For several years my friend Julie and I have talked about going to Italy. And Greece. But mostly Italy. Things came up, money got tight, time got away, and another year went by. No Italy. So last winter Julie told me, “Next year (2014) we are going to Italy.” Ok!
We bought books over Christmas. We talked to friends who had been there. We started reading the books. So many books! So much information! Go here, do this, do that. My head wanted to explode. It’s very overwhelming!
I made notes, talked more to a gal at work and then realized I needed to start making plans. We had settled on the dates (two weeks at the end of September) and the cities (Milan, Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome). We culled these down from also going south to Capri, Naples and the Amalfi Coast. That would have to wait for another trip.
Julie and I looked at some hotels together but I took it upon myself to put an itinerary together (lifted from my friend at work). I even tried to stay at the same hotels, but by the time I tried to book them, they were unavailable. I found all of our hotels on booking.com.
I booked a few tours but mostly we did things on our own. I had to book a city tour of Milan so we could see the Last Supper. All the tickets for just the Last Supper were sold out by the time I looked (one month out).
I got everything done but it was a bit stressful. It’s nice to plan your own trip to go where you want to go and spend the amount of time YOU want to spend, but there is something to be said about having it all planned for you. I was super stressed out when we left. Once we got going, I was fine. We had a few bumps in the journey, but that makes it even more interesting, right? My advice? Find someone who has been where you want to go. Pick their brain and copy their itinerary. Don’t reinvent the wheel. That saved me! Also, start booking hotels as far out as you are able. Pay attention when they say there is no transportation to the hotel. I did and still had some issues. Last, realize you cannot see and do everything. Pick your highlights and enjoy it, and don’t think twice about anything you are “missing.” Make it YOUR experience not someone else’s from a book. They are very helpful, but that’s what they are there to do. Help you.
Overall, we had a fabulous trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Do your homework and you can make your dream trip happen. My next posts will be city-by-city with a few pics thrown in. I took over 1,000 so I can’t put them all in here! Now, on to Milan!