Italy, 2006 Recap

Since I don’t travel full-time, I figured that instead of doing a monthly recap, I would recap each of my trips following the full posts. These recaps will contain highs, lows, logistics, funny anecdotes, pictures, etc. that I likely didn’t include in the full posts.

Without further ado, my Italy trip!

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Countries: 1 – Italy
Year: 2006
Number of Days: 7, including travel
Cities Visited: 3 – Assisi, Florence, & Rome
Favorite city: Assisi
Favorite site: The Colosseum
Type of trip: School
Money Spent: Unfortunately for this trip, given that it was a school trip and happened over 9 years ago, I no longer remember the amount of money spent getting there or even on things I purchased (a few of which I still have and wear/use).

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Highs:

  • The history! Being surrounded by ancient buildings, stepping on original cobblestones, standing in places where people lived their lives (and in some cases, lost them), etc. all gave me constant chills! Particularly at the Colosseum.
  • Traveling with friends. My best friend, Alex, and I signed up to do the trip together, which is where we ended up becoming best friends with another pair -Brit & Nicole. The four of us became close during the fundraising portion of the pre-trip, while standing at the side of the road trying to get cars to come down to our car wash. We bonded over how many guys honked at us instead of supporting our car wash.
  • Assisi. I fell head over heels in love with this little medieval town, and I definitely want to return some day. The more I think about Assisi, the fonder it grows in my thoughts, and I don’t think that’s necessarily just the nostalgia factor.
  • Seeing the Sistine Chapel. It’s an unforgettable experience, that’s for sure.
  • Finding people were friendlier to us when they realized we were Canadian. I debated on whether to put this in the highs or lows section, largely because our school was traveling with a school group from Texas, and things were rocky at times. When the Texas group realized Italians were being nicer to us because of our nationality, they went out of their way to bedeck themselves with Canadian pins and stickers. It was hard to feel too sorry for them though, as they drove off on the bus in Rome’s rain, flipping us the finger as they went off to a special dinner prepared by a relative of one of the students.

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Lows:

  • I’m sure you know this already, but food poisoning sucks, guys. Big time. I nearly missed out on seeing the Statue of David, and I did miss out on hands-down the best meal of the trip.
  • The food. I hate to put this on the lows, but I have to. Even before the food poisoning, our meals were mediocre at best. One of my plans for when I eventually return to Italy is to find ALL the amazing food to make up for this.
  • Witnessing a robbery… sort of. A group of us were walking in Florence and had just turned down an alley way type of street. Alarms sounded up ahead from a store and a man ran out brandishing a knife. Luckily he ran the opposite direction of where we were, and we quickly turned around and went the other way.
  • Missing out on Pompeii. Our trip had the option of adding on three extra days to visit Pompeii. Alex, Brit, Nicole & I signed up immediately for it, but it was cancelled because not enough interest was shown. The real kicker was hearing so many of my classmates say they would have wanted to see Pompeii. Gee, if only there had been a way…. (I’m not bitter.)
  • The Frankfurt airport. On our way there, our only layover was in Toronto, but the return trip had an additional layover in Frankfurt. We raced through the airport to make our connection, only to reach the gate and hear “your flight has been indefinitely delayed.” Our short layover was suddenly seven and a half hours of sitting in a foreign airport, waiting for any sliver of news we might receive. People jeered at us, and Brit was even intentionally kicked by some asshole passerby. The worst part was that we couldn’t even go outside and explore the tiny chunk of Germany near the airport because there was never a set time for when our flight would resume. We ended up missing our connecting flight in Toronto, and four people and one teacher had to spend the night there while the rest of us continued on.

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Funny Moments:

  • During our free time lunch in Rome, my friend Jenn drank so much wine with lunch that she became quite tipsy. While shopping afterwards, she knocked over a mannequin and proceeded to apologize over and over, thinking she caused a human to fall over.
  • In Assisi, I realized as we were walking along the sidewalks that only camera-toting non-locals were using them, and thus was born the accurate nickname “tourist sidewalks”.
  • My English teacher (and our main chaperon) ended up accidentally locking himself in a single-person bathroom while we were out at dinner one night. He had to be rescued by one of the guys on the trip.
  • The Frankfurt airport was not a fun time by any means, but this sign was so adorable it briefly brightened my mood… babywickelraum sounds so much more adorable than nursery!

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Overall Experience:

I loved Italy, but a week definitely was not long enough. It was my first off-continent trip, and the first time I really felt the bite of the travel bug. If you like history and food (just not the food I was eating), I think it’s safe to say you’ll like Italy. My biggest recommendation for someone traveling to Italy is not to pass by Assisi. I was charmed by the medieval city, and I’m grateful that it was part of the itinerary. Either way, it’s pretty hard not to fall for Italy!

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