Notes of travelling in Italy
About to leave Italy tomorrow, and somehow I am looking forward to going back to the “reality”. I spent in total about 11 days in italy. First half in Pisa for some work related matter, and the latter half in Florence, where I thought I would never go before 30 yo.
I have to say that I really enjoyed these two cities. I have walked almost every street of these two cities, and tried to observe and listen to the local life style. Without knowing what would come up, both the cities offered me quite many surprises.
Pisa is most famous for its leaning tower, but its festivals are equally interesting. With 5-9 euros, you can get pretty nice pisa/pasta. I was worried about having “noodles” (sorry, I know this generalized term may sound offensive), but I really really loved the pasta dishes. If you are willing to spend more, you can also get some pretty fancy cooking as well.
I kinda like watching people near the leaning tower doing the typical pushing movement, all together, at the same time. It was just very amusing…
I lived in a B&B in the second half of my time in Pisa. The inn keep was a very nice Italian lady, who did not speak that much English. We had some pretty good conversation about the Italian family values and the way the people in the small city think where Italian should go. As time goes by, it seems like the changing force of the world is breaking up the way of living in many places.
First of all, Florence has quite much to see. Paintings, statues, gardens, architectures, and even people on the streets. If you are an art lover or an artist by yourself, then you probably are in heaven. I had chills when I saw some of the masterpieces in the museums.
However, I found that the quality of food is not really as comparable to those in Pisa. If you want something really good, a much higher price is expected unless you are away from the main part of the city. When you cross the river, the other side offers better choices with reasonable prices, as well as many cheaper grocery stores since that is the area where most of the “real” Florence people live.
The sun in July in Florence is really nasty, and unfortunately water here is not cheap in general. For some tourist sites, it can cost up to 2 euros for 1/2 L. If you want to save some cash on water, tap water is safe to drink, and with ~ 1 euro you can get 2L ice tea or mineral water from some grocery stores across the river. Wine is of relatively good price if you want to have some nice time at your hotel.
On dressing: someone told me to wear light color clothes..didn’t figure out why till a day later… all my clothes got salt stains from sweating…sure it will look less obvious for light color clothes…
Bidet: still haven’t quite figure out how to use it… maybe someone can give me some advice?
Bathroom alarm: there is always a string with a handle on the wall right next to the toilet/shower…if you are in trouble, it is suggested to pull it. It really is a good instrument, but we accidentally pulled it in our hotel, and obviously nobody from the hotel said anything.
For the trip, I really have to thank iphone for its extremely convenient navigation functions as well as the tripadvisor app. I was able to run in the city free of a paper map, and did not need to worry about getting lost in some small lanes. Whenever I feel like eating or checking out some fun sites, all I need to do is pull out the phone and check the nearest sites on the app, which gives me the rating and and exact address. The “Point me there” tool is a bit off by about 100ft, but once you are in the neighborhood, you are good to find the exact location yourself.