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TRAVEL: Italia Part 1 - An Introduction




The Duomo in Florence

An Introduction to My Italian Vacation


Why Italy?
This was the first question people asked me when I told them that I had planned a 10 day vacation to the ancient land of the Roman Empire.

Why ONLY Italy?
The second most common question that everyone, literally everyone asked me when I let them know that I had applied for a Schengen Visa and I planned to only travel to Italy and no other country... The common logic being, if you are paying for a Schengen Visa then why not cover more countries and do the jaded (Milan, Paris, Amsterdam, Geneva) route... The obvious point being, same amount of money, same number of vacation days and you get to cover 4 countries!




So I decided to make my first post about my Italy trip about answering the two questions above and also urging you to plan an adventurous trip to this little albeit beautiful country.
For those who don't follow me on Snapchat (@samyukta_islm), my baby sister and I planned and well executed a 10 day sister's only vacation to Italy...

My sister and I

Why Did I Choose Italy?

I had a number of reasons to choose Italy but the most important one that propelled me to seriously give Italia a thought was the food. I swear! It is the birthplace of pizza, pasta, lasagna, various types of hams and cheese, cappuccino and gelato... Do I really need to say more? I know I am not a food blogger but I love food and more than the gastronomical experience I wanted to see how close or far are the versions of various Italian dishes that we eat in India or say the US than the authentic Italian ones. It was mere curiosity... Yes I seriously do think of things like this :)

The second reason for me to choose Italy was because it wasn't over exposed like how the US or the UK or nowadays even Paris is... Every second person has been there and no I have nothing against that (I may plan my next trip to the UK for all you know) but I somehow wanted to take a different route and not so talked about path and Italy seemed to be a perfect example of it...

The third reason being Italy is a Mediterranean country. I have a thing for Mediterranean countries but I wanted to do Spain and Greece with the pati so Italy was the next obvious choice for an all-girls' vacation... Mediterranean food flavours, temperament and the climate is something that I feel I can still relate to than the Northern European countries...

Italian Riveria - Liguria

The fourth reason being Italy is really diverse where people and the geography are concerned... Ok probably not as diverse as India but for the size of Italy it does exhibit a beautiful diversity and I wanted to explore it, experience it and enjoy it.





Why Did I Decide on Visiting Only One Country?

For those who don't know, most of the European countries come under the Europe Union or EU and you need to get one single visa called the Schengen Visa on which you are permitted to travel all the countries under the EU like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Czech Republic, Hungary etc
And Schengen Visa costs you INR 4000 per person so it is common sense and a matter of practicality that people opt for visiting a number of countries under the one visa that they get. It is a smart move really...

But I wasn't in the mood to be smart :)
I wanted to indulge my curiosity...

I am the kind of person for whom traveling is therapeutic. I don't travel to see places (abroad or in India), I travel to experience it... I have these experiments in my head that I keep conducting when I am traveling in order to find the pulse of the particular place I travel to. I experiment to see what makes people of different cultures tick, get cross or behave in a certain way... Its all a part of some random analysis that keeps going on in my head... Its fucked up sometimes but that's how I am really...
Hence, for me it was important to explore a country. I didn't want to just check a city off my checklist  and say "Oh! I have been to Paris or Milan or the Swiss Alps", I wanted to be able to say I know Italy well enough to tell you the difference between Rome, Milan and Florence. I wanted to know Italy enough to tell you why you should choose Genova over Venice and if you missed a fast train, which local trains to take in order to reach your destination almost at the same time...
In short I wanted to explore to my heart's content...

Enough?
Ok I'll stop :)

What Places Did We Visit in Italy?

It would genuinely have been a successful trip if I could actually travel to all parts of Italy but really fitting it all in just 10 days is pretty impossible and so our itinerary consisted of Rome -> Florence -> Greve in Chainti -> Liguria (La Spezia, Cinque Terre and Genova) -> Milan -> Venice -> Rome
I wish I could have fit in Naples, Sicily and Sardinia too but well for that you need at least 20 days instead of 10 :/ Some day...

The ceiling inside the Vatican Museum

Travel Details

We took an Emirates flight out of Mumbai cause it was pretty reasonable (round trip 40k for 1 person). There was a Kuwait Airways for 34k but I hadn't really read good reviews of the airlines and hence Emirates it was... As with all Emirates flights, we had a halt at the Dubai airport for about 4 hours and then we were onwards to Roma :)

Inside the Emirates Dubai-Rome Flight

The descent into Dubai is simply beautiful, gorgeous actually... All you see is an expansive desert criss-crossed by black tarred 10 lane highways and extremely sophisticated looking network of freeways... For a minute I was speechless and then I went into a picture clicking frenzy :P

Descent into Dubai

The Dubai Desert 

I had heard so much about the Dubai Duty Free that I was almost on the brink of fainting (out of excitement) when we were about to land but honestly, I found it to be ok... Ummmm I don't know, but I thought the Dubai airport to be a little meh :/ Yes there was a section for Gold jewelry that probably was the section that makes Dubai airport stand out in a plethora of international airports but well that's about it... Plus Dubai airport provides free wifi only for 1 hour... The Mumbai T2 terminal and even the Fiumicini Airport in Rome gives unlimited free wifi...
Sorry if I sound cheap but when you have a 4 hours long halt and you gotta pass your time in an Airport of an unknown land (Mobile data not an option), free wifi is something you gotta depend on...

I did buy some beauty products at the Dubai Airport but it was during our return journey (Dubai to Mumbai). While at the halt in Dubai on our way to Rome, we just scoped out the whole airport and made mental lists of stuff we wanted to buy. There was really no point increasing our luggage load just before our vacation started...

Tip
Don't by anything at halts during your onward journey. Make a mental list of what's available and then buy them during your return. It helps you keep things in perspective as well as enjoy your holiday with a lighter luggage. 

Anyhow, the Emirates flight from Mumbai to Dubai was packed but the flight from Dubai to Rome was empty, at least close to empty... It was a delight cause most passengers were Italians and I got to secretly practice my limited Italian. I would try to listen into conversations in Italian and "decode" them in my head. And let me tell you it is not difficult to overhear Italians, they are a little on the louder side just like us :) It's cute really!
I had bought myself an English to Italian book to learn a little Italiano and it was a perfect companion on the Dubai Rome flight :)

Tip
I would always suggest to try to learn some important and common words and phrases in the language of the country you plan to visit. It not only helps you in understanding where you are going, it also helps you create an instant rapport with a local... Imagine a Scandinavian visiting India and other than saying Namaste they actually say "aap se milke khushi hui"... Doesn't it make you want to make the person feel more comfortable in your country? :)
I could actually go on and on but I think I'll stop the post right here...

I plan on doing 3 more posts and they will be on the following lines:
Italy Part 2 - When In Italy...
Italy Part 3 - How did I Plan for my Italian Vacation
Italy Part 4 - The street fashion and makeup trends in Italy
Italy Part 5 - VIDEO - Kiko Milano Haul
Italy Part 6 - Little Tidbits I picked up in Italy and Dubai

Stay tuned, I should have my Part 2 up in a couple of days :)

Comments

  1. ah ah ah... I'm Italian and I need to say... only Rome deserves at least 10 days to reach its core, so if someone asks you again why you choose only Italy you can reply you are a really smart girl!
    I'm curious to read all about your trip here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree Misato :) We did 3 nights in Rome and we are left wanting to more... I plan on visiting Rome again, just me... And I plan to stay for a week at least... I loved the city ♥

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    2. And regarding my next post, it should be up by tomorrow morning :) Do hang around ♥

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