Drafted 2 days ago on the plane – consequently got a fever on the flight, had a crazy taxi ride through the hills and narrow roads of Lisbon while our driver couldn’t find out accommodation, couldn’t contact our airbnb host to let us in (at 1.30am), and eventually managed to settle in at 2am. Went for a kebab, came back and locked ourselves out. Catastrophe galore!
Today marks Kathy and i’s last flight together – a nice evening plane ride from Spain to Portugal, scheduled to get us to Lisbon at a reasonable time to settle in and have a good night’s sleep ahead of a jam packed tday tomorrow. But in a similar tune to the rest of this trip, things didn’t go to plan and our flight has been delayed for 3.5 hours . It’s now 11.30pm as we finally leave beautiful Barca behind.
I realised there was a window of time between arriving in Rome and departing for Ibiza that I hadn’t accounted for – I’ll get around to doing in this post. I initially created this blog primarily for family and friends, but as time goes by, it’s also evolved to become a bit of a memoir for my future self. This is why my musings may end up being too over detailed and boring – my long term memory isn’t the greatest so it can’t be relied on!
Anyway, Italy was amazing and I’m glad to be returning at a later stage -there’s still so much to do. Despite warnings about weather being unbearable in August, we were lucky to have cooler overcast days which made the experience quite pleasant. Yes, we saw monuments and yes they were swarming with tourists, but it was surreal seeing these structures in person and being able to marvel at how they continue to withstand the tests of time after all these years. I’m not sure why, but the Pantheon was personally one of my biggest wow moments.
With only 3 days in Italy, we somehow managed to cram a day trip to Florence and Pisa. It was a really tight schedule (sight seeing in Florence – journeying 1 hour out of town to “the mall” luxury outlet – getting back to town to go Pisa – returning to Rome on the last train) and the weather was due to be horrible, yet miraculously everything worked in our favour thanks to good timing, rescheduled train rides and a chance meeting with a taxi driver just when we thought we were going to miss the train back to Rome (totally got ripped off for this though – €20 for a 5min ride lol)
Now some handy things to note
- Don’t accept help from “good Samaritans”. We were cluelessly looking at a train schedule, when a young girl asked if she could help us. After telling us what platform to go to for our train, we were asked to cough up €5
- There don’t seem to be many instructions on how to get out to “The Mall” shopping outlet. This is where brands such as Prada, Gucci, YSL, Armani and Burberry have their outlet stores . Public transport doesn’t really offer a direct route and being an hour away, taxis wouldn’t be cheap. but we accidentally discovered that there is a dedicated shuttle service that runs between Firenze SMN and the mall, every half hour for €5 per direction. Tickets can be purchased from the bus ticket window in the train station (on the right hand side before you exit out to the road). The bus shelter is across the road, towards the right hand side of the station. The outlet itself is quite nice and there are good bargains to be found! Prada is easily the biggest store, but expect older stock.
- Unlike Croatia, it’s not really that necessary to book transport in advance in Italy.
- Trastevere – didnt get to go at night (supposedly it’s the place to be) but has some good places to eat. We found a tiny local cafe (like actually local I.e not much English spoken) called Bar Lillo which ended up having the best pasta of this trip. 2 delicious pastas and wine set us back only 30AUD, which is a steal for such a good wholesome meal.
- Staying near Termini station feels a bit seedy late at night, but the location has good restaurants and is great for bus/metro travel and airport shuttles
Now that we’re talking food, I’ve always been wary of eating Italian in Australia (too many disappointing experiences), but OMG food in Italy is honestly the best tasting and best value we’ve had on the whole trip. Dishes are simple, but executed extremely well. And a good dinner can still be easily found after 11pm – a far cry from late night maccas/kebab runs (but Margherita pizzas from Insomnia will still do the job for me after 1 too many after work drinks..).
For next time I’m in Roma;
- see the Vatican City
- Have an awesome gelato (I ruined my appetite for it after eating too much in other countries)
- Eat eat eat – gnocchi and ravioli still haven’t been ticked off the list yet!
Next post – a backdated recap of Barcelona (ie more raving about food). The days are flying by too fast!