One of the Best Places to Eat in the World is in Florence, Italy

Florence to me is such a beautiful city.  She has a marvelous and striking appearance – her natural beauty is apparent in the morning, but after putting on her “makeup” at night, she becomes radiant.

Notable famous people who were born in Florence included Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.  Things you have to visit include the Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia and the Florence Cathedral.

People have suggested that the word Florence is derived from the Latin word, florere, which means blooming, which is pretty close to the Italian word for flower which is fiore. Continue reading One of the Best Places to Eat in the World is in Florence, Italy

Artsy Venice

Before coming to Venice, you would have this romantic image of the city in your mind – gondolas with strong masculine men with baritone voices singing while the gondola tours around the city, buildings floating magically on water, and an abundant number of celebrities being spotted here and there.

Unfortunately, this blog post isn’t going to continue on with this illusion, but rather I will paint you the proper picture of what Venice is.

Despite its water canals that you see on its postcards, you get quite used to it within a couple hours while reaching there.  Instead, you’ll see these water canals very soon as similar to roads, whereby they are sort of “hurdles” you have to get through.  You get water taxis that bring you to different places.  Maybe it’s the murky weather I got when I was there, but Venice was definitely much more romantic hearing about it than actually seeing it. Continue reading Artsy Venice

We’re Here Milan, Fashionably

Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, rightfully deserves its name.  With multiple shopping streets such as Via Montenapoleone and Corso Venezia rivalling that of Paris’ Champs Elysses, it’s no wonder everyone dresses so elegantly and differently in Milan, despite being in a country notable for being impeccably fashionable.

But fashion isn’t the only thing that makes the city stylish; it’s the entirety of its environment.  The architectural design, its presentation of food, and even Milanese mannerisms are all very classy.  Yes, Milan is a stark contrast from Naples, a city that is just one hour away by plane.

I love Milan.  This trip, I definitely put Milan and Capri Island as two of my favorite cities, no doubt.  Despite how people tell me how dismayed they are about how “old” Milan is, I don’t really agree.  Sure, it’s not Barcelona, but Milan has its own charm and beauty.  It sort of reminds me of New York, but without the hectic, hustle and bustle, and much cleaner.

Continue reading We’re Here Milan, Fashionably

Pompeii, the City Buried Under by Volcanic Ashes

On our return trip from Amalfi Coast to Naples, we were ahead of our itinerary and decided to stop by Pompeii since it was sort of along the path from Sorrento.  Pompeii is about a 30 minute drive away from Naples.

Pompeii is famous as it is a city that was decimated and buried due to a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.  Many of the inhabitants living there were not able to escape this disastrous event.  Because of this history, it has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy to this day.

For your information, we went to park our car at Porta Marina in Pompeii since while researching, it said that it was a parking lot more likely to have spaces.  Once we stepped outside the parking lot, there was a local telling us to step inside their office to purchase admission tickets for €17 each and you get to skip the line.  Unfortunately, the line they meant wasn’t for the entrance; it was for queuing the line to BUY the ticket, which wasn’t even that long!  Again, we felt scammed in Italy.  Fortunately, the original admission ticket is €15 each, so we didn’t feel too ripped off. Continue reading Pompeii, the City Buried Under by Volcanic Ashes

Amalfi Coast Series: When Sorrento Gives You Lemons

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and there’s no better place to find both lemons and happiness in Sorrento!  Famous for its lemons, the size of these Sorrento lemons are practically as big as baseballs.

Of all the places near or considered part of Amalfi Cost (Sorrento/Positano/Praiano/Amalfi), Sorrento remains to be the newest and most modern area of them all.  The roads are easier to drive, the architecture and surroundings feel newer, and everything seems cleaner.  That said, you can pretty much explore the major areas of Sorrento within a day, and most of the stores are quite similar – island wear clothing, tourist shops selling anything lemon related like limoncello (Italian lemon liquer) or porcelain designed with lemons on them, and random art pieces.

By the way, Sorrento is not part of Amalfi Coast.  But due to its good transport links and its proximity to the rest of Amalfi Coast, it makes a good base to explore the rest of the area.  I am grouping this post as part of the Amalfi Coast Series due to similar location and environment with the other areas. Continue reading Amalfi Coast Series: When Sorrento Gives You Lemons

Want to be Street Tough? Go to Naples

If you want to learn how to be street tough, you have to go to Naples.  Naples has a bad reputation for having high crime rate (albeit they tend to be the small crimes such as theft), high poverty, and just tough people that surround you.  Quite possibly, it’s one of the worst cities I travelled to.  Quite a contrast from having just been to Amsterdam, where I felt that I could be completely wasted and still be fine.

NaplesNear the Napoli Centrale Railway Station

We must first begin with a story.  While taking my flight from Amsterdam to Rome, I began reading a book called Travellers’ Tales ITALY, and the very first story was called The Fiume Runs Through It by Thom Elkjer.  In this short but true story, the author, an American, recalls his experiences of being utterly confused by how Italy works.  He wanted to go fishing, and was first told that there were no special laws for this, and proceeded to go get a fishing license.  He was told to call the Department of Hunting and Fishing, who then directed him to go to the post office (I know right?), where a fishing license for three days costed more than a year’s license in California.  When he tried fishing, there were signs posting everywhere saying no fishing.  He went back home and asked his Italian friend/host to help out (he laughed when he heard the author got the fishing license from the post office), who introduced him to another friend to get him another license and drove him to go fishing.  The author wanted to go up higher in the valley to fish, which the Italian friend said it requires special authorization.

The point of the story is, Italy in general is sloppy and confusing (Milan being perhaps the only exception).  It’s the family and brothers, not the law, that governs how society works.  The philosophy is as long as it’s done, it doesn’t matter how it’s done.  Professionalism, in the sense of preciseness, is lacking.  Maybe it’s the way of life or the culture, but as a person from a city where every minute is valuable, it feels frustrating sometimes. Continue reading Want to be Street Tough? Go to Naples

Luxurious Airbnb Places Around The World

Got a bit of dough to throw around?  Want to impress your girlfriend/boyfriend?  Want some motivation in your life?  Look no further.  I’ve provided ten accommodations from Airbnb from around the world that will guarantee to make your wallet thinner.  I selected these accommodations based on pricing, uniqueness, and feel… some of the accommodations I saw, as expensive as they were, didn’t seem very “luxurious” and felt too “homey” for me.  I set out to find accommodations that define luxury. Continue reading Luxurious Airbnb Places Around The World