Monday, November 25, 2013

Quotes from Italy

Sharing some words I saw outside a museum in Rome. I thought they were pretty cool. Click image to read.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Accomodation in Italy

I thought I'll just write one entry on our accommodation in Italy unlike previous blog entry where every location has its own entry. Considering the amount of data I want to upload here, I thought it would be easier to write one entry that consist of all the information. So let's start. I only have 4 places to talk about in this post anyway. All accommodation was booked via, the internet's best place to find cheap and value for money accommodating.

We stayed in 5 different places in a span of 2 weeks. The start and the end was at Milan Nettuno Hotel (Cost 50 Euro per room per night + 2 Euro per person per night city tax). I have no photos of this establishment what so ever cause well, we didn't really like staying here. It's cheap and convenient in terms of being near the Milan Centrale station and walking distance to the shopping district and all, but frankly, staying here was depressing for us. Period. Next!
Our next stop was at Vernazza, one of the town in Cinque Terre. We stayed at Elisabetta at 5 Via St Francesco (Cost 50 Euro per room per night). It was easy to find as they emailed me the direction to get there. We were suppose to arrive at 1500H, but due to some problem with the train, we arrived at 1300H instead, but the two person who was in the process of cleaning the apartment for us was kind enough to let us check-in. It was a delightful little place located at a slope, which could have easily accommodated 4 person comfortably. It feels very cosy, and they provided drinking glasses and a water cooker which I really like cause that means I can make my own hot chocolate at night. The whole place just feels very homey, and I absolutely adore the glass front door.

Next stop was at Riomaggiore, another town in Cinque Terre. We stayed at Viadeibanch (Cost 65 Euro per room per night), an apartment on the 3rd floor in one of the buildings on the main road of the town. Again, we arrived early, so we called to see if we could check-in at 1400 instead of 1500. A nice lady came by to open up the place for us. It was modern looking inside, and we also have access to the 4th floor where the other rooms and office were. There was even a roof top patio, but we didn't go up there as it was raining most of the time. What we did enjoyed was looking out of the window in the morning as you could see the whole street from there. At the back of the apartment, the lady's husband has a space area where he makes wine. We had a chance to see him in action. Lovely place with lovely people. Thumbs up!

After Cinque Terre, we moved to Venice and stayed at Locanda SS. Giovanni e Paolo (Normally Cost 60 Euro per room per night + 2 Euro per person per night city tax, but room price increases on special occasions), which is a small inn. Getting there was slightly challenging as our train from Milan was late 1.5 hours. We had to call to say we won't make it in time as their office close at 8pm. They told us to get the keys from another hotel nearby which is open 24/7. We soon found out that reception there were hardly existing, so it's really kinda private if you like it that way, but hard to find help when you need it. Anyway, this location cost the most in all of our accommodation, and I booked it because of the venetian decorated room they advertise on. We have bedside Murano lamps and a chandelier in our room! And although at first I though breakfast was included, apparently it was not. But no complaints there as we're all expert in finding food anyway. It's located on a lane of a main street, so it can get noisy at times.

Lastly, perhaps our favorite places was surprisingly in Rome, at B&B Casa Suri (Cost 45 Euro per room per night + 2 Euro per person per night city tax). There was no Suri, and there was no breakfast provided, but there was a very nice lady name Daniella and her super chubby cat that took great care of us. We were actually living in a part her apartment, but it was very private. I love the color of the room and how it was decorated. Everything was so pretty and clean. It was located on the 5th floor with an old elevator in the building. Most of the times we just took the stairs. I also found out that the location of the place was on a rough area, south of the Rome Termini Station which was not a recommended place to be in at night. Still, we felt pretty must at home here, probably because the people the guide book was warning others about were etnic groups of Indians, Chinese etc, and we were part of one of the groups. This place also reminded me very much of the apartment we stayed in when we were in France.

Milan - Hotel Nettuno
Cinque Terre, Vernazza - Elisabetta
Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore - Viadeibanch
Venice - Locanda SS. Giovanni e Paolo
Rome - B&B Casa Suri

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Postcards from Italy

It was an amazing adventure that started out from a DIY paint by number which I got to work on. It was a painting of an Italian Riviera. And I knew that I wanted to visit that painting. So starts the Italy trip planning, in the year 2013, for two weeks. And the key place of visit was the Cinque Terre, 5 towns that look like my painting. I just got back last week, and I am unsure how I should start the blog entry of my trip as there are still severe backlog of other things I have been meaning to blog about. But life is short, and I've decided to just do what I love as this is after all, my own personal blog. So I thought I'll start by sharing with you postcards from Italy. The two on top are of Vernazaa (right), and Riomaggiore (left), the two place that we stayed at in Cinque Terre. The photo was taken at an awesome jazz cafe at Manarola on one rainy afternoon while we were waiting for our train to take us back to Riomaggiore.
My mother has asked that I send her postcard while I was there, as I have cultivated a habit of sending postcards home from places I've visited in the past. She also does not have access to the internet, so postcards were a way for me to keep in touch with her while I am away. Postcards were cheap enough at Italy, you could get some for 50 cent Euro (SGD 0.85) or less. But the postage was ridiculously expensive, at 2 Euro(SGD 3.39)  per card! And it's not even a stamp! It's just a postage label sticker! Pist! I think I send a total of 7 cards home, 2 to myself, 5 to my parents. Luckily 2 of the postcards were sent from Vatican City which understood the concept of stamps. The postcards above are of Venice, and Burono (an island near Venice), and the photo was taken at a cafe at Rome Termini Station while we were waiting to check-in to our hostel.
This last photo was taken in Milan one rainy afternoon while we waited to visit the Last Supper which eventually was not open due to strikes. Somehow I like photos that documents the places that I've been. I did got some postcards from Milan, but those were the first batch, and I didn't manage to take a photo of them. Anyway, this one is taken with a Milan guide book I borrowed from the NLB in Singapore. I took along with me 3 guide books (Milan, Venice, and Rome). It's strange that there are always room for books in my bag even though I'm backpacking :)

It was a great trip. At some point I did get exhausted and missed home. But it is a privilege to be able to travel, and so I will love every minute of it and not complaint. I should target to backpack for one month next time, before my body gets too weary from old age. I love the fact that after one week of backpacking, my arms and legs were all shaped up nicely.

Stay tune as I slowly reveal more photos from my trip. Cheers.