Italy: An Introduction

We’ve been back on U.S. soil for exactly 37 days.

I avoided looking at a single picture from the trip for the first 34—and for good reason.

The second I saw snaps of Adami and Florence and La Spezia, my heart skipped some sixty beats, longing for the country we trekked top to bottom in just 16 days.

Seeing the 1,000+ (maybe even 2,000?) pictures I took over those two weeks sprawled as a series of thumbnails will never cease to amaze me. We squeezed so much into that trip and yet the second we boarded our plane out of Milan I couldn’t help but think we’d only scratched the surface. Of the towns we visited, I’d have doubled our days in all but one or two. And there were so many towns we didn’t visit that I’d give anything to go back and see.

World travel is torture.

That said, I want to talk about what we did. The sites and the people and the history and the food and the food and THE FOOD.

And I’m not lying when I say we actually lost weight.

Before diving into the details of every day we spent overseas, I figured I’d close the loop on this bad boy.

To start, we actually booked three hostels in advance (so not totally insane), but a fourth had to happen as soon as we landed. Because my luggage never left Newark and they needed to know where we’d be staying in Florence. For delivery purposes. Even though it was never delivered.

All smiles in the Omaha Airport, long before the fateful separation of girl and bag.

More on that later!

We didn’t book a single bus or train until we got there and I’m very glad—the flexibility made my whole luggage situation a smidgen less stressful.

It probably would have been way less stressful if that flexibility didn’t involve skipping a stop altogether. #foreverbitter

But I can’t tell you how glad I was to be reunited with my bag. And not just because I craved my own clothes and toiletries and hairbrush, but because I had just purchased the thing and formed an instant bond that crappy United broke so suddenly, I may never forgive them.

I look like trash but this was easily the greatest moment of my life.

About the bag: It was definitely an investment.

There was never a point where I regretted the high price tag, but even if there had been, I was so grateful for the mobility on so many occasions, the disdain would’ve worn off by Hour 2 of Day 1.

If you ever take a single piece of advice from this braindump of a blog, let it be this:

Do not take a rolling suitcase on your European adventures.

For starters, EVERY STREET IS COBBLESTONE. Your arms will vibrate to no end and you’ll start to hate yourself—but not as much as the people hearing your wheels rumble along the street as they try to get around the bag you’re dragging with the handle fully extended, causing you to take up way more space than any one person should be allowed in a crowded metro area.

So yeah, get a backpack.

What I liked about ours was each one came with a removable daypack! (Especially handy for our visit to Cinque Terre. SPOILER ALERT.)

Not pictured: Drew’s daypack, Pictured: my half-borrowed ensemble

Just make sure one of your hostels has laundry. Because as fancy as I sounded saying we’d plan for that, I totally dropped the ball and poor Drew was stuck washing his delicates in our bathroom sink.

Truly shocking he’s stuck with me for this long. Not just because I overlook seemingly minor yet important details on the reg, but I also manage to direct that valuable attention towards rambling about nothing in particular.

And with that, I leave you. But promise an official Part One is on the way, full of answers to your most burning questions.

How did we fare the overseas redeye? In which city were my bag and I finally reunited? Where can one find the gorgeous ruins above?

And what nationality were the biggest buttheads of the trip?

You’ll have to come back to find out.


Jam to: Gloria Gaynor

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