Europe, Italy

Solo Backpacking Europe in 80 days: Italy (part 3)

FLORENCE, PISA & LUCCA» 18-21 February (3 nights)

I left Rome and got my train back to Florence with a new spirit and ready to stand on my own again for as long as my money would let me keep on travelling.
For a weird reason, I felt like Italy was becoming my home. I was getting comfortable, loving my Italian daily breakfasts and wandering the streets as the craziness passed by me. The noise, the yelling, the crazy traffic and the gigantic amount of tourists were part of my days already and I was more than in love with the life I was having.

After another day in Florence eating Pizza, searching for great gelato and exploring some new parts of the city, I decided to head to a small town I’d been excited about, Lucca. I had decided to leave Pisa for another time, but fate made me loose my train and I ended up having to go to Pisa anyway, and I couldn’t be happier for this. I suddenly saw myself loving a town that everybody told me it was “the tower and nothing more”. Lies! Pisa is amazing if you love to wander and get lost and you can appreciate the quiet and the small things in life. The Leaning Tower is a total mess when in comes to tourists! You’ll see people on the floor, jumping and trying to snap that perfect photo. But the rest of the town is as calm as I’d ever witnessed and I was actually sad to leave the place, but I was suppose to spend the afternoon in Lucca, and that’s what I did.

Lucca, on the other hand, was disappointing and it got to the point I thought I should’ve stayed longer than a few hours in Pisa instead of going there. From being lost the entire time, to feeling pure frustration and actually stealing a map, things did not go as planned in this ghost town and I was back to Florence sooner than expected.
Before I even noticed, my time in Tuscany was over, and one more Italian breakfast, a couple of strolls around the city, and obviously some more pizza, I was on my bus to Venice and saying goodbye to a city I’d loved deeply and the one I planned to go back as soon as I could.

VENICE» 21-24 February (3 nights)

After discovering that in Italy changing buses actually means getting out of one, staying one hour in the cold, only to get in the exact same bus, and that Sicilian drivers don’t like that you don’t speak Italian and will kick your backpack in revenge, I finally arrived in Venice. And it took me as little as three hours to find my hostel!

In Venice I learned that my sense of direction needs some serious work and I stayed at a B&B with a perfect location, great free breakfast and a perfect view over the city, but had to endure a snoring old guy in my room who had horrible stinky feet.
I was also unlucky with the weather as it rained the entire time, and I discovered that ignoring the crowds in Venice is a mass dificulty, and that selfie sticks will make you insane. The good part is that I ate the best gelato ever and some amazing fresh pasta with pesto that made my stay worth it.
Venice made me learn that it’s ok to feel alone, to accept that things sometimes don’t work the way you do, that you’ll not always have the luck to stay in a good hostel with great people, and that rain and cold can ruin your stay. Mainly I learned that missing someone and wanting to go back home is not a good reason for you to hop on a train and forget why you’re there in the first place. Solo travel can sometimes get to you, but you need to prove to yourself that you can do it, because you actually can!

BOLOGNA, FERRARA & RAVENNA»24-3 March (7 nights)

Bologna was  the perfect place to end my time in Italy, as I had so much to do there, so much to discover, and basically because I had company and someone to show me the secrets of the city! Did you know that Bologna has seven secrets? Me neither! But on my week there I made sure I discovered almost all of them, and I had a blast doing it!
In Bologna I discovered the “Aperitivo” which is basically the best thing in the world! If you love food, you’ll understand me on this one. It happens every night, before dinner. You buy a drink, most people go for Spritz, and you have access to a great and diverse buffet where you can eat as many times as your stomach can take! Just for this, Bologna won my heart!
If you had exploring the streets with marron colors, to climbing up 493 steps to reach the top of a tower and get the best view over the city, to the Aperitivos, the search for the seven secrets and great company, you’ll get to the conclusion that it might have been a perfect stay!

I had a couple of towns I wanted to explore in Emilia-Romagna, but time and Money didn’t allowed me to do it all, so I only had time for two: Ferrara and Ravenna.
Ferrara was fun! It’s a pretty small place, but with lots to give, and the fact that I explored the city by renting a bike made it all a lot more enjoyable and it allowed my tired feet to take a pause for a couple of hours. Still, my butt didn’t really like the experience and I realized that I don’t have biking mad skills, and I was lucky not to ran over anybody that day

Ravenna was a total disappointment. We went there on the first Sunday of the month, believing the entrance to all museums would be free, which turned out to be false, and me being on a tight budget, meant we didn’t see almost anything of what the place has to offer. Not a place I want to return!
Did I say I had the best meal of my life during this week? If you never heard of Ragu, you should! Imagine a real Italian grandma spending hours cooking this meal, and you having the opportunity to taste it! I was in heaven! Best meal EVER!
I never really thanked to my ex-boyfriend’s friend, who was the person that made all this possible! He found me a place to stay with his friends, he then let me stayed at his home, gave me his grandmother’s Ragu to eat, and drove me to Ferrara and Ravenna, as well as exploring Bologna with me and introducing me to his friends. I can’t thank him enough, and I never really told me how much I appreciated his kindness, so here it goes:thanks for the great week G!

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