in our (free) hotel and then did a half-day city tour with a private guide.  We visited the National Museum of Ethiopia to see Lucy, a skeleton dated back 3.2 million years.

Lucy, a skeleton dated back 3.2 million years.  Those're some old bones, y'all.

Lucy, a skeleton dated back 3.2 million years.  Those're some old bones, y'all.

We also stopped for some delicious Ethiopian coffee!

Trying Ethiopian coffee in Addis Ababa

Trying Ethiopian coffee in Addis Ababa

We visited a view point and got to see the layout of the entire city.

Me and Nate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Me and Nate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

After dinner at the hotel (again free), we boarded a shuttle back to the airport.  Because Nate had scored us business class tickets, we relaxed in the lounge before boarding our flight to Rome.

The business class lounge in the Addis Ababa airport

The business class lounge in the Addis Ababa airport

This leg was on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, easily the nicest plane I've ever seen.  We had seats that laid completely down into beds with our own TVs and amazing food. 

We sipped champagne as we boarded, watched movies, and ate ravioli for dinner.  Then we got some sleep because our flight arrived in Rome at the VERY early time of 5 a.m.

Sleepily, we deplaned, and passed easily through immigration and customs.  From there we headed to the train station and bought tickets to Roma Termini, the larger station with trains heading out to other regions across the country.

On the 6:30 a.m. train to Roma Termini, the big train station in Rome!

On the 6:30 a.m. train to Roma Termini, the big train station in Rome!

We stowed our bags at the train station and treated ourselves to some much-needed cappuccinos and chocolate croissants.

Cappuccino and croissants in Rome.

Cappuccino and croissants in Rome.

Then we headed out, walking around for 2 hours to kill some time before our midday train to Tuscany.  

We boarded at 12 p.m. and rode just 2 hours out of the city before connecting at a smaller station.

Nate on the train from Rome to the Tuscan countryside

Nate on the train from Rome to the Tuscan countryside

We arrived tired but happy to be in the beautiful Italian countryside in a small town called Castagnetto Carducci.  

Here we'll spend the next month at a workaway, which means we'll work for our host 5 days a week in exchange for room and board.  

Stay tuned to see how everything goes!