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Trip Report 24 Days in Italy - Bologna, Venice, Siena, Roma, Bellagio and Positano

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Well, it’s been a few weeks now since I returned from a fabulous 24 day stay in Italy. I’ll say this, planning the trip and researching the trip is much less daunting than finding the time to write about the adventure. Sorry it has taken me this long to do it, but I came back to work and it has just been pure chaos.

As for the trip report, I’m going to break this down by places I visited and will provide details of what went on at each place. I’ll post a bit about the things I did, places I ate at, places I stayed and any other pertinent info I can remember/provide.

I want to provide a little bit of background about this trip and about myself to give an understanding of some of the things I did or was planning to do. I am a 33 year old, single guy. I am originally from outside the Boston area (Salem MA and Auburn NH). I currently am living/working in Doha Qatar and spend a lot of time in Dubai. I work there as a Contractor for the US Military as the Regional Manager for a Telecom Company. I enjoy traveling around, cooking, eating good food, partying, history and many other things.

I can speak a fair bit of Italian, but I understand a bit more. Two of my grandparents were born in Italy (Como and Florence), and they spoke Italian often when I was younger. They mostly spoke it around us when we were bad or when they didn’t want us to know what they were saying. Eventually I learned a bit, but have been using the Rosetta Stone software to learn more. One other grandparent was born in the US a couple of months after her parents arrived from Sicily.

This was my 6th trip to Italy, although the first 3 times really are hard to count. The first trip to Italy was back in 98, and that was when I was in the US Air Force. I had a 2 week trip to the Pisa area to play softball for our base team in an AF tournament. We had 2 days off, and one day we spent in Florence, the other I spent at the beach in Livorno. I had stayed at the Army Base (Camp Darby) at the campground. I was stationed in the UK for 3 years, and when I found out that I could camp out at Camp Darby for $20 a day, I made a couple of more weekend trips back there to relax at the beach over the next 2 years. On one of those trips, I made a day trip to Rome, but just walked around and didn’t go in anywhere.

So essentially, this was my 3rd trip to Italy. This trip was a bit different, since I was having a friend join me for a portion of the trip. My friend was considering taking vacation somewhere in Europe when I convinced her to skip that and instead join me in Italy since I was already going to be there. So she agreed and joined me for the first 10 days. This was her first time to Italy, so that altered my planning a bit. I wanted to show her as much as I could, but didn’t want to cram in too much or move around too much.

After she decided to join me (this was back in late April) I told her that I would take care of all the planning, since I already had an idea of what I wanted to do. One of the things that I knew I was going to do was see my favorite band, Blink 182. I knew they had a European tour scheduled and when I saw they were going to be in Bologna on Sept 4 for the I-day festival, I knew that I had to go. So that is what set up the initial part of the trip. I decided that I could start my trip on the 3rd and would see them on the 4th in Bologna.

With that set in stone, we worked her arrival and the rest of trip on that. We were able to find her a ticket from DC (IAD) leaving on the 3rd and arriving on the 4th at 2:30pm in Bologna. The flight was an Air France flight and had a stop in Paris before arriving in Bologna. Her return flight would be on the morning of the 15th out of Rome. For this she paid $741.

I was going to fly from Doha Qatar to Rome on the 3rd and then was going to take a train up to Bologna upon arrival. I decided to stay until the 26th and would return to Doha. My flight cost me $980 on Qatar Airways and was a direct flight.

Flights were now set, so I began planning both the time with her and my time alone. The only thing I wanted to do in Bologna was eat and see the concert, and with her arriving on the 4th, I figured that we could see the concert, sleep in the next day and head to Venice. After Venice, the plan was to head to Siena and spend a few days there in the Tuscan region and then spend her final days in Rome.

After her departure, I wanted to visit some places I had not been to yet, so I decided on Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast. Before anyone says it, yes, the route of this trip was all over the place, but that was dictated by the fact that I had to plan around her portion of the trip. So it didn’t make sense for my travel, but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make. I know for most people I had planned too much moving around and truthfully, this was also the case for me, but again, I wanted to ensure she saw what she could of Italy. In retrospect, I should have just made my plans and saw what I wanted to, and even that would have been a great vacation for her as well.

There was a lot of planning that took place between the time I made the flights and from the start of the trip, and I would like to thank all those who helped answer my questions, had written previous trip reports and gave good advice when I asked for it. I would especially like to thank Ekscrunchy, Weekender, Bob the Navigator, Nochblad, Franco, Zeppole and Flame123. Ekscrunchy had such detailed trip reports that drove me absolutely crazy. I had been stuck working in Afghanistan and Iraq for 4 months during the planning stages, and her reports about all the wonderful food she ate caused my stomach such great pain because I was eating horrible food at a military dining facility.

I hope the above isn’t too long winded, but I felt it was necessary to provide the background so others could understand the trip I had planned. I will be posting about the first part of my trip, Bologna, a little bit later today.

I also hope that I can get my photo's edited throughout the week and will post links to those as well once they are finished.

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