Category Archives: Italy

I spent some time working remotely in Italy and the first place I stayed in was Altamura, a small town in the Puglia region, right in the heel of Italy’s boot. I had seen some photos on Google and decided it was worth a visit. So I booked a small apartment and took the train from the city of Bari. Bari Centrale is a bit of an odd station, because there are several train companies operating from different stations that are close, but not the same. The regional train to Altamura left from Bari Centrale FAL, which is around the corner from the bigger central station. The journey took about 1,5 hours and went smoothly, through a dry landscape filled with olive trees, brown fields and the occasional building. The old, small constructions were built in a roundish shape with grey stones and a dome roof, the old trulli. From…

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I’ve been to Rome almost ten times now. My visits are always short and I get to see the same things over and over again, but I also try to do something new every time I am there. The first time I was in Rome I was actually disappointed. Sure, there a some pretty things, but it was the crazy traffic and dirty look of the city that left the biggest impression. This year I changed my opinion of Rome somewhat. There is still a lot to explore and there are a lot of museums to see. One time I decided to get away from the normal tourist attractions and book a tour through a different neighbourhood. Through ‘Like a local’ I booked a street art tour. I fully expected it to be like the many walking tours that are now offered in many cities, but when I arrived at…

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Rome had always been a place I was interested in. In three years of ancient Latin classes in secondary school, I learned about the Romans and the many stories that come from the Roman age. In my imagination Rome was still like in the ancient days. You could still visit the ruins and experience what ancient Rome must have been like. The first time I was in Rome, I was highly disappointed. I had expected to see more of the ancient architecture, but was disappointed with how much was actually standing in the Roman Forum and how little information was given inside the complex. You walk through an archaeological excavation, not through a site with actual buildings. Here and there you still see a building, but mostly you walk among foundations and crumbling blocks of stone.     It is hard to imagine what ancient Rome was really like when you…

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“Maltese knights. Why do they still exist? Who are they? Do they carry swords? Chainmail?” These thoughts go through my head as I am walking up the hill. They go along with: “Isn’t it weird to walk up to a building and peek through their keyhole?” And yet this is on the list of tourist attractions in Rome. If you’ve seen the Coliseum and the Vatican, you climb up to Aventine hill to see the door of the order of the Maltese knights. Or really… to sneak a peek through the keyhole. As I approach the building I am glad to see I am not the only one. This place is not nearly the Vatican or the Forum, but there is a stall selling drinks and snacks, so it must be visited throughout the day. I get into the line, which has 3 people in front of me, and still…

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Goodbye day. Most of my group went home and only me and two boys stayed behind in Rome. Since I had an extra day in Rome I decided to drag the boys out to the Vatican for some self-reflection and amazing views. As always the line to get into the Vatican’s massive cathedral St Peter was humongous. Salespeople attacked us guerilla style, coming in from all sides. “Skip the line. Only 30 euro and you don’t have to wait. Guided tour.” There is no skipping this line. Entry into the cathedral is free, but you’ll have to endure a wait in Rome’s hot climate. And so we did. The line moved quickly and we had some fun talking to the Swedish man behind us and answering silly questions on cards. We were on holy ground within an hour, after setting off the metal detector with my bra and wrapping a…

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I’d heard about it. I’d seen the pictures. I’d never been there myself. In the north of Italy, along the Mediterranean sea you find five little towns that are connected by dozens of steps. The Cinque Terre are a popular tourist destination that I finally got to visit. I was staying in Viareggio, so took the train to La Spezia, where there is a tiny tourist office that sells ticket to Cinque Terre. You need a national park pass to visit the towns, and this pass gives you unlimited train rides during the day in case you don’t want to walk all the way. From La Spezia the train takes you to the first town: Riomaggiore. It’s as majestic as it sounds! The most popular track takes you along the coast, past all the villages, but unfortunately a big part of this is closed due to landslides in the past…

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In Italy I saw a lot of cool thing and one of them was a street sign with a little man on it. Soon I discovered that there were hepas of them all over the place; Rome, Florence, Pisa. Time for a little look on google. As it turns out there a so many different stickers and not just on stop signs. There is a French artist based in Italy who does all this. Clet Abraham has been changing the boring signs all over Europe. He feels the signs are a bit condescending, like we don’t know how things work and we can’t think for ourselves. It was about time to change and turn it into something funny.    

After visiting some Italian cities, my group went to a villa in Chianciano Terme. It was amazing to see the quiet little town after the busy streets of Rome and the overwhelming buildings in Florence. There were no other tourists here. All we saw were tiny streets, where cars struggled to get through. Occasionally there was a grandmother on a balcony or some people having a coffee in the café. From the town on the hill we had amazing views over the Tuscan countryside. “This is nothing” said my Italian friend. To me it was quite something, don’t you think?

O yeah! I’m going to be a CEO this summer, leading travelers through Europe. Europe’s my home, my base, and yet there is so much to explore and there are so many differences. I’ve just finished my training week in Italy and body is starting to adjust to Italian time. I now almost think it’s totally normal to eat after 7pm. We’ve been eating at the most amazing places. Italian food is delicious, as long as it doesn’t include cheese, and it is a lot. We’ve had the bistecca di Florentina, ribollita, focaccia, pastas, prosciutto, vino and of course a lot of gelato! There were meals with 4 or 5 courses and you want to eat it all! I think my stomach has adjusted as well, it’s size has now doubled, leaving me constantly hungry. The Italian food is great, but I was very happy to go out of Chinese…

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