Well, I have given up making my blog a detailed chronicle of my trip. However, I think I will write a little bit more on my stay in Italy.
The first two days I stayed in a hostel called "The Yellow" near the Termini station in Rome. It is a good hostel, with air-conditioning (thank God). The hostel is professionally run and well organized, though less personal than smaller hostels. There happened to be quite a few Australian guys who were probably in their early-twenties (in general, there are not many ladies backpacking- I don't know why). I find the Aussies in general are very easy-going, and like having a good time. Though I was too tired to socialize properly with fellow tourists for the first 2 days in Rome. I unexpectedly crossed path with David again, who is from Toronto too, and who I met three times in three different hostels (kind of uncanny)- Amsterdam, Milan and Rome.
The first day, as I wrote before, I hired an Italian guide to give me a general tour in Rome. The next day I spent the day in Vatican museum and St. Peter's Basilica. The third day I decided to switch from my hostel to a Bed and Breakfast in the Trastevere area of Rome. Trastevere is the higher-end neighborhood in Rome, away from the touristy area and the downtown. You have to cross the river "Fiume Tevere" to the other side of Rome. It is a residential area, but full of shops, bars, restaurants and other indemnities. You can see a discrete descent of prices when you enter the residential area, away from the tourists frequented places in Rome. It turned out to be a good choice, because not only I could get a feel of how the normal Italians live in that area, I also got a chance to explore other facets of Rome. I have a tendency to want to be a "fly on the wall", subsuming myself into the everyday world of the locals and observe and savor a slice of their life-styles. I find that infinitely more interesting than confining to the sound and fury of the tourist catering areas. The Bed and Breakfast costs $50 Euros a night (bearable) and I actually had a big private room in a good apartment, with a nice kitchen and a washroom. A bachelor apartment, in effect. I exclaimed "Sweet" several times over.
In fact, switching to this Bed & Breakfast brought a surprising but wondrous incident unto myself. Those of you who could read Spanish would catch a glimpse of the background in my previous blog. However, the details of the entire incident, I will not labour to account it here. The only thing I could say is, the Lord moves in mysterious ways!
The next two days, I spent some more time, walking and visiting the sites which I flew by with my Italian guide. At night, I spent time in the nice Italian neighborhood, having good food and enjoying the company of normal Italians in the neighborhood. It was a good break from the noisy touristy downtown areas.
In general, I find Italians to be warm and welcoming. They smile more, speak louder (of course, contrary to stereotypes, Italians are not annoyingly loud) and are more spontaneous than North Americans. I also observed that when they speak, they tend to have more body gestures...which is not common in the Anglo-Saxon or French, or Northern European cultures.
On the fifth morning in Rome, I packed up and made my way to the airport. I listened to "Aida- Act 3 Fuggiam Gli Ardori Inospiti" by the most famous Italian opera composer Verdi- a patriot to the Italian Republic- on the train and let the full-throat, creamy melodies hit me hard in the stomach before I concluded my trip in Italy.
Italy is a country with lots of history and beautiful scenery, and it has a very distinct ethos, language and people to carry on this living culture. I left Italy, somewhat unsatisfied, not because of the lack of the offering, but rather because I felt that I have not spent enough time to explore fully this country and its people. I think I will be back again though...so wait for me, Italia.
Hi all, welcome to my travelblog. I will soon venture out from my nest in Toronto, Canada and embark on a journey to Europe- The Netherlands, Italy, and Spain for 4 weeks, then I will continue in South America- Argentina, Peru (and maybe Chile and Uruguay) for 7 weeks. In this blog, I shall provide you with a slice of my experiences as I travel across the continents.
There are many places I would like to see, many things I would like to do and many people I would like to meet. I am sure this will be an exciting and exhilarating tour.
It will all start, on July 13, 2009....stay tuned. ... full info
Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the city-states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI establis...more info