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332 Kms from Viareggio
Days 7, 8 & 9: Finally, the royal city of Rome!Our first stop in Rome was the iconic Colosseum. What a spell binding mom...
Days 7, 8 & 9: Finally, the royal city of Rome!Our first stop in Rome was the iconic Colosseum. What a spell binding moment to see it for the first time! We then strolled around the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Arch of Constantine. As evening dawned, we walked around the city getting to know its ins-and-outs and ended our night eating yummy must-have gelato by the intricately carved, tourist favourite Trevi fountain.
Rome (3 days)I didn't really like my previous experience in Rome - the people I met were rude and unfriendly. On this trip, I'm glad to say things were better. I felt that the service staff at a couple of main tourist attractions were still aloof, bored, curt and did not seem to want to help. But then again, they must be jaded from dealing with millions of tourists every year. Well I didn't let them spoil my trip - I still had a great time in Rome.
3. Rome: If you love history and want to follow the footsteps of ancient Romans, Rome is the place to be. It has a unique culture and ancient history which is displayed to the tourists. You can take golf lessons or enjoy the spa while the kids enjoy themselves at the kids’ club. How to reach: A number of airlines connect Rome to India. You can take flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.Do not miss: The Colosseum
Rome is Italy in a nutshell. Universally agreed upon as one of the most romantic and inspiring cities to live in, Rome is an exhilarating blend of historical ruins and vibrant streets. The city's artistic heritage is paralleled by only a few across the world; some reasons for this are the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica and the Byzantine mosaics throughout its geography. A trip to Rome could also be either religious (a day at the Vatican) or completely dedicated to fashion owing to its dolce vita culture. You can randomly sit at any roadside cafe or bar and watch the sun go down with your partner by your side, or you can follow the hordes because when in Rome...Free things to do while here: Pay homage at St. Peter's Basilica where you can find the iconic Pietà statue by Michelangelo. Visit the Bocca della Verità and tell a lie – legend has it that the huge face will bite you if you fib, so keep your fingers out of the way. You must already be aware of the iconic Trevi Fountain in which you throw coins and seek a wish; that's a must-visit place.
After spending some time we hopped on to the bus again and went on to see the other majestic structures , The Roman forum and Palatine Hill looking down onto the Circus Maximus which was a track for Chariot races during medieval times , the Pantheon . Since we were sleep deprived we thought of closing the day early and on the way back something caught our eye that we hadn't seen earlier , showed the consciousness of Europeans about family planning .
(continued) Check part 6 hereOn the 9th day of our trip, we moved from our Hotel Galileo in Padova towards Rome, the capital city of Italy, a distance of about 500 km. We had a city tour of the capital planned for that day.Rome is a Mecca for history buffs. It has a history spanning 2500 years. Among the most-visited cities in the world, Rome also surrounds the smallest country of the world, Vatican City from all sides. It has great monuments - the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain etc. But more than that, what catches people's interests is the little details of this historical city - cobbled lanes and streets, vivid colours, hidden corners, and the aroma of freshly ground coffee coming from the many cafes that are dotting the roads. Apart from playing the host to some legendary events in the past, the city also serves you great food through its various piazzas, eateries and food joints.
It was a dream to true to see this building of such historical importance. I could almost hear gladiators screams roaring through the amphitheatre as i walked through the biggest stages I have ever laid eyes on. Just one look at this architectural marvel & you know why it's a Wonder of the World!#Rome #Italy
Rome is a true mix of old and new. It’s a city that proudly flaunts its ancient history while it continues to evolve. It's a city that lives and breathes - it's dirty, crowded and noisy. It’s also beautiful, romantic and has a certain magical aura around it. It is proud of its grand monuments, that have stood strong against time and technology, but it is also reflective of the modernism and advancement happening around it. The cobbled lanes and hidden cafes, the gelato stands and coffee outlets - these details just add to the overall charisma of Rome.Cheapest Month To Fly: November 2017 from New DelhiMust See: The Colloseum, The Pantheon, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and The Vatican City.Must Eat: Other than pizza, pasta and gelato, do try Carciofo Ala Romana (stuffed artichokes), Torta Ricotta (ricotta cheese and sour berries cake), Maritozzo (sweet bread roll filled with whipped cream) and Coda Alla Vaccinara (tomato soup with stewed ox-tail).Must Do: Take a stroll along the oldest and longest road of Rome, via Appia Antica; Visit Quartiere Coppedè, a hidden fairy-tale neighbourhood; Visit Trajan’s Market and the ruins located on Via dei Fori Imperiali; Visit Mercato Monti, one of Rome's trendiest markets and visit the deconstructed church at Caracalla.Approximate Cost for a day: Attractions – Rs. 1000; Food – Rs. 1500; Inter-city travel via public transport – Rs. 500; Accommodation – Average cost for 1 night – Rs. 3000 on double occupancy.
214 Kms from Viareggio
With the rest of the two days of our Italy tour we wanted to make the most of it. Our last destination was Milan.Day 13 evening We reached Milan and straight away went to visit Lake Como .(The detailed about Lake Como is given https://www.tripoto.com/trip/a-dramatic-scenery-lake-como-59f23e2746342) The day ended exploring COMO. Next Morning was a bliss it was drizzling our BnB was cozy and comfortable. The historic part of our host was that she didn't even know a single world of English and there comes the great google translator , which helped us understanding things in a much better way, fortunately the host knew about Bhagwat Geeta and was already reading it, (it was a very good platform for both of us to connect) .She extended a very warm welcome and offered us some food. She has been very supportive for us for guiding about Milan city.Tree lined streets, a charming historic downtown , global capital of fashion and design, Home to the national stock exchange makes it Milan a perfect Alpha Global City. Trendy shops and designer clothes grows like mushroom in this city. Fast-paced metropolis where creativity flourish is the charm of this city.
The capital of Italy is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe since it is filled with as many historical insignias as its modern counterparts. Being the administrative capital of Italy, Milan is also understandably bureaucratic to some extent. What's really enviable here is the beauty of everyday things. The roadside cafes and bars are designed to welcome and not merely swindle. The overall humour is deadpan, but hilarious. It's an outstanding city and a relatively cheap European destination from India.Free things to do while here: Duomo di Milano is one of the most iconic symbols of Italy; also known as the Milan Cathedral, one can climb up to check out the city view from the top by paying a nominal fee. If you've watched enough Italian cinema, you might have developed preconceived notions about the country – a visit to the tiny old alleyways of Brera will validate your ideas and you can click a thousand Instagram-worthy pictures here. Finally, take a stroll down the most fashionable street in world – Via Montenapoleone; if you are travelling on a budget, it'll obviously be difficult for you to buy anything here, but window shopping will be a treat to your fashion desires.Where to eat: Here are three cheap but outstanding places to eat in Milan: 1. Macelleria Equina Da Vito at Via Lorenteggio, 2. Piadineria Artigianale Pascoli at Via Niccolo Paganini, 3. Mr. Panozzo at Via Enrico Noe. The first one has gluten-free options available, while the other two have vegetarian as well as vegan options.Where to stay: Unlike contrary beliefs, one can actually stay in Milan on a budget. Here's one beautiful option to consider.
⑧ ✈ Last Day in Milano
When I was flying to Milan I had to literally pinch myself to believe, that I am going to a foreign land all by myself and living my dream.It was around 11.30 pm when I landed in Milan and divulged myself with some serious pep up talks because I felt a tad bit lost.Amidst all the battles in my head, I saw a young woman walking towards the train station and befriended her. To my surprise, she was warm and very helpful. She expressed, “I will come with you till the hostel and grab a drink. I am very upset coz my best friend has moved to another city.” And that’s how her melancholy saved me the despair of finding my way.The walk towards the hostel was fascinating as all I saw around me were stores thriving to get my attention and at the end of the long stretch was the hostel — Ostello Bello.The moment I set my foot in the hostel, it seemed like I have entered a high-octane resto-pub. The place played electrifying music and I could hear tons of chitter-patter with copious amount of laughter coming from every corner.Amidst all the initial formalities of checking-in, my eyes were searching for my friend (Sigh! Struggling to remember her name). That’s when Helder (from the front desk) said, “Hey! Your friend just went and left you a kiss,” and I couldn’t do much but smile and thank her from all my heart. The ‘happy’ me chit chatted for a while with everyone before calling it a night.
We got off at the Duomo di Milano Church in Milan. Also known as the Milan Cathedral, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan and also the largest church in Italy. The white marble facade of this huge church makes it a top tourist attraction. You can take the elevator or stairs to get to the top and enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
We reached Milan by 5 PM in the evening.It was a great trip that took us back in time.
We started the journey from Milan Centrale at about 7:30 AM. It is about 3 hours 5 minutes by the fastest train. The train tickets cost about 67 euros per person each side. Ticket cost varies from 45 euros to 90 euros depending on the time you book.
Stay in Milan, shop in it's famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and indulge in great Italian fare. But for art and architecture lovers, don't forget to visit the following:
My trip to Lisbon from Milan was originally planned via Brussels, but due to unexpected circumstances, I found myself crossing over all the way from Liege in Wallonia to Ostend-Bruges in Flanders to catch the last seat in the flight to Lisbon. Milan to Brussels to Lisbon became: Milan to Liege + over priced Taxi to train station + Train to North Belgium Ostend-Bruges(with help from a nice friendly local who helped me book the tickets at the station without the intention of scamming me) + Bus to the airport + 2 hour wait with loads of travelers in a little airport. I wont complain much, as not only was I completely refunded for my troubles by Brussels Airlines (Taxi fare + Train tickets + bus ticket), they managed to get me at my final destination comforted with a seat in business class in TAP Airlines (Portuguese Airlines). Travel Blog Confession: Sold to Portugal after business class upgrade My first ever Business class trip after literally covering not just a country but en entire continent. Let me explain my complex trip to Portugal. Milan to Liege (Economic Class Air) Liege Airport to Train station (Taxi) Liege Train station to Ostende Bruge city (Train) Ostende Bruge Train station to Airport (Bus) Ostende Bruge Airport to Lisbon (Upgraded to Business Class Air) Starting from the land where they speak Italian to the land of French speaking Belgium. Next, a train to the Dutch speaking part of Belgium to only end up being spoilt by the best of Portuguese air hospitality. The crew of TAP airlines were obliged to treat me special as a Business class passenger. I wonder if they knew that I was upgraded by the awesome staff in Flanders Ostende Airport. They really did their best that busy day. The funny thing that day was me even attempting a maverick journey like that to travel all across Belgium to catch a flight in time. Vasco Da Gama would be proud of my Travels Vasco Da Gama traveled south reaching below the cape of good hope in South Africa before he reached north east of Africa and then to South India while taking help of the ruler of Malindi (present day Kenya) and the great Arab navigator Ahmed Ibn Majid, to show the explorers the route to India. Mean while , I found myself reaching Liege and taking the help of a cool Arab Taxi driver who helped me quite a bit in realizing that Ostend- Bruges was actually all across the other end of the country and that it would be better and cheaper if I juts took the train from the train station. He did that speaking in French to some one who has a real tough time saying Bonjour and always prefers to say Ciao with a wink. He did try to over price me though and but was quite easily prepared to bring down the amount upon me bargaining like a typical Indian. Our conversation reminiscent of conversation between the great explorers, navigators and sea faring merchants of that time who would often hang around India, Indonesia, Persian gulf or across the sandy beaches of east Africa. A trip to the National Museum in Rome would enlighten me of the historical Roman trade with many Indian ports and beyond that was thriving until the demise of the great empire. Landing in Portugal on a busy weekend night Lisbon had great vibes. I love coastal cities, they are always special. Maybe the influx of people over ages brings all the coolest people over to a coastal port city. Wading through the busy evening streets, we find ourselves in a little street with history written all over it. Our Airbnb hostess invites us to climb up 3 storeys on wooden steps that seemed to belong in one of Vasco Da Gama's old ships. I gasped for my breath as I carried our week long luggage across the tiny wooden steps. Had to climb three floors to finally reach our beautiful little Portuguese apartment. Our Airbnb landlady would further entertain us with an introduction to Lisbon city and Portuguese culture. Like a typical coastal nation citizen, she takes out an old paper map. As she reads out some Portuguese names of the areas around, we get interested and take notes. The next day you would find me jumping in joy around the coast. I was absolutely loving my holiday in a country which helped make Goa fun. Lisbon fever: Love at first sight We took the city sightseeing bus service that would play beautiful fado music while educating us about Lisbon. I was awestruck listening about its glorious history on top of the bus. Walking across Lisbon was great fun. Paradise is sunny weather and regular supply of Codfish Cakes (Pasteis de Bacalhau). Do click on the link to the have a glimpse of this Portuguese delight. I had actually tried it at this very place on the link. The perfect brown fish cutlet is filled with melted cheese and has to be eaten with care. You fall in love instantaneously with Lisbon, while sipping wine on a disposable "I Love Lisbon" wine glass at the Torre de Belem. Strolling across the Bairro Alto or the upper neighborhood/district, you can find the best food at the best price. Just make sure to avoid the tourist traps. By tourist traps, I refer to those unscrupulous businesses that exist all around the world. Usually near the perpetual tourist attractions. Intending to only benefit from a location but not to deliver in terms of value. The rent could be high or the motivation to meet a threshold to have customers may be low. Soon we would find the best places as we dine with old friends in Lisbon. Later we would eat the best frango and wine near the train station at faro completely based on a intuitive hunch. Not always do you enter a place to be completely blown away with the service, quality and value. I discovered loads of trattoria in Italy where you can end up having a really good meal at lunch time at a great price.
141 Kms from Viareggio
6. A walk through the land that created Parmesan
My last destination within Italy was Venice, and I wanted do a brief pit stop somewhere before getting there. So bidding Florence goodbye, I headed for Bologna. Bologna is quite close to Florence and is well connected by train. It was Christmas eve and I didn't have elaborate plans, and Bologna seemed perfect.I lazily walked down the streets and walked into the cathedrals before reaching the foot of the Two Towers - Asinelli and Garisenda. It was quite surprising to learn that the Tower of Asinelli was the tallest leaning tower in Italy, much taller than the tower of Pisa (97 meters as compared to 56 meters).
The next morning, before leaving for Venice, I walked down to the University of Bologna - the oldest university of the world. Its alumni include Copernicus, Malfighi, Galvani, Marconi, Enzo Ferrari and had Dante Alighieri among others, as faculty.
112 Kms from Viareggio
Day 3 & 4: Train to Florence & immersing ourselves in artThe Trenitalia network covers all of Italy and has convenient s...
Day 3 & 4: Train to Florence & immersing ourselves in artThe Trenitalia network covers all of Italy and has convenient schedules to suit everyone. The train ride to our next stop Florence, was fun as the views changed from canals & water to farmlands with rows of olive shrubs and orange trees.We visited the Santa Maria Del Fiore, a beautiful cathedral that has become the symbol of the city. Its roof was engineered and painted by Brunelleschi and many compare its beauty to the Sistine Chapel. We also explored the Palazzo Vecchio, the old city palace, home of the famed Medici family of Florence.
It was the time to board the last train for Florence and we came back to the BnB we have booked . It was one of the most beautiful stays we had in Europe. Situated in the main city easily connected by public transport A beautifully decorated house by Hosted by Mario & Beatrice.
Food and wine, and everything fine – Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance Movement. Hence, there is no dearth of world-class art, history and tradition in this little town. Its narrow cobbled pathways are reminiscent of romantic Italian movies of the yore, and are perfect for aimless evening strolls with your loved one. Don't be surprised if you come across architectural masterpieces around every corner though, the town is replete with medieval chapels and museums all over. Florence is also famous for its hyper-stylish indigenous fashion being the hometown of world-renowned designers such as Guccio Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo, you'd find family-run boutiques everywhere.Free things to do while here: San Miniato Al Monte is an eerie but gorgeous church about Piazzale Michelangelo which you should visit. Take a stroll at Piazza Della Signoria and enjoy the collection of sculptures in the arcade nearby; there are also plenty of great roadside restaurants where you can sit and people-watch. However ridiculous it may sound, but you can also take a free walking tour of Florence; many guides just want to share their adoration of the gorgeous city with others and hence organise walking tours without charging anything.Where to eat: Here are the three cheap but outstanding places to eat in Florence: 1. SandwiChic at Via San Gallo, 2. Panini Toscani at Piazza del Duomo, 3. I' Girone De' Ghiotti at Via dei Cimatori. All three serve vegetarian food as well.Where to stay: What makes Florence a must-visit is its gorgeous yet affordable stays. Here is one fantastic option.
3. A bread, bean and biscotti feast in FlorenceEvery turn in Florence will greet you with people feasting on bread and bean soup, and the mandatory Chianti wine.Eating Italy's food tour starts from Oltrarno, Italy's answer to Paris' Left Bank. Take delight in the region's Bohemian vibe, abuzz with students and artists in hipster cafes and an all-round vibrant culture. The tour is bound to give away a number of local food and restaurant secrets. Among the multitude of food and wine tastings, you'll also learn to make Italian cantucci (biscotti), sample locally made fennel salami or Finocchiona, Tuscan cheeses and crostinis, and stop at an authentic Italian trattoria (restaurant) for steaming hot soups. Don't leave before having Florence’s famous steak, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, and of course, end the tour with gelato.
(b) When one talks of language barrier, Italy is the first point of reference and in Italy also, the Tuscany Region ranks number 1. Having said that, our maximum encounters with 'Humans of Europe' happened in Tuscany. One such was at a Farmer's market. My mother who is a local food enthusiast, on her own visited the Farmer's Market in Florence and returned with a bag full of local herbs, cheese and fruits. When we asked her how did you communicate with the Farmers (they only speak Italian and Spanish), she matter of fact replied 'With actions'. Also has learnt the recipe of local ravioli just through ACTIONS. The Italian farmers and my mother synced in so well that we had a dinner invite from a local farmer family and mother made made 'Dal Makhani' for them. The food at the dinner was what #foodgasm hashtag is for. The farmer's son who knew English, translated our conversation for them and their conversation for us. At the end, I felt as if I was sitting amongst my big, fat family from Punjab, giggling and laughing away to glory.
The homesickness eventually vanished as I travelled to the other cities. Florence was my next stop, which is a lovely town just four hours away from Rome by train. The hostel here was more like an inn that I booked through AirBNB. I made friends with guys from London and South Africa and am still in touch with them. It is amazing for slightly shy people like me that while travelling alone you are open to striking conversations and getting to know people, but when you have company, you are so comfortable with your companion that you don’t really want to make the extra effort of talking to strangers. Meeting new people transforms your worldview and makes you a totally different person. You no more want to dwell over the petty issues of life, which restricts you from doing so many wonderful things. Moving on, Florence was exceptionally beautiful and well-designed. I did not really spend any time standing in mind numbing queues to see any of the architectural marvels, but spent the days exploring the different parts of the city, climbing hills, and going to nearby villages. Florence falls in the Tuscan region, which is famous for its wineries. I would recommend to pre-book a tour to one of the wineries for a more authentic experience.
334 Kms from Viareggio
Today I was sitting in the office and trying to recollect my most weird or unusual experience which I encountered on the...
Today I was sitting in the office and trying to recollect my most weird or unusual experience which I encountered on the foreign turf, no doubt the clear winner was the fine dining experience I had summer this year in the Nice City (France)I went to France for 8 days with my office buddy where we planned to spend four days for falling in love with Paris and four days to get some #VitaminSea at the Nice beaches of the Nice city. (try to read as Nice beaches of Neace city :)We were staying at one of the most amazing and luxurious resort at the Eze village, known as Chateau de la Chevre d'Or. The view of the sea from the resort was astonishing and I would agree its the best hotel I ever checked in which has the most pleasing interiors of the suite with a lovely view of the hills along with the Sea, with a private Jacuzzi and at a heavenly location.
Italy is just round the corner from French Riviera and therefore we decided to make the best use of our schengen visa. We took a train and headed to the Italian town of Ventimiglia. It's just a small train ride away. From eating oysters to digging in pasta- we did that in one day and we were pretty kicked about it. The moment you cross the border, you will notice a stark difference between the French and the Italian culture. Just within a few miles, you see a difference in food, textures, flavours, language, people. We entered a bustling market selling local fruits, vegetables and flowers. The prices are generally lower than what you will find across the French border. Do find time to devour some sinful local risotto, spaghetti and pasta and end your meal with a heavenly tiramisu.
C. NICEFrom Nice Vile station, you can head to your Hotel & later in the evening get ready to explore Nice, the best city I have visited so far.With its mix of real-city grit, old-world opulence, year-round sunshine and stunning seaside location, Nice is the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Azur, and a must-see for every tourist. A magnet for sunseekers and high-rollers since the 19th century, this bewitching coastal city has so much going for it, glorious architecture and a wealth of super restaurants. If you really want to soak up the Riviera vibe, there’s really no better place to do it than in Nice.
Nice (pronounced like the English word "niece") is a big city in France on the French Riviera, popular destination for travelers of all ages with something to offer nearly everyone. It is renowned for the beautiful view on the Promenade des Anglais, its famous waterfront, and is an ethnically diverse port city.One can reach Nice by from any other city of Spain,Italy or France. From Spain, Vueling is the best low cost airlines, good fleet of aircraft & great service.Plan in such a way that you reach Nice in late evening/early morning so that you have full 3 days to explore Nice & adjoining areas. Having reached Nice airport, the best option is to go to nearest SNCF railway station i.e. Nice St.Augstin, it takes about 10 min to walk from Airport to this station & lot of travelers use this route. Before choosing this option, know that the station is not in the airport, and getting to the station can be tricky with a lot of luggage or small children. It is possible to walk to the station.
Nice is a little mix of sugar, spice and everything 'nice'. It is appropriate for everyone - right from those looking to spend a few days in the lap of luxury to shoestring backpackers looking to explore the south of France. The pebble beaches look almost heavenly, if not entirely comfortable and the nightlife is fantastic. Right from open-air markets and musical performances to a promenade right out of your dreams, Nice is the ultimate getaway.
299 Kms from Viareggio
Before leaving Treviso, I certainly fulfilled my promise to myself of going back to the places that I had visited on my ...
Before leaving Treviso, I certainly fulfilled my promise to myself of going back to the places that I had visited on my first stroll through the city. Treviso fulfilled all my expectation of what Italian nightlife should be like. Crossing bridges across flowing waters and watching twilight change into evening in the city was a magnificent experience. In the evening we saw some tango dancers on the roads and despite being close to midnight the piazza was teeming with people having fun.
The coastal city of Viareggio sits at the northern most extent of Tuscany and is probably not as famous as some of the other well known Tuscan cities (Florence, Siena, Pisa, and so on...). However, when traveling, location is everything and Viareggio benefits from its close proximity to Pisa, Lucca, and Forte dei Marmi. All of which are less than a 30 minute drive from the city center and can make excellent day excursions.