Published: August 1st 2009July 6th 2009
bunsen burner, tent, sleeping bag, clothes...
hello everybody who still reads this, how are you?
The next segment of my travels is in Europe. I have never been to this part of the world, so I am really excited to step foot into this continent. Well, Europe has always been a coverted choice as a travel destination, but stayed out of my reach due to its increasing cost of living. I am fortunate enough to be granted a study exchange program with the University of Zagreb, Croatia, for a semester. Before lessons officially starts, I have plans to explore Europe.
First destination: Italy. Why? Because Angela is there currently with Marco, who can host us for a week. Needless to say, the ancient Roman architecture, fantastic food, and world-class fashion are pretty strong pull-factors as well. The next question I asked myself was: Which part of Italy do I want to see? Popular areas were Rome, Milan, Venice, Sicily, Florence, the list goes on. Well, really, I want to see it all. But the popularity of these places in summer, combined with the "touristy-ness" of these destinations, would make the trip very costly, after factoring in accommodation, transportations and what have you not.
typical italian-style windows
then suggested: Why don't we just cycle italy, and just camp along the way? That would surely be the cheapest way.
Andy: Hmm, I have hitchhiked in Laos, drove down the East Coast of Australia, and travelled into Pakistan. What better way to see Italy on the cheap, and to add another "classic moment" into my travel repertoire? Let's do it!
And then, it all began. The plan was to cycle from Florence to Naples. All 800km of it. Stopover in Rome for a few days in between. We then started our preparation - route planning, bike repair skills, buying light camping gear, securing our flights.. the list goes on. Many a times along our preparation we would ask ourselves: do we really wanna do this? It's pretty... crazy. The same answer always relieved our doubts: We're young, free of commitments, and able-bodied. Why not?
A 12-hr flight with a stopover in Dubai landed us in Venice. Marco and Angela picked us up promptly, and drove back to Marco's place. The drive was scenic - but one thing bothered us. We were surrounded by mountainous terrain, and the thought of pedalling up steep slopes on our bicycles fully
ahh. good times
loaded with camping and cooking equipment doesnt really conjure the image of a relaxing holiday!
We soon settled into Marco's place, and had lovely homecooked Italian meals everyday. It was beautiful food. The use of fresh ingredient from local farms resulted in simple yet tasty meals. A stark difference from frozen food that city dwellers buy from chain supermarkets. Also, these local produces meant that wine and cheese were cheap - allowing us to indulge in them on an occasional basis! Yum..
Before we had to start our biking expedition, we took a day-trip to world-renowned Venice, the city of canals...
There are more photos below