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Report 1821: First Trip to Italy

By Jeff M from Colorado, Spring 2009

Trip Description: Jeff and his brother "Alex" travel to Rome, Orvieto, Naples and Capri from 4/21/09 - 5/5/09, even doing some "couch-surfing" along the way.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Campania, Rome, Umbria

Categories: Convent; Family/Friends; Hotels/B&Bs; Biking; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 20: Intro, Rome

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Landing pattern

Now that work has slowed down, I can finally write about my first trip to Italy that took place at the end of April, 2009. The trip came about as an agreement between my brother and me. In a desire to become debt-free, I lived at my brother’s house for about a year paying a very low rent and used my remaining income to pay off a credit card, school loan and car payment. In exchange, once debt-free I would take him to Italy for two weeks, paying for his airfare and lodging. Win-win.

As it turns out, I’m a type-A traveler. I like to have a plan, and a contingency for any and all possible failures of said plan. If I’m going to spend a large chunk of my savings on a trip, I need to ensure its success as much as possible. Had I been on the flip side and my trip paid for by someone else, I could probably relax a bit and go with the flow. This was not the case, and so I bought the flight at the optimum buying time (five months in advance), all accommodations reserved three months out, and as much knowledge of the Italian language I could muster in five months of self study. After all this and months of browsing Google Maps and every known resource at the bookstore, we were ready to go.

We flew over night on Lufthansa, had a four hour layover in Frankfurt (perfect for a nap), and touched down at Fiumicino late that afternoon. My very first attempt at communication with the locals was not perfect: I asked for “due biglietti per Travestere”, but the man in the ticket booth politely corrected me and gave me tickets for Trastevere, a stop that actually exists. Upon exiting the train at Trastevere, my plan was to find the nearest pay phone and call our hostess for the next six nights. She would pick us up at the train stop and take us to her place. This was not only my first trip out of the country, but my first try at couch-surfing.

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