Overcome By Events (OBE).

That’s my excuse for why I’ve been MIA from this blog forever two weeks. After the terrible events at the Boston Marathon last Monday, and the horrible explosion in West, Texas, I decided to take a little break from blogging. Being a runner, what happened in Boston really hit home and my heart goes out to all of those affected. I took some time to hug my puppy a little tighter; even though he really doesn’t like it, and ended up biting me and jump kicking me running away. I spent some time with the husband and friends, and did some crafting therapy to snap me out of my funk.


I’m still working on that Florence post, but in the meantime, check out these interesting posts about travel:

Ten Tips for Smoother Travel – This is one of my favorite DIY blogs. This dynamic duo has been traveling around the US (and then some) promoting their new DIY Book and they have a few great tips on how to make travel easy, breezy.

Rome Travel: Why You Should Skip the Colosseum. Forget the Vatican Too. – When this article showed up on my Twitter feed, I was pretty shocked by the title. What do you mean, ‘Skip the Colosseum?!’, but once I read through it, I wished I had seen it before our Italy tripCondé Nast Traveler put together a list of sites to see instead of the typical tourist jaunts like the Colosseum and the Vatican. While I don’t necessarily agree that you should miss the big sites, the ones offered in this article provide good, alternative sightseeing off the beaten path. I think if you were spending some extra time in Rome, or if you were making a return trip, that these should be on your must see list.

London’s Secret Small Hotels – This post has a few hotels (some a little more affordable than others) that never came across my radar when we were searching for places to stay last December or this past March. Check them out as a different alternative to your everyday chain hotel.

If there are any runners out there, I’d love to hear how you stay in shape while traveling.  Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

*The YHL book link above is an affiliate link, and will not cost you anything extra.*

We’re going to Italy…No, really

A few of my conversations early last fall with my husband went like this:

Me: Wouldn’t it be great to go to Italy before we have kids?

Hubs: Yeah, that would be nice…if we have the money.

Me: We should go next year.

Hubs: Do we have enough money go to?

Me: No, really…we need to go. I need to go. We’re going.

Hubs: How much is this going to cost?

That’s when I started my research and hatched a plan to get to Italy before becoming a mama. First things first was figuring out what cities to hit and how long to spend in each place. I started by checking out a few of my favorite travel blogs as well as some message boards. (I love how detailed and candid Amanda of Kevin and Amanda is with her travel posts.) We picked March to go because it was pretty much the only month that didn’t interfere with work commitments or weddings or bridal/baby showers.

It sounded like Venice, Florence and Rome were on the top of everyone’s must see list. Some of the other cities were Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Sorrento and the Almafi Coast. We added Cinque Terre and Sorrento to the list, ruling out staying in Tuscany because we would be close enough in Florence to take a day trip out if we wanted to and we ruled out the Almafi Coast because we’d also be able to take a day trip from Sorrento…plus, we weren’t sure how the weather would be in March.

View from inside the Vatican Museum of St. Peter's

View from inside the Vatican Museum of St. Peter’s

About this time, we had told a few friends that we were going to Italy and they wanted to join. This changed our plans a little, because now we’d need to look for larger places to stay and our one friend had family in Sorrento. We started planning out our itinerary and realized that we wouldn’t be able to do Sorrento and Cinque Terre in one, two week trip, so we dropped Cinque Terre and added it on to our Future Trips list.

From talking to friends and interwebs research, a half day (travel day) and a full day in Venice sounded like enough. We wouldn’t get to visit Lido, Burano or Murano, but we’d get a good feel for Venice. We decided that two nights in Venice would be good.

For Florence we went back and forth with how many nights we should stay there and originally decided on three. We ended up adding an extra night in order to spend a full day on a winery tour…good move, right?

Some of my friends had recently been to Rome and said it was their favorite city with tons to see, so we decided to spend four nights there also. That left three nights in Sorrento. We had originally planned on working our way down the country from Venice to Florence to Rome to Sorrento, and then coming back up to leave out of Rome. A quick read of one of Rick Steve’s websites made me make a slight change to our itinerary and put Rome last…which would later prove to be one of the best choices of any trip I’ve ever taken…but more on that in another post.

Our final itinerary looked like this:

Day 1: Depart home for Venice

Day 2: Arrive in Venice

Day 3: Tour Venice

Day 4: Travel from Venice to Florence (by train)

Day 5: Tour Florence

Day 6: Tour Florence/Tuscany

Day 7: Tour Florence/Tuscany

Day 8: Travel from Florence to Rome (by train and pick up car) to Sorrento

Day 9: Tour Sorrento

Day 10: Tour Sorrento

Day 11: Travel from Sorrento to Rome

Day 12: Tour Rome

Day 13: Tour Rome

Day 14: Tour Rome

Day 15: Depart Rome for home

The only addition was that we had a early morning flight out, had a 12 hour layover in London, and then flew out London early the next morning for Venice.

Looking back on the trip, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about the itinerary. I think we spent enough time in each city that we really got a feel for them. If I wanted to squeeze in another city I think we could have cut a day off of Florence, Rome and maybe Sorrento, but those were the lazy days when we got to relax, walk around the city, and enjoy what Italians call ‘la dolce vita’, the sweet life.

In the next few posts I’ll talk about the rest of our adventures in Italy and what made it the trip of a lifetime.

What one trip have you been dreaming about taking?