Pictures and Observations from Italy

Posted on November 6, 2015


This post is mainly to showcase some of the pictures I took on my 11-day vacation to Italy. This is also my first blog on my travels. I find myself wanting to write this to remind myself that it wasn’t all just a dream. The observations may serve no other purpose than expose my naivete as a traveller. But what the hell, I am sure there are people (like me) who do not read Rick Steves and actually plan travels by gawking at Pinterest! (Yes, I did that and frankly do not regret it!)

  1. There are no elevators! I am glad I took only 1 carry on bag. In fact, I did not end up using all the clothes or shoes I took. This is the lightest I have travelled and I think I can travel even lighter! Wow!
  2. AirBnB was a better option than staying in hotels. It actually provided a glimpse into the lives of the local people. In Rome, we stayed at Campo di Fiore which was just a short walk from Piazza Navona and some of the best restaurants we ate at! The Colosseum would have been a 15-20 minute walk, but we took the bus as we were doing a tour that involved a lot of walking. In Venice, it was also the cheaper option. Hotels were prohibitively expensive!
  3. You move from the pot to another cold pot and wash your bum! Weird-cool!

    You move from the pot to another cold pot and wash your bum! Weird-cool!

    There were no toilet seats in restaurants 80% of the time, may be more. Most restaurants had common toilets for men and women. Some of them did not have running water or toilet paper. TIP: always carry toilet paper in your bag. All the places we stayed at had bidets in the bathroom! I had never ever seen one or even heard of one. It was weird for me, even though I am Indian and I should be rejoicing that there’s water available to clean my bum!

4.  Yes, guide books and travellers will tell you that you simply have to go to Rome, Florence and Venice. But make sure you also add some time away from the madding crowds. Like a day trip in Tuscany, going to a Chianti vineyard perhaps? We went to the hot springs in Saturnia. We drove from Florence to Sovicille (near Siena) and drove on from there to Saturnia after a night halt.

5. You don’t HAVE to go to the museums. Spend time doing what you love. I am not ashamed to say that I skipped the Accademia and Uffizi galleries in Florence. I honestly know nothing about art and I didn’t want to go in just so I could tell people that I saw David, buck naked in the courtyard!

6. It is hard to find authentic places to eat, but do look for them as the prices will be more manageable and the taste will be exemplary.

7. We walked everywhere and were averaging 15,000-17,000 steps on our FitBit each day. There were days we crossed 20,000 steps easily. You know what that means! We indulged in sheer gluttony! Wine and dessert at every meal. We at least did not pack on weight as we likely would’ve, had we not walked it all off. (We sadly did put on a bit of weight, but no regrets there!)

8. We took a local sim card. We went with Vodafone. But you can choose Wind too. We got a 35 € plan that included the sim card, 300 local minutes and 2GB data. We found it convenient to navigate while driving into Tuscany and while Yelping or scouring Trip Advisor for restaurant suggestions. The phone stays local no matter where you travel in the country – no roaming for phone or data anywhere in Italy.

9. Italy is a very modest country. At least in the places that we visited. I am not sure if it was mainly because it was October and it was cooler (for them! We found it hot and lovely!), but we found no exposed shoulders or legs.

10. Water is charged in most restaurants. Carry your own bottle. You can refill it at any of the plenty fountains across the country.

11. Guide books and websites are right. If you want to go to any of the paid attractions – BOOK AHEAD, BOOK AHEAD, BOOK AHEAD.

12. We chose to use our debit cards to get money. We found that it was the best exchange rate we got. You should evaluate your options and see which option works best for you. (Shh! We forgot to take Euros with us! Shhh!)


Posted in: Travel