Saturday, September 25, 2010

Home to Italy 2010 Is NOTHING like a trip on $50 a day.....

Today a solo  trip home to Italy requires more planning and a lot more HELP.
I have signed up for a global "watch" to give me assistance if i run into trouble.   Nice but I can't even use the Italian phone system without help!   One year,before cell phones, until I met a very helpful shop keeper in Venice I could NOT call the airlines to change my ticket.     I ended up phoning from a public booth in the middle of a piazza!  A little noisy.

I plan to go back to this shop and spend money on xmas gifts as a thank you for her kindness.  I often wonder if the people who touch my life while traveling even notice or remember the incidents that meant so much to me.
When I am in Sorrento next month I will visit the Tuesday market just to see if the man who sells cheese remembers me.   I still can feel the thrill the day I visited the weekly market when his face lit up with a big smile and a buongiorno!     I felt as if I actually belonged.   Perhaps  I just looked like someone else he knew but no mater.

Being an observer and not always a participant I notice reactions, facial expressions, gestures that never seem to be seen by others.   Example:  the flower vendor was offended when the tourist wanted to take a photo and NOT buy a plant.    When I always asked for one vegetable at a time, I often received exasperated looks that I was a waste of time.

But back to prep work for a month+ solo in Italy:   Now I require trip insurance and the more important insurance to ship you home if you become ill  or worse die while away.    A procedure I did not care to discuss with the insurance agent.   After insurance you find a place to buy Euros.   You forward the mail.
Find someone to pay your bills on time.   Have someone do your yard work so the neighbors do not think you have walked away from your mortgage.    And then there is packing.

Does anyone else pack by putting everything they have every wanted to take to Italy with them on every flat surface in your room.  Sort by colors, Cross sort so colors work with several different items,  on and on and on.  Eliminate, eliminate.

But my favorite was deciding what remedies for what ever possible condition you could ever come down with in a few short weeks:  itches, pains, scrapes, blisters, etc.    And then there are the hair products........

All this will fit into a 40 lb bag!   This year I have a 7lb suitcase which will give me 4 extra pounds of stuff  I can bring that I  may not use.

So back to the sorting and stacking.   Guess I really do not need that "out to dinner dress" since I don't know anyone and to stay in my 100 Euros a day budge,  I shall be having a good lunch and probably pizza for dinner.

If you have the perfect packing list, let us know.

Italy on 100 a day, Ha!

Do you mean $100.00 a day or 100 Euros a day?
Remember the Frommer travel books that showed you on the summer before or after college graduation, how to travel for 3 weeks to all the countries in Western Europe for $50.00 a day?  
I took that trip my junior year with two other girls and we ate where Arthur told us, booked b&b's where he suggested and did the trip on little money.
We were not back packers.  I had worked two jobs the previous summer to pay for the adventure. 
 If you can believe this, jeans were just becoming popular,  yes there was a time before jeans.   You will see the 3 of us in our photos in Izod look alike dresses, our practical rain coats and luggage before they came with wheels.

So now i am returning to Italy (my 8th or 9th trip) solo, seeing if the 30 day trip can be done for 100Euros a day.  I gave up on the idea of $100 a day when I found prices up about 20E from my last trip 18 months ago.

I will not be sleeping in hostels, couch surfing or in train stations.   My trip includes a week in a large apartment in Spoleto in Umbria and several guest houses/hotels run by convents in Rome and Florence. 

I leave in 4 days and of course I am not packed and do not have hotels booked for 1/4th of the trip!   But that is part of the adventure.

See you next in Italia!    All my Italian American amici write and tell me your favorite town/city in Italia.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Why do you Go to Italy solo?

I hear this everytime I start to plan, pack and become frenzied peparing for my return Home To Italy every year or 18 months.  
How do you explain the pull that Italy has?  
How do you explain what it is like to feel the energy of the people in a market?

How do you explain the marvel that the 800+ year old building is still being used and how did they do that without steel supports?

I have stopped trying to explain the intangible feeling that solo travel to an Italian American returning to Italy feels..........
and so glad i have that spark that makes it so exciting....

Solo Travel To Rome: where to eat solo????

As I prepare for my 8th solo Trip Home to Italy I asked a colleague where would she recommend to eat, solo, in Rome
I think I shall try at least one of them next week when I am home in Italia!!!

Here are some restaurants for a solo dinner:

1 - "Le Finestre” in via Chiana 80, Tel.: 06-8551076, This is an informal restaurant for every age that serves pizza, meat and salads. Outdoor space. The area is Trieste near Parioli (villa Borghese)

2 - Always in Trieste is "Napolitanos", an Italian Steak House, there is another one in NYC, that also serves pasta and salads in viale Regina Margherita 72, Tel.: 06-8844684, 
slightly dim, relaxing atmosphere inside and an outdoor space in spring/summer, casual, also for solo people who are in Rome for work

3 - In the historic centre in a side street off  piazza del Popolo there is "Gusto" which is restaurant, pizzeria, bar. There is always a lot going on, casual and mixed customers.

Where do you suggest a solo traveler to eat in Rome???

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Perugia Chocolate Festival!

who thought up the most wonderful 'holiday' in the world?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Villa Rental In Umbria and Olive Picking/Pressing near Pisa and learning Italian in Todi!

I am going Home To Italy after more than 18 months since my last visit.
It is like a fix, chocolate, wine, face book,  something that completes your day and enhances your life.
While talking with a stranger about Italy I was amazed that they understood how addictive Italy can be.   Almost from the time you step off the plan or the ship if you are lucky to have that method of arrival, something happens.  Life becomes animated, people are seen in color, I feel more alive.  Perhaps it is becaue I can understand some of what they say and listening to their daily conversations is like watching a movie.  When you view life from the outside/in it can be very interesting.

Back to the topic!   I have not posted in weeks because I was finishing a 23 year career that I closed this week, tried to sell a house to finance the plan to move Home To Italy (yes that was a joke in todays market) and organizing my next adventure:  30 days in country and a 2 week sail back to NYC.

Have so much to share and I shall post each in turn, so stay tuned for my life, Home to Italy.