Venice is so romantic!

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Venice is truly a romantic city and I am so lucky to be able to visit it with my special someone. If 5 years ago you tell me that I will visit this alluring city with someone I love, I wouldn't have believed you. This really is a place every couple should visit together because every corner of this city is like a real-life painting. The old bridges that join hearts, the love flowing in the canals, the roses that kept blooming, the big moon lighting the city ; Don't ever wake me up from this dream.
Venice gets more romantic at night. The moon above the bridge, the yellow lamps dimming the canals. It feels like a scene out of a Nicholas Spark's film.
A very bad picture of us with the moon & for some unexplainable reason, its the only picture we took together #saywhut #havetogoagain
Ouh look! behind me is a very expensive Gondola ride. 
I must confess; we didn't take the iconic Gondola ride for one reason, its expensive af. But I would love to if we return again someday. Its completely crazy that Venice mode of transportation is entirely by water, even their AMBULANCE! I cannot imagine being sick and having to take a Boat-Ambulance to the hospital. Super interesting though to see how they clear the trash and deliver commodities using just boats! Mindblowing!


Let me tell you something; the difference between Venice than any other cities in Italy is that, in other cities; you are rushing for time, always on the move to see as many things in that limited period. But in Venice, time stops. Time is eternal. Every moment seems so special even if its as simple as walking hand in hand by the canals. I don't know how to explain it but time just stops and you are deeply in love. The kind of love you will remember for the rest of your life.

This is my version of Venice and from what it seems, anything that is unplanned turns out to be perfect. I wasn't planning to visit Venice as at that point, I was already in Rome. But I guess, we really wanted to see each other while I was still in Europe. So He booked his tickets to Venice and I booked mine. And then on, our chapter in Venice begins.


Accommodation : Due to the budget that we have, we decided to stay in a city near Venice just by the nearest train station called Venice Mestre . Its about 20 mins train ride to Venice and the ticket isn't expensive. Honestly, the cheapest accommodation you can get near Venice. It was only 30 Euros a night.


Venice is literally a maze! So be prepared to get wonderfully lost in it and then finding yourself standing somewhere really nice and picturesque. As there are many restaurants, you will be spoiled with choices and it gets exhausting trying to choose one. My advice, just go to the first restaurant you see because you will never find it again even if you want to! haha!


St. Mark’s aka Piazza San Marco is an absolute stunner. Obviously the most popular square in Venice. Whichever lane you take, it will lead to this square filled with pigeons,souvenir shops & all sorts of people

Impressive bell tower!

Paintings are just scattered everywhere. Venice is where artists live and blossomed! I mean, who would ever suffer from creative constipation in a city as beautiful as Venice? Every angle, every corner, every sidewalk of this city I can imagined it being water-coloured into a masterpiece.


All we did there was to take a stroll. Passing by nothing, passing by anything. Watches with dreamy eyes the boats rowing past, couples kissing, flock of birds.. the green water. It was just very, natural.
You only need a day to discover the whole of Venice but like I said, time stops there  ;)

xx




When in Rome, my favourite city in Italy



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12 days in Rome wasn't enough. I love Rome and its easily one of my favourite city in the world! If you are planning to visit Rome, you are in for a TREAT & I am jealous! There are so many free things to do in Rome and that is the best part! Free arts everywhere, yes we are talking about Roman Ruins, Indulge yourself with the variety of food, the fresh pastas! Here are some information and highlights of my stay in Rome!

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WHAT TO WEAR IN ROME

1. If you are wearing heels all the time like me, it will be quite a challenge as Rome is old and so their tiles are usually wide uneven cobblestones. Therefore I would recommend wearing thicker heels instead of pointy one.
2. Leather is widely appreciated in Italy, so wear it like the Romans. But, It can be really hot wearing it in the day though perfect in the evening. In May, it was about 39degrees!

WHAT TO BE AWARE OF IN ROME

1.BEWARE OF TEENAGERS! Most of them walk in a group or just as a couple and they will attempt to steal from you! I encountered this thrice and it was so scary because they did it openly and were very bold! I was actually walking around Termini Station with my handbag zipped, this couple came beside me and I felt her hand unzipping my bag and I shouted "Hey what are you doing?!" the couple stopped & the guy actually demanded why I shouted at his gf. He said I was trying to pick a fight despite me explaining that she tried to steal from me! HORRENDOUS!

2. Italian men are over friendly! haha! Sometimes its nice to get attention from guys telling you how beautiful you are. But Romans are not shy & can be very persistent. There was once a Roman guy insisted for a kiss on the lips after He helped carried my luggage up the stairs, it was awkward as I thought He was joking !

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BUDGET IN ROME
Italy is expensive compared to Spain and especially in Florence and Rome.
I stuck to the 60euros/day budget and it was enough for Transportation,  Decent Meals & some souvenirs? Any remaining balance will be rollover to the next 60 euros or cut down if overspent.

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*IMPORTANT! TRANSPORTATION IN ROME

The most complex system compared to any other countries!! You actually buy your bus/train tickets at any "TABACCHI" which is literally Tobacco shops that sells cigarets & magazines. Sometimes, they can even run out of tickets and theres no way you can buy one!!! SO RIDICULOUS. At times, I entered the bus without a ticket, it was a gamble as I may get a fined when caught but I did it many times. Because you don't even show your ticket to the driver, you simply have to get it stamped inside the bus with this little machine. NO ONE GIVES A FUCK BUT WHEN YOU GET CAUGHT YOU ARE IN TROUBLE.

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FREE CRAZY PARTIES , NIGHTLIFE IN ROME

We had so much fun partying the nights in rome! Their clubs are so lively and people are always dancing , music is great! Lots of international people as most of them are exchanged students too.
Go to AFROMA for guest list & enter club for free! We really enjoyed Shari Vari because of the crowd! You can easily signed up for Guestlist on their website or FB page so you can get in for free

BE WARNED OF PATROLLING POLICE ON THEIR HIGH HORSES!  
They are friendly and usually willing to have a conversation with you. You can even get to know the lovely horses!




ROME-ING AROUND VATICAN CITY

Obviously you cannot miss the Vatican City while in Rome. It is so huge and the museum is incredible! Though I would highly recommend to book your tickets online as the queue there is insane! I waited about 2 hours in line! It is interesting to see international worshippers gathered here and also the amazing architecture. Set aside about 3-5 hours to explore this place as it is definitely a must visit!
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BEAUTIFUL ROSE GARDEN
The most beautiful things in life comes for free; like this beautiful garden filled with all kinds of roses! Summer in Italy means blossoming roses everywhere and this special garden is filled with over 50 different kinds of roses! Grab a drink and a slice of pizza while enjoying the aromatic ambiance this place has to offer!


CRAZY OVER THE COLOSSEUM 
How can you not visit THE most iconic monument of Italy, known worldwide, adorn by the Italians, admired by travellers and photographers! Its so stunning from the outside you don't necessarily have to pay to see the inside unless you want to


THE TREVI FOUNTAIN OF ROME
This one is a very crowded but beautiful fountain, yet another popular icon of Rome. The amount of tourists here is INSANE! You can't enjoy much except to flip a coin, make a wish, snap a picture and leave asap!


THE PANTHEON , WHAT A NICE PLACE
A must see not only because of its architecture but also the neighbourhood is pretty awesome! In the day, filled with gelato and food! In the night, its the place you want to be because it is alive and cool bars scattered everywhere


EXPLORE THE WONDERS OF ROMAN FORUM AND PIAZZA NAVONA
Great for strolling and picture taking. Best to understand and imagine how ROME was like and this may take hours to just a few minutes all depending on how far you want to walk. It is a breathtaking stroll especially when you can see beauty in all the ruins.

Theres just too many things to do in Rome, you can choose any path and you'll get to a beautiful destination with many interesting stops. I would strongly suggest staying at least 4 days in Rome.

xx

Pisa, Florence, Livorno,San Gimignano, Volterra : & the beaches along Tuscany

Tuscany is a beautiful region in Italy. There is just so much to see and so much to do here! Its home to the famous Pisa, beautiful beaches and the capital, Florence which is the home of some remarkable arts! Its diverse natural landscape encompasses fields of Sunflowers, Blue pebbly beaches, old towns making it one of my fondest road trips in Europe! 

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How we got there: Took a 1 hour train from La Spezia to Livorno with a free stopover in Pisa!
The first stop we did on our Tuscany Trails is to Pisa. Typically involves just a few hours where you get to take cheesy photos of the Leaning Tower, which I admit, and guilty of having so much fun doing it! People watching and laughing at how silly other people's poses are part of the Pisa experience ! The Baptistery of St John which completes the whole landscape of Pisa is just as amazing. as its exterior is intricately designed 

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This is about the most creative shot we could get without being cliche! haha!



travel to livorno tuscany italy, summer in livorno, what to do in livornoThe next stop in Tuscany was to visit a darling friend in Livorno where we stayed in his unusual forest house situated deep in the woods past the wheat fields. It was about 30 mins drive off central Livorno!


He constructed this amazing house from scratch by himself! And it has an amazing outdoor bbq pit where he threw for us a welcoming party with food he skillfully prepared!
Tonchan, my host is most hospitable and eccentric! His gracious ways include driving us to the secluded hidden beaches of Livorno and cooking delicious food.
Tonchan was such a lovely and knowledgeable host. He hosted us for a night and then we proceeded to Florence. Because of his special self, I decided to return to Livorno for a few days after my sister and cousin went back to Singapore.
Knowing that I am such a beach bum & so is Tonchan, the next few days spent with him are to the different beaches in Tuscany and road trips to medieval old towns! I can't complain! :p
He drove me to the Rocky Beach, White Sand Beach, Old Castle Beach ; I dont exactly know their names because these beaches are scattered all along Tuscany Coast.

The outdoor bbq place where it can host about 100 pax! AMAZING!
This was so fresh, so full of flavour & I'm badly craving for it now!!
Honestly, the best thing about befriending a local in a new place is that you can rely on that person to bring you to hideouts! This secret beach is off the beaten path but we got to swim in the clear sea with sea urchins, fishes, and octopus! 
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To  get here, we parked the car somewhere along the main road. Walked off the beaten tracks and into a "NO ENTERING ZONE", past the under tunnel and out to this secluded sea spot! *Locals' secret
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Tonchan has this floating bed where he would tie himself to a rope attaching this float and swim to the middle of the sea pulling us along with it! So much fun and certainly out of the ordinary
This one was at the white sandy beach as they call it! Apparently only one in Livorno. So beautiful, they even built this Stick Teepee! Although, here's a warning! Somewhere near the beach is a Factory where they dispose their water straight to the sea. I swam here although I notice none were actually swimming and got a urinal infection for a few days! NOT COOL. I only notice the Factory when we were about to go home.
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When in Livorno, you have to stop by this bakery dessert place called Pasticceria Cristiani. its the top 5 best bakery! Packed it and head down to the beach to enjoy it!
This was taken at a beach right next to an old castle!
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Me on a pitstop on the way to Volterra! This is called Staccioli Sculpture;  stunning metal circle that frames the landscape and begs us to consider Tuscany’s rolling hills a work of art.

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I remember standing in between the Sunset and the Rising New Moon and the feeling was just magical. Looking at this stunning view and just absorbing its energy from both the old and new. 
I remember that after this trip, I got so incredibly tanned that I can never get back to my natural skin colour! haha! If you love beaches and is travelling to Italy, I suggest dropping by Livorno or maybe just exlore the beautiful beaches along Tuscany as they are all so relaxing and worth the visit!
Famous Roadtrips you can go while in Tuscany: Volterra & San Gimignano
Tonchan brought me on a road trip to two famous and stunning medieval city, The first roadtrip right after the beach was to Volterra! I was so excited to visit because its the place where Twilight was shot! I grew up reading and watching The Twilight Saga so this was amazing to me! Actually, this city was shot many times for different fiction films due to their amazing ancient Roman feels. But in Twilight, This city is the home to the oldest and most powerful clan of Vampires!
Look at me all smiley and glowing. This happens when you are enjoying life ;)
We also had dinner at this amazing famous restaurant in Volterra where this fully-tattooed-chef insisted on sharing with me the strories of his body art. So amusing!
How remarkable! We admired the towers surrounding us in the town square, also there's this famous Gelato Ice Cream Shop that you have to try!
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 The next and last day, we went to an Italian Hilltown, southwest of Florence called San Gimignano aka The Town of Fine Towers.
Thats tiny me surrounded by magnificent old towers!
This place reminds me alot of scene from Beauty and the Beast especially because of the old well behind me!
So there is this cool shop that sells handmade weapons from films like Game of Thrones, Lord of The Ring etc. I actually got that tiny sword! Lovely handicraft
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So of course, I am not forgetting the capital of Tuscany, Florence. Oh how beautiful and charming this is city! I absolutely love it! The famous art square, the museums, the cafes, the Gelatos, the bridge!
Our host is an enthusiastic Salsa dancer who taught us a thing or two. Brought us to taste the best coffee and best gelatos in town! Rode on a Vespa around the city! Imagine 3 girls and a guy on 1 Vespa- INSANELY FUN!
With beautiful arts, good coffees and divine selection of gourmet, I really love my time in Florence
I actually enjoy having my nice cup of coffee while people watching. Italians are nice to look at :p

I think Tuscany, in general is an amazing part of Italy that I definitely enjoy most. The beautiful beaches and art truly are mesmerising. Its easy and completely understandable why some people picked Italy as their top country to visit for a vacation!

Keep travelling 
xx