In 2010, my family and I went to Italy for 3 weeks. One of the highlights of that trip was the Cinque Terre – 5 lands in English; it’s called so literally because of the 5 towns that compose it namely: Monterosso, Vernazza, Cornigla, Manarola and Riomaggiore. These 5 villages cling to the Italian Riviera coastline and embrace the Mediterranean Sea. The villages of the Cinque Terre in a bird’s eye view are somewhat the same in a sense that they all have pastel colored little buildings; they’re famous for their pesto; they are all built on cliffs and they have their own beach fronts (except for Corniglia). However, each town is unique in its own way; they have their own personality that differs them from one another. The primary attraction of the Cinque Terre is the trail that connects each village together that is being maintained by the UNESCO World Heritage. This is why the Cinque Terre is a famous destination for back packers and adventurous tourists, although not as popular as the big cities, but it’s slowly getting there.
Continue reading “Cinque Terre Walk: The Mother of All Trails”
Ahh Rome! Niko, a die-hard fan of Gladiator, was extremely overwhelmed when we step foot in this magnificent ancient city. I, myself was thrilled to see this mesmerising metropolis once again. It’s funny how Niko and I see this city in utterly different perspectives; he sees it as the great empire that ruled almost the entire world, the many battles and wars they have conquered and the numerous countries they reigned. I on the other hand see it as how Audrey Hepburn saw it in the movie Roman Holiday and I was determined to do exactly what she did in that one day she escaped from the palace.
Thanks to airbnb.com, we found our place in Rome. I took a gamble when I booked this; it was a bit far from the city center and we stayed in an extra room in an apartment owned by an Italian/Croatian couple. What attracted me most to this apartment was the price, the accessibility to the metro and the quick response of the host. When we arrived at the train station, she met us right outside with a big hug and a few kisses; it felt like we were long-lost relatives and she was even kind enough to look after our bags while we bought a few groceries for dinner.
Vinka Bibic was the best host! She showed us her lovely home, introduced us to her dog, presented to us our “home” for the next 4 days and the best part, we had wine and cocktails at her balcony; we talked non-stop until the sun fully set. Vinka wasn’t only our host, she became our friend, so Vinka, if you’re reading, I want to say thank you again and hope to see you in Croatia.
As I’ve said a million times before, the best way to explore the city is by foot. Since we live far, we got an all day train ticket for 6 Euros each. We started off in Piazza di Spagna. It gets jam-packed on summer but we were lucky enough to see it just right before the peak season. We walked up the steps to the very top and we got our first glimpse of glorious Rome. The Spanish Steps is a good place to start your walking tour of the city because its walking distance from all the must-see sites. The reason why I wanted to go here first is to mimic Audrey Hepburn’s photo with Gregory Peck. Let me know if you think its good or not. Well at least I tried!
Continue reading “ROMAN HOLIDAY”
We found our place at www.airbnb.com. It was Giada’s Lovely Apartment in the heart of Florence for 40,00 Euros/night for 2. It was such a catch! The apartment was a 5 minute walk from Sta. Maria Novella Station and also a 5-minute walk to the city centre. What more can you ask for? The best part was that it was just on the 2nd floor! At this point of our trip, we already had 3 luggages which was very hard to carry around — the less stairs, the better!
Giada shares her apartment when she’s away. It’s like staying at a friend’s room which made it very cozy. I really recommend her apartment
We left Venice at 10am and arrived in Florence just in time for lunch. Another city another reason for a good lunch! Nik and I always reward ourselves from the tiresome train travels – Fave part! We ate at San Carlo, a restaurant really near the apartment. Another pricey lunch but not as much as our dinner in Venice!
We acquainted ourselves with the city by foot as usual. You’d be stunned by how much walking we do all day and to my dismay not a single pound was shed from my body!! After almost a week in this country, I came to the conclusion that “diet” is impossible to do in Italy with all the irresistible carbs (pastas, pizzas, Paninis) we eat all day.
First stop was Sta Maria Novella Church – only because we stumbled into it while walking to the Duomo from the apartment.
How cool is this??? It took me a while to figure out how they did it.
Continue reading “FIRENZE: MUSEUMS, MUSEUMS and SHOPPING!”
We spent 1 night and an entire day in Venice before taking the train to Mogliano Veneto (2 stops from Sta, Lucia) where we spent the next two nights in an apartment owned by an Italian/Chinese family who spoke very little English. (2 nights at this place was cheaper than our 1 night in Venice.) The apartment even had an authentic Chinese Restaurant right below which Nik and I ate at for the entire stay. We had our own kitchen, a balcony, bathroom and wifi was free! And they were so kind to fetch us from the train station. We felt so at home with Giady and her family. After spending an entire day walking around Venice, this place was heaven! The next day we took the train to Verona.
I just have to post a photo of me and Nik in the train because we had to pay FOURTY FIVE EUROS for it – EACH!!!! It’s not supposed to be this expensive but we made the mistake of purchasing a direct ticket. Instead of arriving in Verona in an hour we got there in 20 minutes and it’s only supposed to be 15 Euros!! So you have to really tell them “SLOW TRAIN.”
Continue reading “Romeo! O Romeo! Where art thou, my Romeo?”