Italy. What comes to mind? More wine than water? Gelato instead of Starbucks on every curved shaped alley? Impeccable hill-top views of cities radiant by candle-lit hearts? Or maybe you think of the 3 P’s? Pizza, pasta, and princess-like patience?
Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
Ask me if I’ve ever shouted at anyone other than family members or my partner. Ask me if I’ve ever bluntly demanded a stranger to ‘shut-up’. Ask me if I’ve ever cried due to frustration out of my now 3 visits to Europe. But then again, ask me if I’m a people pleaser and outdid myself by tugging along 6 different personalities on a trip I planned alone.
My mother has instilled in me great values in all aspects of life, including not causing a scene in public. Coincidentally, my mother, one of the most patient people known to mankind, made it a point to criticize a RyanAir airline attendant’s rude and unprofessional demeanor, for her inability to make eye contact with my mom, her unwillingness to answer simple questions, and her disinterest and attending us all together. Fast forward to RyanAir airline attendant number 3 – my scene with the Spanish blondie in the pony. Without boring you, there was a lot of head-bobbing attitude (by her), raised voices (by both), name calling (by me), threats (by her), and a person losing her cool and sensibility after being treated poorly several times in a time span of half an hour. I greeted each and every one of these people with my most worn accessory, my smile. The blondie in the pony was a close call to me taking off my hoop earrings. The question that has been on my mind since then, with no real answer yet, is if it is better to be kind than right?
Back to Italy. In short, Venice is a place where a bus is a boat, a car is a boat, and a taxi is a boat. With that being said, those who get sea sick, approach with caution. Florence was another dream. Chianti made me feel like royalty. With it’s endless rows of grapes, ancient Tuscan villas, scents of reds, whites and cheese, and a white-laced dress that made me feel beautifully myself. Rome was next. Three days in our final stop was not nearly enough. We were lucky to have explored Trastevere, the Orange Garden, the Vatican, and so much more. Yet, I absolutely wish we had more time to Rome. 😉
Things I learned:
- If a less crowded, more mellow vibe is preferred, I would stay in the island of Murano. It is about a 15 minute boat ride to Venice.
- Be prepared to encounter fog – and lots of it. Don’t be scared if the boat drivers are unable to see after a short distance. You would just be dropped off as close to your destination as possible.
- Do take trains from city to city. They’re cheap, easy, fast, and comfortable.
- Ditta Artigianale – Don’t know about dinner, but DO have breakfast here! You write your order on a sheet of paper, present it to the cashier, pay, and sit and wait.
- Gusta Osteria – You guys. Their meatballs. That’s all I have to say.
- La Cova – A Spanish tapas place in Florence. Delicious sangria served in the cutest pitcher, great service, and beautiful decor throughout.
- Stay as close to the city center as possible or your time will be spent on buses.
- The buses aren’t free? Long story short, be sure to find a magazine stand where bus passes are sold.
- Explore, get lost, and fall in love all over again in Trastevere.
- Open Baladin – when you’re sick of pizza and pasta, go here. Burgers, fries, beer, what more do you want?
- For an impeccable view of the city, be sure go visit The Spanish Steps. For an equally impeccable view, yet less touristy, go to The Orange Garden. I liked the Orange Garden a tad bit more.
- Get lost. Don’t be afraid. You find the best things that way.
- DO travel in a small group. Like a party of 2. Six was sadly a big mistake.
- Be prepared to be unbelievably exhausted. My partner and I were falling asleep on boat rides, trains, and probably zoned out in the shower.
- Put your camera/phone down. Enjoy the moment(s). Reflect on life, or simply, the beauty that’s right in front of you.
- The Italian language is worth learning. But when all else fails, you’ll get by comfortably with Spanish.
- Don’t waste your time doing things you do at home. Eat different foods, try to speak the language, be respectful and culturally appropriate, and let go.
All content is a L.A. CORONA original unless otherwise posted.