Before you read on, there are a few things that you need to know about me….
- I love to travel
- I love adventures
- I love food
- I hate spending a shit load of money on accommodations when I know I will never be in the room
- I love taking photos
2 Months ago….
I had vacation time, and was debating between going to a few cities in the U.S.A or Europe. If I was going to go to Europe, it would have to be for a minimum of 2 weeks – it is such a waste to go to Europe for anything less – to me anyway. So since I had two weeks, Europe it was. Then the decision was between going to a few countries or just one. Normally I hop around from country to country, but with 2 weeks (in the past I have been able to go to Europe for a month or more) hopping around from airport to airport seemed like a waste of time. Once I decided to stick to a single country, which country that would be was clear – Italy. I just love Italy. Italy is that country that I go to when I make a bad decision (3 days in Marseilles??? WTF was I thinking?? Disaster!) The minute I touch Italian ground, everything starts to fall into place: I relax, I smile, breathe easier, take in my surroundings, and understand what is going on around me – I can’t speak Italian, but I can understand it pretty well. And it does not hurt that Italians seem to think I am Italian. Hell yeah, I’ll take that!
So two weeks in Italy? What do I do?
I spent two weeks looking at an Italian map trying to map out a journey – which I hated! I hate over-planning my trips. After backpacking across Europe 3 years ago for over 4 months, I learned to just go with the flow. But with only two weeks? It was dumb not to plan. So this is how I made my decisions on cities, tours, and how much time I spent in each place.
- I had 15 days, but one day I considered lost because of jetlag. So I had 14 days in Italy.
- Decided to fly in to Milan because it was the cheapest – $900 Canadian return. Orbitz.com is my favorite website to book with because I have 48 hours to cancel without a penalty in case I change my mind or happen to find something cheaper. So far I have never had a reason to cancel with them. A friend once had to change her travel plans and Orbitz did not penalize her. Do note that Orbitz prices appear in U.S dollars.
- I chose cities that were near water (I love the ocean), and that offered great day trips – a lot of the time it is not about the city where I base myself, but it is mainly about what is around it. For example, when I stayed in Genova, I stayed there because it was cheaper, convenient and offered me easy access to Cinque Terre. My logic was, why spend over $100 in a tiny room in Cinque Terre where there is nothing to do after 7pm, instead of spending $50 for a beautiful hotel room in Genova where you have a bustling city at your fingertips all day and all night? And if you really wanted to spend the day in Cinque Terre, it is under one hour away by train, and under $10 to get there! I will write more about how to choose your base city.
- I chose one city (Bologna) because there was a tour that received such amazing reviews, that I was too curious not to check out this tour for myself. And guess what? It really was the best thing I did in Italy, and not just because of the food!
- Hostels and hotels were chosen based on their distance from the train station and reviews from Booking.com, Hosterworld, and Hostelbookers.
The cities I stayed in (base cities):
- Lake Como
- San Gimignano
- Cinque Terre (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore)
Wanna know more?
Let me take you on my journey…