2017: Italy & Greece (Falemalu’s 30th)
After burying myself in text books and assignments I promised myself after studies I will travel. I sacrificed most of my late teenage years and early 20s studying my ass off to ensure I graduated University with a degree. So after graduation I started my adventures. 2013 was my first solo trip overseas. I decided to go see my cousin in Hawaii!! Thats when I got the travel bug!lol
2017 my cousin and I decided to explore Europe some more after seeing London and Paris in 2015 during Rugby World Cup. We decided to spend her 30th roaming in the streets of Rome whilst being in the midst of ancient historical ruins. No feeling like it! We were overwhelmed with the beauty of Rome. From the architecture and engineering of the Colosseum to the beautiful painting by Michaelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. I was also just as excited about the food. My favourite is Italian. The smell of tomatoes and cheese was everywhere. The wine is amazing!! I could go on about my love for Italian but I’ll save that for another blog post!lol
We booked our flights around January prior to departure in May. Our accommodations were pre booked and paid before we departed. We used a combination of Air Bnb (www.airbnb.com) and Hotels (www.booking.com) on this trip. It was much easier for us to prebook everything so we have a better idea of how much money we needed for transport, food and shopping. Air Bnb is definitely the cheaper option. We booked our accommodation quite late so we missed out on some really good places that were cheap but had the best view and proximity to the attractions we wanted to see. So I recommend to book accomodations early! We both assigned ourselves to do certain parts of the trip. Malu and I decided to split the workload and have each person be responsible for a city (i.e. bookings of accomodation, flights and tours). This made it easier for us to split the responsibilities. Tours are so important. You want to make sure that you utilise time wisely in each city especially if trip is less than 3 weeks. We found we made the most of each city because we had something to do each day we were there. We booked all our tours on www.viator.com. They have awesome tours and tour guides. We learnt so much about each city during these tours. We met some Aussies as well. I was the only Kiwi amongst them and yes you guessed it. They had a go. I think they are still recovering from the 2015 Rugby World Cup loss!lol Jokes aside, it was good to meet some folks from down under. We all ended up having dinner after tour. So tours are also great for meeting new people. So definitely recommend it.
Our first day in Rome was quiet. We were exhausted from 24 hours travel time. Yes 24 hours!! I flew from Auckland to Melbourne to meet Falemalu (4 hours) on Etihad Airways. We then flew from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi (14 hours) and then Abu Dhabi to Rome (6 hours, 25 minutes). We were jet lagged. To make matters worst the airline left my luggage in Melbourne. I had to buy some clothes to wear the next day. My luggage arrived two days later. Not a pleasant experience so make sure your luggage tags state final destination. I wished Falemalu a happy birthday twice – in Melbourne and when we reached Rome as they are a day behind Australia and New Zealand. We celebrated her day on our first day in Rome. We had dinner at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the city (sorry forgot the name of the restaurant). Food was divine and had the best moscato wine. This was the only place that served moscato during our trip!lol
Second day we did the Vatican tour. Must do. The paintings were breathtaking. Learnt a lot of Roman history on this tour. The third day we did the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.