No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be. And Italy isn't an exception.
We wait all week for that one weekend, and I waited all year for this one Grad Trip. "Italy for 2 weeks? :O People do Europe in 2 weeks!" - heard this dialogue from tons of people who have seen our itinerary. But our main aim wasn't how many countries we would cover but how well we cover one country. It would be sabotaging a trip by having hell lot of travelling, hotel check ins and in no time checking out. So not getting into minute details on my trip, here it is -
Wandering on the streets of Rome with no destination, trying out every gelato flavour possible and most importantly the familiarity. It was just like home.
And how can I forget the neighbour, Vatican City - it's churches and the museum which made us walk like we never did (and never would).
Hopelessly falling in love with the rustic doors, prettiest windows and the colourful houses of Venice.
Leaving the beautiful city of Verona with a hope to find my Romeo but with a happy ending.
Shopping endlessly in the fashion hub, Milan only to find my wallet crying.
Chitchating and whiling away the time on the way to Pisa.
Hopping those picturesque islands in Cinque Terre.
Wine and dine(Biryani craving) in Florence.
Naples, the birthplace of pizza - Amazing hosts, Homemade Dinner, Mecca love, random karaoke themed birthday party welcoming us by playing a Tamil video with Napoleon dialect and those long walks with a map in hand.
Pompeii, the city of ruins reminded me of my childhood dream of becoming an archaeologist.
Capri - the dizzy ferry ride, over enthusiastic waiter, dazzling blue water at blue grotto, Limoncello, pretty uncle accompanying us for a walk and everything's worth the ride.
But again the magic about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better when you come back.
My 2 cents here,
- Be extremely careful with your luggage. Beware of Pickpocketing. (Personal Experience)
- Pack light. Pretty Please!
- Carry an extra duffle bag for those times when you go crazy about shopping
- Drink Tap water. Everyone does so yeah, you are not going to die.
- Carry a water bottle everywhere you go because it's as expensive as a croissant
- Never take a cab. Instead walk, use local transportation(Bus, metro or ferries) or better if you rent out a car or bike.
- Take a metro or ferry (In Venice) pass for how many ever days you are going to stay. (Only if you plan to use it a lot)
- You'll be amazed at the way the people stop for pedestrians. But please do look at the signals and cross.
- Ask twice about the ingredients before you eat something. No wonder you might end up eating beef :P
- Home-stays are the best way to know about the local culture. The Italians are more than welcoming and are very sweet. (If you go to Naples, I've an amazing home-stay option for you - highly recommended)
- You want to meet new people and love the 24/7 culture then opt for a hostel. In Venice, Generator Venice is the one. It's amazing.
- Very Important - when you decide on accommodation, shell out a few more bucks but stay in the city which is easily accessible to all means of transportation. We always walked from the nearest station or port to the places we've booked.
- Stay at one place and cover two three places nearby by doing day trips.
For example: Stay in Rome - Visit Rome and Vatican City.
Stay in Venice - Visit all the islands in Venice including Murano Burano, go on a day trip to Verona
Stay in Florence - Visit the city, Pisa and Cinque Terre
Stay in Naples - Visit the city of Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast and Capri
The list isn't extensive. This is how my itinerary looked like.
- Carry less cash when you are out roaming.
- Wine <3 This is the place for all the wine lovers. Explore those bustling markets in Florence for wine tasting.
- For the train journeys, either buy a Euro Rail pass if you've to travel extensively or just buy the tickets online before hand to get good deals.
- Build your stamina because you'll badly need it. We walked at least 5 kilometers a day.
- Italy isn't a place where you can roam around late in the night. So make sure you are accompanied by someone or reach home early.
- Pizza, Pasta, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, Croissants and lots of Gelatos will just make your trip wonderful.
- Book lovers - bring a book for all those long hours in the train
- Do not run between places. Sit, relax and savor those moments. I'm sure you've a lot of places in your itinerary but ditch them and maybe you'll be surprised to see what's in store for you all this time.
And Every trip is as good as your partner, so pick a good one and pack your bags NOW!