Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 2nd July 2016, 18:20   #1
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

A holiday in Europe needs meticulous planning and our trip to Italy and France was no exception. My wife Divya wanted to go to Italy on our honeymoon in 2013, but with budget constrains back then, we had to do with a holiday in the picturesque locations of Manali and Shimla. Fast forward to 2016 and we had to plan our third wedding anniversary. We had already started toying with the idea of fulfilling our Italy dream on our third wedding anniversary back in December 2015, but Divya was not confident that we would be able to manage to fulfill two dreams in 2016, one being our Europe trip and the second of buying a SBK. But come March 2016 we had finalised that we are doing the Europe trip in June and there is no point delaying the decision any further as we had only three months to plan and execute our two week trip to Italy and France.


So once we made up our mind that we are going on a holiday, came the next challenge of choosing the destination and the number of days. We were sure about Italy, but were looking at our options of a second or maybe even a third country where we could go to. Straight away France came to our mind, as I had a friend Moneet, who is staying in Paris and was always behind me to visit him, whenever I used to travel to London and Germany in the past on official trips. So, initially our trip was broken into two weeks, with one week in Italy and the other in France respectively. We had no particular budget in mind and were just doing rough calculations on the expenses with regard to travel, accommodation, food etc. Planning a holiday on your own is always expensive than the package tours available, but, we were never the type who would prefer to go by an itinerary planned and fixed by someone else. We had planned and executed our Singapore trip in 2015 ourselves and this trip was going to be no exception either.



1) Flight tickets

Now, the first thing that anyone would do, while planning a trip abroad is to book the flight tickets and this is what we were working towards straight away. With the holiday season fast approaching, we had to book our tickets soon in order to get a good deal. But, the challenge was on freezing our entry and exit points. As mentioned earlier we wanted to stay a week in each country, but, as luck would have it my friend Moneet was unsure, whether he would be there in Paris in June as he would mostly have to travel to India due to some visa issues. So, we decided we would spend around three days in Paris and rest of the days would be in Italy. Now that we had a basic idea of how many days to spend where, we had to freeze the city in Italy we wanted to visit first to finally book our flight tickets. My father-in-law had a friend in Como (Italy) and we took some suggestions from him on the cities we should visit and the number of days we should stay in each city. Divya had already been to Italy and France twice in the past and hence she was the one who was doing all the communication and the research for the whole trip. Back in office I would not get much time to do research on the cities to visit and the mode of transportation to use, so she did almost 95% of the hard work of planning and coordinating the whole trip. Everyday once I get back from work she would show me what research she has done for the day and we would start building our itinerary based on that. So, after weeks of planning we finally booked our flight tickets around 20th of April.



We had booked our flight tickets with Air France to arrive in Rome on the 13th of June as we wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary in Mumbai which was on the 12th of June. We would stay in Italy for around 9 days and leave from Milan to Paris on the 22nd again by Air France, and from Paris back to Mumbai on the 24th evening by Air France again.


Our Itinerary was as below:

1) Rome (12-6-2016 to 14-6-2016)
2) Florence/Pisa (15-6-2016)
3) Bologna (16-6-2016)
4) Venice (17-6-2016)
5) Como (18-6-2016 to 20-6-2016)
6) Milan (21-6-2016)
7) Paris (22-6-2016 to 24-6-2016)


2) Accommodation

Next, we had to move to booking our accommodation. A total of 6 accommodations had to be researched and booked in the next few days. I say 6 because, in Como we were going to stay at an uncle’s place, who is a friend of my father-in-law. I had heard about Airbnb while going through some threads on his forum and through some friends. I had a colleague back in office, who had booked his accommodation in the US via Airbnb and I sat down and understood the whole concept from him. It’s simple, people list their rooms/flats via Airbnb, who have done all the necessary background checks for renting to people who are looking for an accommodation a day/week or a month. So my friend in office sent us the link to join Airbnb and since we join via his reference we get a discount coupon of around INR 2500 and so does he. It’s similar to the referral program you have in Uber/Ola. Even though we had researched and had read positive reviews about Airbnb, we were never 100% comfortable on sharing rooms with others, as these are unknown people and what if something had to go wrong. So we decided we will look at apartments only and not rooms, which have most number of reviews and preferably owned by a couple. But, as we did our research, we noticed that it’s not always necessary that you would find a place to your liking owned by a couple and hence, we took the plunge and booked apartments which were owned by individuals as well, which were mostly males.



Booking an apartment is a very trying job as you have to zero in on a location, which is preferably near the city center if not in the city center. Further, places near the city center or key monuments are always on the expensive side which is a no brainer. Then you read the reviews and start your interactions with the host to find out about the house and the locality it is situated in, check in check out time, how flexible they are with the same, do they provide breakfast etc. All the houses that we stayed in had well equipped kitchens. Each had a washing machine, which was necessary, as we had to wash our clothes almost on alternate days. It was a nice experience booking our apartments via Airbnb, which was much cheaper and more value for money than booking hotel rooms. Booking apartments had its positives and negatives as below:


Positives

a) Value for Money. Most of our apartments in Italy were priced between 85$ to 110$ a day. Only in Paris, it was almost 160$ a day as we stayed in Trocadero, which is near the Eiffel Tower.

b) You get a full apartment, one or two rooms, with a hall, kitchen and bathroom/Toilet.

c) Flexible check in and check out timings

d) Washing machine is a big boon for a two week trip, imagine the laundry bills if we had stayed in hotels

e) Most of the houses we stayed had a wide variety of snacks and drinks, which was free for consumption unlike the mini bar in a hotel room.


Negatives

a) Prepare your own breakfast. It was fun cooking/preparing the morning meal, but then you get a feeling that you’re back at home and not in a restaurant.

b) Washing the dishes. A host had fined up to 50 Euros to someone for not cleaning the used dishes.

c) No air conditioning or fan in some houses. I know Europe is supposed to be pleasant during Summers. But global warming has picked up in a big way, we had 33 degrees in Paris, but nights were cooler and that was a relief. I have stayed in some Hotels as well in Germany in the past which had no Air-conditioning. Only, one guy had provided a table fan during our stay in Venice. In a few years these guys are definitely going to need at least a fan in their houses.


Things to keep in mind while booking and staying in Airbnb apartments.

a) Read reviews and the house rules.

b) Clear your doubts about arrival and check out time with your host. Most of them are working people and they have to make arrangements to hand over the key to you as per the arrival time you have stated at the time of booking. While checking out most of them would ask you to leave the key on the table and close the door as they have a spare key.

c) Take pictures while entering and exiting the house, as we came across reviews were the host has accused the guest of breaking and also stealing some items. It’s someone’s house after all and a lot of people would have their personal and decorative stuff around, with which you have to be careful by not damaging them or being accused of damaging them.

d) Read and confirm the cancellation policies.

e) Without booking an apartment Airbnb doesn’t allow you or the host to share or exchange contact details like email id’s phone numbers etc.



3) Visa

Now, we were done with our apartment bookings and it was time to do the most important thing that was apply for our visas. We had spent considerable time in booking our flights and accommodation and we were in the second week of April. We downloaded the visa forms and got all the paper work ready and then applied for an appointment date online, and boom the first setback. The latest appointment date available was 1st June, which is almost two weeks away and you need 15 working days to process the visa. Slowly the thought started sinking in that no way we can now fly on 13th June and have to redo the accommodations and flight tickets. This was not new for me as most of our abroad trips have been jinxed. Be it Singapore, which had to be changed thrice from the earlier planned date in Sept 2014 to Jan 2015. Or my London trip, when my bag was stolen in the local train containing by laptop and 5 year UK visa, which I had received the same day.



So as usual it was my father-in-law to the rescue. The gem of a person he is, he used his connections and got our visa dates preponed for 26th of May. But it was not going to be easy, because even after spending almost 16k for our visas, there was no guarantee they would grant us one. Plus the gruesome Brussels attacks in March had changed things quite considerably. I knew of a group of 12 people who were denied tourist visa. So here we were praying and checking the status online on a daily basis. Finally one day on my passport number it shows an update that an interview has been scheduled on 7th June. I just think I have to fly out on 13th and here they are calling me for an interview. So called up the call center and asked them on this update and they said that you have been called to the Italian embassy. I inquired whether my wife has to come along as there was no such update and it just showed under process on her passport number, to which she said only I had to go and not Divya. Still luckily Divya came along with me on the 7th for the interview and to my surprise the guy asked me where is my wife. I said she is sitting in the car as the letter said only I have to be present and even the call center guys confirmed the same. He asked me to call her too and they just asked about my profession and qualification and our marriage certificate. Nothing more, and we were told that the visa will be processed and handed over to the VFS center the next day which was a Wednesday. Next day I inquired whether our passports had arrived at VFS center and got a negative response. Later in the evening I got a message saying our passports have been couriered via Blue Dart, but, where? I had specifically told them that I would collect it personally and not to courier it. On Thursday, which was 9th I had to travel to Delhi for work and I called the call center guys again from Delhi to get an update, in the meantime checked again online on the status and it said the courier has been kept on hold, I was like what is happening, where the hell are our passports??? Got through the call center and they informed me that the passports are at the VFS center and are ready for personal collection. I asked them can my wife collect my passport as well, and they said yes, but she has to carry an authority letter signed by me. I was in Delhi and was wondering how do I send Divya a signed letter?? So I just drafted a letter and mailed it to Divya and asked her to forge my signatures on it. So finally, Divya and my dad went to Bandra VFS center and collected the passports.



Tips for applying a Schengen visa

a) If you’re travelling during holiday season, better to apply at least two months in advance.

b) Submit all hotel/airbnb booking confirmations along with your application. As mentioned we were staying an uncle’s place in Como, so had carried an email, where he had mentioned he is inviting us over to stay at his place. Also carried his passport copy as a backup.

c) Carry photocopies of all the documents that you had submitted if called for an interview



After months of planning, we were just a few days away from going on our first European vacation together. But, as I mentioned our trips are jinxed and this one had one more surprise left. Friday the 10th as soon as I reach office I get the news that Air France pilots have called for a strike, wonderful. Luckily Air France said that they will pay for costs for alternate airline tickets that we choose. We were getting a KLM flight leaving on 13th morning but, it would arrive in Rome only in the evening around 4 pm. That one day wasted, and plus we had an Uncle joining us from London for three days, who was landing in the morning the same day. So we decided that we will leave a day earlier, and now leave on our wedding anniversary day itself, which is the 12th. We asked our host in Rome, if we can have the house a day earlier and he confirmed it was available. We had to change the anniversary plan for the 12th in India and finally booked our new ticket for the 12th morning.


So, finally after months of planning and all the hurdles, we left for our 13th day tour of Italy and France.

To be continued...

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2016 at 23:17.
SnS_12 is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 2nd July 2016, 23:30   #2
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Rome (12-6-2016 to 14-6-2016)

Our Jet Airways flight was via Amsterdam where we had a 3 hour halt. We arrived in Rome at around 2 pm. Collected our bags and got into a taxi at one of the Taxi stands outside the airport. The thing in Italy is either you call for a cab or you get one on a taxi stand, you can’t wave out to a empty taxi on the road, the guy will not stop. The fare is supposed to be fixed at 48 Euros , but our Taxi guy who could speak English, which is not very common said it would cost around 60 euros along with the luggage to the place we wanted to go. On checking with our host at the apartment they said since it a Sunday it could be possible, as normally everything is shut. Not a good idea to come on a Sunday, but we had no other option. Post all the formalities our host left and we were just getting familiar with the house and the amenities. Since we were here for next three days, we thought of getting some food essentials like milk, bread etc. Being, a Sunday only a few supermarkets were open, and we had quite a walk to find one. It was a relaxed day as we had nothing else to do and we just went to a restaurant near our house for dinner.

Some pictures from day one..

Amsterdam Airport

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3490.jpg


Some chicken salad and a sandwich, we won't get much of this in the latter part of our trip

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3473.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3474.jpg

On our way to Rome. I miss this legroom back in our domestic flights.

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-y.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3495.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3496.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3497.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3499.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3502.jpg

Our house for the next three days in Rome.

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3501.jpg

It was a two bedroom apartment as our uncle from London was joining us the next day

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3503.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3504.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3506.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3512.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3524.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3529.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3530.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3536.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3538.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3539.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3541.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3542.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3548.jpg


We had carried some packets of maggi, but bought this one just to try it out

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3551.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2016 at 23:20.
SnS_12 is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd July 2016, 00:57   #3
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Rome Day 2

Our plan for the second day was to visit the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain and do some other local sightseeing. First we had to get a local sim card. Had found out that TIM mobile was the best sim card, but getting one was a challenge in our locality and to add to it the difficulty of speaking to the locals who could only speak in Italian. Finally we found a WIND mobile store and got a sim from them. Since we were going to be in Italy for the next 10 days, got a plan for 500 local minutes and 500 local messages including 5 GB of data. The store female who could speak little English said that the sim would get active by evening, which did not happen. More on that later. Paid a total of 35 Euros for the sim card as the sim itself cost me 10 Euros. Once the sim work was done a local lady who could speak fluent English helped us with directions to get to Trevi fountain. She suggested taking the metro as that was the fastest and cheaper option to get around. Buying the ticket for the metro can be tricky as the vending machine displays the option in the local language and there are options to change it to English. Ticket can be bought using cash or card. You can either buy a ticket which would be valid for 90 minutes or a single day ticket or a two day ticket, which would cost the most but would be overall cheaper and can be used on the bus too. We went ahead with the 90 minute ticket option as we were not sure which places we would visit and which places were more accessible by metro or bus. We took pictures of the information board showing the list of stations so that we know where to get off.

One piece of advise, even though some locals are quite helpful at times, but, some do it only to make money. We had one incident when one local helped us get a ticket from the vending machine and later said that if we could lend him some money as he was falling short on cash.

Some pictures of Day 2..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3570.jpg

View of the street from the balcony

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-dscf9390.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-dscf9391.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3579.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3580.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3582.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3584.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3783.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3586.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3784.jpg

Italians just park wherever they wish to. Parallel parking, parking on zebra crossing etc

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-vb.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3594.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3597.jpg

Attachment 1523380

Attachment 1523381

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3603.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3604.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3605.jpg

We had a lot of desserts on this trip. This is the Tiramisu. Tried it at most of the restaurants we ate

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3606.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3609.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3611.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3612.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3615.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3616.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3619.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3621.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3622.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3623.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3634.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3635.jpg

Last edited by ajmat : 19th July 2016 at 09:06.
SnS_12 is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd July 2016, 01:25   #4
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Pictures for Day 2 continue..

Spanish steps, which was under renovation

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3650.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3654.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3655.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3657.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3658.jpg

Saw a lot of the BMW GS series

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3659.jpg

Trevi fountain was jam packed with tourists. People throw a coin in the fountain and make a wish. We tried it too, with a 1 Euro coin

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3660.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3661.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3669.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3708.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3724.jpg

Termini station. This is the main station from where you can take a train to go to the airport. We would be visiting here again to take our train for Florence

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3730.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3731.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3734.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3735.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3737.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3740.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3742.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3744.jpg

Irish pub. Was packed with football fans. We said we would eat a quick snack and leave so they made us sit in a portion which was reserved for dinner

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3746.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3750.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3751.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3752.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3753.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3762.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3763.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3765.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3767.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3766.jpg

A very common sight. Running water, where you can fill up your empty bottles. What a wastage of water in my opinion

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3769.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2016 at 23:25.
SnS_12 is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd July 2016, 01:31   #5
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

More Pictures of Day 2..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3776.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3779.jpg

Uncle Jeff wanted to eat some Indian food as he was not fond of cheese and pasta. Went to a Bangladeshi restaurant near Termini and got this rubbish when we asked for vegetable gravy. Full of oil.

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3781.jpg

The Italian naan

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3782.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3791.jpg


Rome Day 3


Day 3 was planned out back in May, as, we had booked our tour of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum along with the Colosseum , Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These are guided tours and I would advise that you do your bookings early as they tend to get filled fast, as they have groups of not more than 25 people or even less. We had booked our tour with Dark Rome which is a part of City Wonders https://darkrome.com/ . They have different tours of key monuments around Rome. We only booked tours for the above mentioned locations and did the rest on our own like Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain etc. The main advantage of taking a guided tour with these guys is that you don’t have to stand in a long queue to get your tickets and can get in directly. Plus the Vatican Museum is huge and you can get lost if you don’t know your way or miss out seeing key paintings and artefacts. They have knowledgeable guides who are very polite and friendly.
The only mistake that we made is that we booked both the above tours on the same day. Each tour is like 2.5 to 3 hrs long and you have to walk quite a bit. Plus the hot summer day just made it worse. But the experience of visiting these places was surreal. We did the Vatican Museum in the morning. This place is so huge and has so much to offer that even 3 days if not 3 weeks would not be enough to absorb everything it has to offer. Specially the paintings made by Raffaello and his school. Post the museum we visited St. Peter's Basilica and was just awestruck looking at the size and beauty of the sculptures inside. I guess I will let the pictures do the talking.
Post the tiring 3 hour tour we went to a restaurant close by for lunch. If you remember I had mentioned that I had bought a WIND mobile sim the previous morning and was supposed to get activated by the same evening. But to our surprise it did not. So we were searching for a WIND store near the Vatican and found one post lunch. We had to get to the next tour which was the Colosseum and had only 15 minutes. I made a dash for it as it was at a distance from the Taxi stand. On reaching the store I explained them the issue and the guy just refused straight on my face to help me out. He said you have to go back to the same store where you bought the sim from. I told him it’s a company store so why can’t you help me out, but to vain. The only option I now had to reach the same store before 7:30 pm, which was their closing time. But, I had one more three hour tour to finish and plus the next day we were leaving for Florence early morning. I was furious over this dilemma. Italians can be rude and unfriendly at times and the language barrier just doesn’t help in getting a solution. Just imagine if I had moved out of Rome and approached another WIND store in another city and they tell me the same thing?? I would have had to say bye to the 35 Euros. So keep this incident in mind if you get a local sim in Italy.


Now, we took a cab to reach the Colosseum and manged to reach in the nick of time. The Colosseum is something we have read in the history text books or in documentaries, but to stand in front of it was a feeling I will never forget. Imagine a structure built 2000 years back and still partly standing despite Mother Nature’s fury over the years. It was used for 500 years after it was built and is a structure like no other. Could seat 50,000 people has 80 entry gates and could be filled up or vacated in 20 minutes because of the meticulous planning. The outer portion is now white after the restoration process in which they washed t the walls using only water as they had turned black over the years due to dust and pollution. The Inside walls are still black as they haven’t been restored yet. It after this restoration process that they found each gate had a number inscribed on top of it. Back in the day the entry to the Colosseum was free and people were given wooden plates with number inscribed on it, which was their ticket to enter the Colosseum from a particular gate. There are night tours offered as well along with the underground and arena floor access, where they take you to the place where animals and gladiators were held up before their battle. The tickets were already sold out for this tour and hence we went ahead with the normal tour.


As we had to go back to the WIND store we had to get back on tour post the Roman Forum and we were also tired walking the whole day. We reached the store in time and got the issue sorted and the sim was working after 2 hrs as promised. Phew!


Some Pictures of Day 3…

Our Breakfast

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3829.jpg

Preparing coffee and tea

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3835.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3839.jpg

What more can you ask for if you can ride to work on an R6

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3846.jpg


Long queue outside the museum for people who haven't opted for a guided tour

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3957.jpg


20,000 people visit each day

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3962.jpg


First sighting of St Peter's Basilica

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3964.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3968.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3975.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3976.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3978.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3980.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3983.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3985.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3986.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3988.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3990.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3991.jpg

Don't miss this 3D painting. Incredible stuff for its time and even today

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3992.jpg

A rare sculpture of an ordinary old fisherman

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3998.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_3999.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4001.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4002.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4003.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4005.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2016 at 23:34.
SnS_12 is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd July 2016, 18:56   #6
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

More Pictures of Day 3...

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4006.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4007.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4019.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4022.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4029.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4032.jpg

This is the biggest painting in the museum

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4033.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4035.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4008.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4010.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4036.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4037.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4045.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4048.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4050.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4052.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4054.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4055.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4056.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4062.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4063.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4070.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4073.jpg

St Peter's Square

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4083.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4089.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4091.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4092.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4094.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4095.jpg

Inside St Peter's Basilica

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4097.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2016 at 11:24.
SnS_12 is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd July 2016, 19:40   #7
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Pictures of Day 3 continued..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4098.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4100.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4101.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4102.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4104.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4106.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4113.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4114.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4119.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4122.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4125.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4136.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4138.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4142.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4147.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4148.jpg

As I had mentioned the inner portion of the Colosseum is still dark and awaiting restoration

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4159.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4165.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4166.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4167.jpg

A lift recreated, which was used back then to lift up the gladiators and animals to the arena floor. It was operated using pulleys and by around 8 slaves

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4200.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4218.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4226.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4234.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4240.jpg

2000 year old bronze door, which is still operational

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4245.jpg

Seagull.Be careful if you're eating something in the open, they will fly down to you and steal it from your mouth

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4237.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4227.jpg

Italians have some weird toilets. Here you can see it has no seat..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4235.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2016 at 11:25.
SnS_12 is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd July 2016, 19:51   #8
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Last set of pictures for Day 3..

Gelato anyone??

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4259.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4260.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4269.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4267.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4270.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4275.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4277.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4281.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4291.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4293.jpg

Chinese Ice Tea. Tasted horrible as it had no sweet

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4306.jpg


After a tiring day we decided to eat at this Chinese restaurant below our house. The food was really delicious

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4310.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4311.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4312.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4313.jpg


2) Florence/ Rufina (15-6-2016)


So after spending three days in Rome, it was now time to say goodbye and move on to our next destination Florence. We had booked a two room apartment in Rufina, which is around 20 km from Florence far away from the city commotion. We had planned that we will travel between cities by train only as renting and driving down in our packed schedule was not an option. But to take a train, we had to reach the station with all our luggage. Travelling by metro would have been faster, but travelling in metro with big Indian tourist bags would have been a task. We had to go to termini station, from where we take a train to Florence. We decided we will take a taxi, but we have to find one and for that we had to walk with our luggage to the taxi stand. Luckily, we had a taxi stand not too far away from our apartment. Upon reaching the taxi stand to our surprise, there were no taxis around. There were I guess two more people who were waiting to take a taxi before us. Waited for a while without any luck and I started to lose my patience. Then it just clicked my mind to try Uber. I have never used Uber outside India in the past and this would be my first time. Popped the app and voila it showed two options ‘Black Car’ and I guess the other option was a ‘Van’ with cars nearby. Thinking that a Black Car would be a better option, I requested for one and started tracking it. It took a while to reach, but at least I was sure in how much time I will get a ride rather than waiting for a taxi for eternity. Suddenly a beast of a black car pulls up in front of us and we are like this can’t be our car, it so freaking huge for the three of us to travel. The driver rolled down his glass and waved out to me and now it was confirmed it is indeed our car, wow! It was a Mercedes VITO a 9 seater. Our driver could speak fluent English and we were trying to get some idea about going to Florence etc. He mentioned hiring a bicycle would be a good idea to go around the city as it is quite small. I think the ride lasted a little over 30 minutes, before we reached Termini station. Total cost was around 20 Euros, which was not bad at all.


Now, came the next challenge, we had not booked our train tickets in advance as we were not sure if we would be able to make it on time to the railway station in unfamiliar cities. Uncle Tiberio, from whom we had taken tips for our Italy trip also had suggested not to book our tickets in advance. We realized that it is really unnecessary to book train tickets in advance as the fares don’t go up and you will always get a seat unless it is super tourist season. But, even that should not be an issue as you normally have a train every 30 to 60 minutes.


As we entered the station we were looking out for a ticket counter to buy our tickets, but noticed that most of the people were buying their tickets from the Trenitalia kiosk placed at various locations around the station. The kiosk looked different from the one we had seen in the Metro and since everyone was normally in a hurry to catch a train, we had no idea whom to ask for help. So we went to the information counter where you have to collect a token and wait for your number to arrive. This was going to take a long time and was frustrating, but we had no option. Suddenly, after sometime a guy who looked like an Indian approached us and asked us that why don’t we book the ticket from the kiosk rather than standing in the long queue? We were first apprehensive to take his help, but decided to just try it out. He took us to the kiosk and showed us how it is done and all this while I was paying attention to his every move and every word he said. Suddenly he tells us that I am offering you business class tickets for standard price, and this caught my attention. I just asked him, if we can pay by card, to which he said yes and walked off. Divya and I went to Uncle Jeff and told that guy that we will think over it. He was really insisting, but we said we will think and decide. Once we left, both Divya snd I were like this guy seems fishy and cannot be trusted. After some discussion, between the three of us we decided that we will book it from the kiosk on our own as I had seen and memorized the procedure to book a ticket.


Some tips for booking a Trenitalia ticket


a) No need to buy or book the ticket in advance as the prices never go up. Arrive at the station and buy a ticket from the kiosk for the next available train

b) Never take help from a stranger at the station for booking a train ticket. If need be, there are Trenitalia staff (few in number) around and you can ask their help. Even the machine tells you to beware of pickpockets and take help only from a staff member if required.

c) If you’re not able to locate a train station on the option list try other station, where you can type the station name and if a train is available it will show you the options available.

d) At times, especially while going to the airport it may ask you to book a seat, which you need to do before proceeding ahead.

e) Better to keep a credit card handy, as not all machines accept cash, some accept only cards. I used my American express, which is an unlimited card. This helped as I did not have to worry that my credit card would breach its limit during my trip.

f) Your coach number would be printed on your ticket along with your seat number.

g) In case you have not been assigned a seat number, which is possible in certain cases, you need to validate your ticket before getting on the train. The validation machine is a small green box, which you will find in the station.


Once our tickets were booked we made a dash towards our platform as we had around 10 mins before the train would leave. It’s better to keep a check on the screens and hear the announcements about which train is arriving at which platform number, as they have a tendency to change the platform at the last minute as it happened with us. Also, if you arrive at Florence station you will notice it’s a huge station with 18 platforms, running around here to get to your train is going to take a while. The journey from Termini station to Florence station was approximately 90 minutes. Now, there was a small issue with our apartment in Rufina. We had asked for an early check in at around 10 am as the normal check in time was between 5 to 6 pm. The host had confirmed the same at the time of booking that an early check in is possible but all of a sudden, last night we received a message that check in is possible only at 6 pm. We did not think about it much first, but then once we got in the train we started to chat with our host on this sudden development. He said he could not help it as both he and his wife were at work and could not hand over the keys to us before 6. We were furious on hearing this and decided that we will cancel our booking on reaching Florence and check in to the first hotel available. But, as soon as we reached Florence, we called a few hotels and all of them were booked. We had no option but to hold on to our booking, but what do we do with all our luggage till 6 pm??? Our host had suggested that we leave it at the railway station, where you leave your luggage for a certain charge that is applicable for each bag for a particular time duration. So we left our bags and decided to take train and go to Pisa and see Florence in the evening. So we booked our tickets again from the kiosk and off we were to Pisa. The train journey lasted around an hour and once we got out of the station we just had something to eat outside the station. To get to Pisa we decided to take a cab from a taxi stand outside the station, but again no taxis and people waiting before us as usual. We then found out from a shop that we could take a bus and buy the ticket from the Tabacchi store nearby. It’s cheap and efficient way to travel and we were dropped just outside the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The place was buzzing with tourists and a lot of Indians. We spent some time there and then took a cab back to the station as we waited for a bus at the stop for almost 20 mins but in vain. Once at the station we bought our tickets for the next available train and left Pisa for Florence. Once on the train we had a second shocker for the day. The ticket checker came in and after looking at our tickets said that we haven’t validated our tickets. I was like I bought the tickets from the kiosk, why should I validate it, to which he said that since there are no seat numbers assigned, hence you need to validate it. We really lost it and got into an argument with him, but no luck. We had to pay a fine of 60 Euros for all three of us; initially he said 60 per person and gave us a receipt for it. Bummer!!!! Hence, I have mentioned above, always validate your ticket.



We reached Florence at almost 5 pm, we collected our bags and headed for the taxi stand, which had a huge queue. Tried getting an Uber but bad luck, so finally waited and got into a taxi. It was a rush hour and it took us an hour to reach Rufina where our host was waiting for us. He was nice and warm to us and hence, we forgot about the initial hiccups we had with the check in time dilemma. It was a beautiful apartment with an amazing view. Pics will do the talking. Our host dropped us to Pontassieve station, which is the main station and where we could take a train to go back to Florence. He even offered to pick us up again as the last train back was at 11:30 pm and in case we were not able to get a taxi back.


Time for some pictures now..

Our Uber ride. Mercedes VITO.. Beast

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4357.jpg


Our high-speed train to Florence

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4366.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4375.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4378.jpg

Florence Station

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4386.jpg

Baggage drop area and their rates

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4560.jpg

1 Euro to use the washroom??

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4399.jpg

Train to Pisa

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4396.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4401.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4404.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4409.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4410.jpg


Tabacchi store. Besides cancer sticks you can also buy bus tickets over here

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4421.jpg

Inside the bus

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4425.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4429.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2016 at 23:52.
SnS_12 is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th July 2016, 01:40   #9
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Pictures Continue..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4434.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4446.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4456.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4458.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4470.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4488.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4496.jpg

Double decker train

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4498.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4500.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4505.jpg

Panorama sunroof

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4513.jpg

Traffic moving at a snail's pace. Took us a while to reach Rufina

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4517.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4521.jpg

This lady seemed to be driving under the influence of alcohol. While we were waiting at a signal, saw this lady taking a u turn while coming from the opposite direction, and the next minute she just went and banged into the wall

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4522.jpg

Our beautiful and well furnished apartment in Rufina

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4524.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4526.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4615.jpg

Balcony, with a splendid view

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4617.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-dscf9392.jpg

This is a place you want to stay post your retirement

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-dscf9393.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-dscf9394.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-dscf9396.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-dscf9398.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4542.jpg

Pontassieve Station at 8 pm. Not a single soul around

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4549.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4550.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4552.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4562.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4563.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4573.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 18th July 2016 at 22:02.
SnS_12 is offline   (9) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th July 2016, 01:57   #10
Team-BHP Support
 
Eddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Delhi
Posts: 7,251
Thanked: 4,360 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Keep it up man

We just spent 11 days (20June onwards) in Paris, Rome & Florence and this is like revision
Eddy is online now   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th July 2016, 11:36   #11
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Thanks, and good to hear that. We were in Paris from 22nd to 24th June. Would have been great to bump into a Team BHP member
SnS_12 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th July 2016, 23:34   #12
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Pictures continued..

Sweets to Die For!

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4567.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4568.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4569.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4571.jpg

Wasabi.. One of the best Chinese we had during this trip

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4582.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4574.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4576.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4577.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4579.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4580.jpg

This noodle was so delicious. It was pure bliss

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4581.jpg


By the time we had finished our dinner it was well past 11 pm and no way we could take the last train to go back home. So the only option was to get a taxi. We asked the restaurant staff if they could call for a cab and they said it’s possible. In the meanwhile I just logged into Uber to see if we can get a cab and it did show a ride was available near our area. Booked it and the car came in no time. This is what came to pick us up a Mercedes E class. Our Italian driver Mario was really a unique guy. Uncle Jeff who was sitting in front struck a conversation in no time and we were just talking generally and getting ideas to roam around in Bologna, where we were to go the next day. Suddenly, Mario looked back at us and said do you guys want to eat ice-cream, which is one of the best around. We were surprised by this question and were wondering if he intends to take to a place where he gets a cut from?? But after a few seconds pause we said to our self no harm in trying and besides that who can resist the yummy Gelato, while you’re in Italy. So he takes us to this place which is buzzing with people and there is huge crowd outside the place as well. It was by far the best Gelato we had on this trip. Once we got the ice cream Mario insisted that we sit in the car and have it and pulled out some tissues from the boot. Thank You Mario!

Now, while we continued on our way back home, we asked Mario if we could stop somewhere on the way to buy water and he stopped near a bar and asked me to buy the water from there. When I went in they refused to sell water to me and I headed back to the car. Once I got in Mario asked me what happened and I told him that they refused to sell me water and he was just furious upon hearing that. He took out some change and stormed out of the car saying how they can refuse water to you, and after a few minutes came back with a bottle of water. We were just speechless. Thank you once again Mario for an amazing time and the drive back home.

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4593.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4594.jpg

Look at those ice creams. I wish I could have one each day for the rest of my life

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4586.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4590.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4585.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4600.jpg

Now, you know from where did Hyundai get its inspiration for the i20 or is it the other way round??

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4611.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4612.jpg


Bologna (16-6-2016)


After a long, interesting but tiring day, it was now time to say goodbye to Rufina. Though we would have loved to stay longer in Rufina, it was time to move on with our journey. Sadly, Uncle Jeff’s short vacation also comes to an end in Rufina and he would go back to Rome from Florence and we would move on to Bologna. We had a great time together and would surely miss his company during the rest of our trip. But, first we had to Reach Florence station.


Now, you can’t get a Taxi in Rufina and need to call for one, which would come all the way from Florence. The other option was to take the train as we did the previous day. But that meant quite a walk carrying all the luggage along as we did not have our host who had dropped us the previous day at the station. He did offer to drop us at Florence station as he works in Florence, but that was too early in the morning. So we set off with all our luggage to Florence station. Once, at Florence we bought our respective tickets and bid adieu to Uncle Jeff and got on our train to Bologna.


Once we reached Bologna station, we were approached by individual localites asking if we want their help to lift the luggage. We plainly refused and moved on. It’s really a task walking with heavy luggage up and down the stairs at these stations. Had quite a workout. We took a train and reached our apartment. Our host himself was on a vacation in Greece and had asked a friend of his to hand over the keys to us. But his friend had forgotten to carry the keys and had to go back to his house midway, which resulted in us waiting outside the apartment for some time. In Bologna we wanted to visit Ducati factory and visit the Ferrari Museum in Maranello. This was going to be a challenge at it was almost 2 pm and we still had to have lunch. So we decided to go to Ducati factory straight away. In Bologna there are no taxi stands except for the main city center and you have to call for a cab. We could not get through the number and requested the local Tabacchi store to help us book one.


We reached the Ducati Factory and were informed that the museum was closed for renovation on the occasion of their 90th anniversary, but could do the factory tour for 45 mins. We bought our tickets for the next scheduled tour and decided to go and have lunch at a nearby restaurant. Post our lunch we went back to the factory for our tour, where we were not allowed to take pictures inside the factory premises for obvious reasons. The tour was good and they showed us the previous factory which was bombed by the Americans during the Second World War. They showed us the assembly line for the Panigale 959, Multistrada , Scrambler to name a few. It was amazing to see a Panigale 959 put through its paces on a dyno test. They also showed us their Area 51 from the outside, where all the R&D is done on their MotoGP bikes. Once the tour was finished we went to the factory store on the other side and just took a stroll around, as I had no intention of buying anything from there. Post that we went back to the city center as there was not enough time to go to the Ferrari museum in Maranello or the Lamborghini factory for that matter. It was a bit disappointing not to visit Ferrari while we were in Italy, but we shall make up for it in the later part of our trip..


Some pictures…

We had bought these gifts for every host from India. It was Divya's idea as we were visiting everyone's house for the first time

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4637.jpg

Our apartment was on the 5th floor

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4645.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4650.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4651.jpg

Poor me..Pulling all the luggage along

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4827.jpg

Parting picture with Uncle Jeff

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4658.jpg

Our two bedroom apartment in Bologna

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4664.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4666.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4667.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4676.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4677.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 18th July 2016 at 22:32.
SnS_12 is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th July 2016, 01:56   #13
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

Pictures continued...

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4680.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4681.jpg

Ducati Factory

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4685.jpg

This is the wall of the old factory which was destroyed during the Second World War


European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4686.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4688.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4691.jpg

Don't remember the name of this dish, but was a house specialty and it was Yummm!!

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4692.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4693.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4694.jpg

Means Closed Room. Just ask an Indian to read it and..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4695.jpg

Don't miss the accelerator pedal to start the water flow from the tap

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4696.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4697.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4704.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4705.jpg

A beautiful scale model of the Panigale 959

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4706.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4708.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4709.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4710.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4742.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4743.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4744.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4745.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4748.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4749.jpg

Factory Store

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4796.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4797.jpg

Our taxi driver had a funny seat. Wonder where is all the cushioning?

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4801.jpg

City center

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4802.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 18th July 2016 at 22:34.
SnS_12 is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th July 2016, 02:18   #14
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

More Pictures..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4806.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4807.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4821.jpg

Time for some desserts

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4808.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4809.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4810.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4811.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4812.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4814.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4815.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4816.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4817.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4825.jpg


Venice/Mestre (17-6-2016)


We packed up and left in the morning for Venice. Had to call for a taxi and it came in 10 minutes and we were on our way to the railway station. We had booked an apartment in Mestre which is 20 minutes by road from Venice. The reason we booked in Mestre was that in Venice you have to walk a lot with your bags or take a water taxi or boat. Lot of steps and bridges to cross, so to avoid that we preferred to stay in Mestre. We got off at Mestre station where our host had come in his car to receive us. The house was only 10 minutes away and it was very kind of our host to come to pick us up. This was a house rather than an apartment in a building and our host rented out a portion of the house which had two bedrooms and a kitchen. The kitchen had a lot of food items and much more than what the previous host’s had offered us. Post freshening up we took a bus and went to Venice. We had our lunch at a restaurant in Venice and then booked our tickets for a boat to get to Murano Island, which are famous for its glass factories. This place can really make your wallet light. The glass artefacts over here were mesmerizing. We bought some items from there which the owner said can be shipped to India along with insurance and would take 20 to 25 days to reach us. We trusted them on this and paid up for the same and are still awaiting to receive our package. Later we realized that most of the glass items and much more were available in Venice itself in the numerous shops on the streets. But we were not sure whether it would have been a better idea to buy it from Venice and have them shipped as the prices were much lower over here.

Post Murano we headed back to Venice by boat and took a gondola ride. The prices are fixed at 80 Euros for a 30 minute ride. It can seat a maximum of 6. So either you seat 6 or 2 people the price is the same. It was a unique experience going through the canals looking at the 700 year old building structures. Post the gondola ride we had a few snacks at a nearby restaurant as we wanted to use the washroom and could not find a public washroom around. Post that we were just walking in the alleys and kept walking towards Marco square. It was quite a long walk and upon reaching the square we found out that it was not accessible without wetting your shoes and pants as the place was flooded due to the rains the previous day. Post this we took a boat ride and went back to the Grand Canal and had our dinner in a restaurant over there. After dinner we headed back to our house in Mestre by taxi and called it a day.

Some pictures..

Waiting for our train at Bologna station

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4837.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4838.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4853.jpg

Our host Simone came in this two door car. Surprisingly the three of us fitted in with four pieces of luggage in this car


European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4855.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4854.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4857.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4859.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4860.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4861.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4862.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4863.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4869.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4870.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4871.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4872.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4874.jpg

Loaded fridge

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4877.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 18th July 2016 at 22:44.
SnS_12 is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th July 2016, 16:06   #15
BHPian
 
SnS_12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Bombay
Posts: 315
Thanked: 844 Times
Default re: European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France

More pictures..

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4878.jpg

So many options to eat

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4879.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4881.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4885.jpg

Bus to go to Venice

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4889.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4891.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4906.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4907.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4909.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4911.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4921.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4922.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4923.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4929.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4930.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4931.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4934.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4938.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4942.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4946.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4947.jpg

Murano Island

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4956.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4959.jpg

Enter if you got a loaded wallet. You will get tempted to buy everything


European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4967.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4968.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4970.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4971.jpg

European Holiday: 13 days around Italy & France-img_4974.jpg

Last edited by SnS_12 : 18th July 2016 at 22:46.
SnS_12 is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A very French Xmas and New Year...Our 14 days in France premjit Travelogues 17 7th June 2015 11:34
Photologue: A short trip to Bonjour-Land! 3 days in offbeat France SoumenD Travelogues 5 19th December 2013 15:21
'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue! V-16 Travelogues 38 24th September 2013 13:56
YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia) Sam Kapasi Travelogues 387 5th March 2012 17:37
Through Italy in 7 days beejay Travelogues 16 17th November 2009 22:29


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 10:27.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks