Sunday, September 22, 2013

Italy 2013 - General Summary

This is meant as a general summary of my Italy trip, notes and general comments.  The numbering is merely that, it is not a list of based on importance/priority.

1. People told me to watch my wallet but I didn't run into any problems. I have heard a lot of warnings about this though.

2. Overall all the gelato places that we tried we thought were good. No real complaints. We paid usually between 2-3 euros depending on the size. Was told that there are places that ran up to 6 euro but didn't see this.

3. For big attractions it is best to prebook them. I didn't believe this until I saw the lines.

4. Getting around with just English was sufficient for us. 

5. The train system there all have English menus even if their website do not. All tickets can be bought through machines.

6. Local buses may not have a ticket machine. Go to the nearest tabbachi (convenient store) to buy them.

7. Remember to valid your bus/train ticket for the local bus/trains. The fines are quite heavy even for tourists. There is usually a box that will stamp your ticket.

8. There are mosquitoes! You have been warned.

9. Weather during our trip was really nice (Sept 7 - 21). From mid to high 20's. Only one night of rain.

10. Tipping is not required. Everything has tax included. The only surprises we got were cover charges for certain restaurants.

11. There are water fountains located randomly in the cities, bring a bottle to hold water.

12. TripAdvisor has an app called 'TripAdvisor City Guides'.  This is a free app that will download offline popular cities that they have information for.  The offline information allows you to look at reviews, attractions, restaurants, among other things offline.  If your phone has GPS, the app can show you where you are, even direct you as needed.

13. Osmand is a free offline map app for Android (not sure about others) that allows you to download city maps offline on your phone.  I used this for cities that was not on TripAdvisor City Guides and it works very well.  The first 10 downloads are free.  Very useful when I was getting lost.