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  • Writer's pictureKinsey Texeira

Italy Tips and Tricks

Hey guys! The long awaited Italy blog is finally here! First of all, since I have returned from this last trip, so much has happened! I cannot wait to tell you all about it. There is one little thing we are waiting for, but when it is released, you'll be the first informed!


Until then let me share with you the DO's and DON'T's of Italy from my perspective...


Like always, when visiting a foreign country that is not your own, a rule of thumb and simple common knowledge, is to always remember: You are a guest in someone else's home. The frustrations you may find when dealing with language barriers, differing foods, prices or even the people is your problem, not theirs. I have lived in Hawaii for the last 20 years, and the biggest frustration many locals have when others are visiting our Islands is the lack of respect for the things we live with on a daily basis. So for instance, I was very frustrated and uncomfortable with the bus system's in Italy. But knowing that this is a way of life for so many, I simply got off the bus and walked 4 miles without complaint. I am a guest, and I have to learn to respect the way their country does things.


COFFEE


One of the biggest differences from Italy and America is the coffee. It sounds so ridiculous to say out loud, but it is so true. There is no such thing as ordering a foo-foo drink from Starbucks and sipping on it all day. Coffee is served hot, in the morning and as a quick drink before you get on with your day. I have never seen people on the train, the buses, or even walking down the street holding their coffee cup. If you order a latte, you will get milk. If you order a coffee, you will get a black shot of espresso, and if you ask for coffee iced, there will be a lot of confusion. Here are the things you should choose from: Cappuccino (what you would also get in America only 10x better), Americano (this is black coffee and they will bring you steamed milk) or Espresso (they'll normally ask if you want a single or double). Now keep in mind, a shot of espresso is like drinking straight tar of goodness that taste like you're chewing on espresso beans on crack. DO NOT compare it to a shot of espresso from Starbucks. I learned that the hard way.


LUGGAGE


This paragraph I'm about to write is making me LOL, because I am the epitome of packing too much for the gram at all times. This last trip did me in though and I feel compelled to teach you from my bad mistakes. Trust me when I say, no matter where you go, there will be stairs, or cobblestone streets or buses/trains/cabs with little to no room for your big fat bags. We made the mistake of trying to walk to our "5 star" hotel instead of taking transportation, and all the way up to their front door and beyond was not luggage friendly. So unless you have a personal assistant following you while carrying your stuff, think twice about packing that extra pair of heels. I am excited to try this next trip with a backpack, and I'm sure I'll come back with another update.

I will also say this- the shopping in some bigger regions such as Rome, Naples, and Sorrento is top notch. Buying outfits while you travel is not a bad idea either.


If your plan is to see an Opera at a high society establishment, then proper attire is needed, but for the most part, casual outfits are fine. Keep in mind if you plan on visiting churches, you must not have bare body parts, which includes shoulders at most.


Last one I'll share for this blog


TRANSPORTATION


2 apps you should download are ROME2RIO and OMIO. These two app's will allow you to book transportation online and check times, travel time, and best options.


Calling a cab is the worst thing to do on an American phone, and trying to just walk into a train station will confuse you if you don't understand how to do it. It took us at least 5x to understand how to read the boards at each differing station. Speaking of train stations, always be prepared to buy your ticket and walk 10-15 minutes across a platform as they have trains coming and going to every single different region every 15 minutes. This last time, we hauled our 4 suitcases across at least 4 different train landings. Hence why I've changed my mind about how to pack. That and my husband was PISSED. LOL.


Buses- my mother loves them, I despise them. I've also been to Japan multiple times and I can confidently say this is worse. They pack the buses until someone is basically sitting on the dashboard, so God forbid you have anything on your person besides a small purse. Like I said, I got off the bus to walk 4 miles because I absolutely could not. Buses are also. normally full of school kids beginning at 7am and starting again at 2pm.


Cabs can be a crap shoot, but we've had pretty good luck. Just know, like anywhere else, there are always those that will try and rip you off. Make sure you ask for FINAL price before you get in.


Hop on Hop off buses- if you're truly looking to see all the attractions in a 1-3 day span this is not a horrible idea. This bus is cheap and will drop you off as it goes in circles allowing you to stay and get off as you please


Lastly- walking. This is obviously the cheapest mode of transportation. Just make sure you have the proper shoes. There is no shame in teenies with a dress when you're in Europe. The streets are not up-kept and for good reason, but because of this, it is nearly impossible to walk long distances with cute shoes.


I hope you enjoyed this short blog of DO's and DONT's. I'll add 3 more next week!


Ciao Bellas!

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