In August 2011, one of my best friends from high school, Alessandro, got married in his hometown of Ancona, Italy. He invited Jackie and I to the wedding and also asked me to be one of the groomsmen so, of course, we decided to go. Now as per normal for Jackie and I, we never go on a trip with a single destination in mind, especially when the destination was somewhere like Italy. So, like any normal, adventure loving couple, we made a big trip out of it hitting some wonderful highlights. With my usual orientation to detail, I will be putting together some posts highlighting the places we visited, people we met, food we ate, wine we drank, and all that good stuff that happens when you go traveling:
- Cinque Terre
- Tour of Tuscany
- Florence (Firenze)
- Venice (Venezia)
- Beirut, Lebanon – I realize this isn’t in Italy but we were so close that if we didn’t go visit my parents & other family, we would have been disowned!
- Farm Stay in Chianti region
- Rome (Roma)
Quite a few stops, a total of 23 days traveling so I hope you enjoy our tales and most importantly, the photos!!
August 19, 2011 rolled around and Jackie and I were off to our Italian adventure with a brief side-trip to Beirut. We were living in Toronto at the time and booked a direct flight from Toronto to Rome on a Sunwing Airlines flight. We had found an extremely good deal and had paid a little extra due to the good deal to have the economy plus seats which gave us more legroom. Unfortunately for me, these were the seats that had the solid sides and the overall seat was narrower than my hips and so I was squeezed in there the whole flight, quite uncomfortable. But no matter, we made it to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport.
We quickly got our bearings, took the train to Termini station which is the central station and bought our tickets for the express train to Florence. After grabbing some sandwiches and almost getting on the wrong train, we got settled into our seats for the 1.5 hour ride to Florence. Across the aisle from us there were 2 Japanese gentlemen who were having a blast. They took their time getting some wine, cheese, and proscuito out of their bags and sat down to enjoy the train ride. All seemed to be going well until the ticket checker came by to check everyone’s tickets.
The conductor spoke English but it was Italian-English; the Japenese guys spoke English but it was Japanese-English. Basically each of them spoke English but they had such heavy accents that they weren’t understanding each other so since I understood both of them, I decided to play interpreter; go figure! As it turns out, the Japanese guys were supposed to be headed south to Salermo but got on the wrong train. They took it in stride since they’d already had a few glasses of wine but unfortunately they each ended up having to purchase an on-board ticket for the current train for 50 euros and then after getting to Florence they would have to purchase yet another ticket to go back to Rome then to Salermo. Just bad luck I guess. We got to Florence in good time, got our bearings again, and made the brief walk to the Il Giglio GuestHouse B&B where we were spending the next 4 nights.