These stories are true and happened to myself and my wife, Jo Anne in Italy. The first three are funny and the last is informative. Travel, especially to Italy, is all about stories and experiences. We have many experiences in Italy. These four stories are a few of them.
Enjoy traveling, Enjoy Italy and have fun. You will never forget your experiences, your trips or your stories. Please watch the video below to hear our stories:
Categories: Casal Velino Marina, Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Parking Meters, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Vallo della Lucania, VLOG
Tags: Campania, Diesel Fuel, Driving, IPhone, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Parking Tickets, Stick Shift, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism
Phones have become a part of our daily lives. We rely on them for everything. I have an iPhone 5 and use AT&T cellular service. I was grandfathered into an unlimited data plan so they have me until that changes. When you go to Europe (or any place outside the USA) your plan no longer stands. If you have unlimited free calls, that is only in the USA. In Europe you will be charged for all calls made as well as incoming messages even if you don’t answer the call. If the phone is off or in airport mode, then the in coming messages are not charged unless you listen to them. Data is you ability to do internet searches, maps and run your various apps. Your home data plan does not include foreign data usage. You will be charged a hefty fee for the use of data. You can buy a phone plan that reduces the cost of calls. Only do this if you must make or receive calls for your work or an important personal matter at home. You can also buy a data plan. AT&T charges $30 for so many MB of data usage. This can easily be exceeded if you stream video or music or send pictures and videos to friends or Facebook. The experience can end up costing you a lot of money.
OK what to do? I keep my phone in airport mode all the time. If I am at a hotel I either get free wi-fi or I buy it (usually around $10/night). This is much cheaper than the data costs from your phone company. You can keep your phone in airport mode and still connect to wi-fi. There are no additional charges from your phone company. You can also go to a free wi-fi area (like a town, cafe or restaurant). Once you are on wi-fi you can get your email, check Facebook, etc. Avoid texting since that costs extra (except on apple texting to another iPhone – iMSG). Send emails and you can include all the pictures and videos you want. It’s free! I use a Tom Tom app for Europe when driving. It costs a one time $50. It is a great app that does not use the internet. I can keep my phone in airport mode and still get GPS directions. If you have to go off airport mode to make a call, Make sure you turn off data over cellular in your preferences. If not your apps could start using data.
Phones are important in Europe as is directions. If you get lost it is nice to find your way back to your hotel with a GPS app. Make sure you have it in walk mode. Get an app like Tom Tom that does not use the internet for directions. I usually save a favorite for my hotel so I can easily use it when needed. Happy travels!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: General Travel, GPS, Hotels, Phones
Tags: GPS, IPhone, No Tour Touring, Phone Charges in Europe, Phones, Smart Phones, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism
I long for the lights of Christmas in Italy, the panettone and the merriment of Italian Christmas. The food is always great, the countryside is beautiful but Christmas brings on a special way in Italian cities. I love buying cheese, bread, sweets any time of year. The Italians wrap them up like a gift. When you get home you get to open your gift and then enjoy its taste. What fun!
I year ago we were in Rome for New Years eve. It was great. The temperature was not overly cold, the Christmas lights were still up and everyone was happy. They closed the main streets of old Rome and millions walked them with iPhones lit like candles. At midnight there was a spectacular fireworks display. The next day as we walked these same streets, we saw champagne corks from the night before. Enjoy your life more! Be romantic!
Italiano: Panettone milanese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Europe, Festivals, General Travel, Italy, Rome
Tags: Christmas, Food, IPhone, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, New Year's Eve, No Tour Touring, Panettone, Romance, Rome
Europe – Satellite image – PlanetObserver (Photo credit: PlanetObserver)
Europeans are very similar to us in style and thinking but at the same time so different. I tried to look at the main differences that cause them to be so attractive to us:
- They have a reverence for old things. We destroy old for new malls or shopping centers. In Europe the old stuff is what it’s all about. Walking the same ancient walkways as the Romans or the Etruscans is unbelievable. Seeing how sophisticated they were so long ago. We tend to think of people before Christ as not very sophisticated. After all they didn’t have iPhones and the internet. They had sophistication. Lots of it in how they controlled water, flush toilets, streets that cleaned themselves with water and their buildings. This is one reason we travel to Europe to see this old stuff because we don’t have it in America.
- The food is so much better. Europeans still care about ancient farming techniques, nutrients in the soil and taste of their food. We seem to be totally converted to eating what’s in a box, can or frozen container. So much of our food is processed with excess salt. It is no wonder we have so many diseases. Sitting in a European restaurant and seeing the food colors, smelling the food and then tasting it is a reason so many of us go there.
- Most of us in America have European roots. We love to go back and see where mom & dad or grandma and grandpa came from. Maybe we still have relatives there to visit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love America and its people but we do have a drawing to Europe. It should be on all of our bucket lists. The experience is not one you will soon forget.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Europe, General Travel
Tags: Christ, Cooking, Etruscan, Etruscan civilization, European Union, Food, IPhone, No Tour Touring, Romance, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Travel Guides, United States
Image via CrunchBase
WE use the Tom Tom app for iPhone in the US and love it. I just purchased the Western Europe Tom Tom app for our European trips. It is the same app so we are already familiar with it. We programmed in out Italian place as HOME and it found it and even showed the dirt road leading to us and the long winding driveway. I highly recommend some form of a GPS for getting around Europe. They are easy to use and will build your confidence in driving around your favorite country.
I programmed in favorites that we visit a lot, like the Rome Fumicino Airport (Leonardo Da Vinci). Now when we want to head for the airport we just pick from the favorite list.
Enjoy your travels and remember to relax and enjoy the country you are in. DO NOT BE AN UGLY AMERICAN! You are a guest, they are NOT your servants. The idea is to enjoy your stay, the food, the wine and the people. This will make for a more memorable trip.
George & Jo Ann
Categories: General Travel, GPS, Italy, Rome
Tags: Global Positioning System, GPS, Handhelds, IPhone, Italian, Italian people, Italy, Leonardo Da Vinci, Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, No Tour Touring, Rome, Smartphone, Wine
Image via CrunchBase
I loaded a very useful app on my iPhone called “Transit”. It allows you to enter a start city and destination city. They can be small towns or large ones. It gets you to the nearest rail, bus or metro line then plots which lines to take to get close to your destination. Finally it tells you how far you are from the destination. I did Rome Airport at Fiumicino to Velina in Campania Italy. I entered FCO, the airport call letters for Rome Fiumicino as the start and Velina, Italy as the destination. It provide 3 alternative routes. The first was:
- Walk to train FL1 at Fiumicino Airport
- Take train FL1 to Tiburtina station in Rome
- Walk 2 mins to train to Ascea
- Take train to Ascea (6 stops)
- Take local transportation like a taxi 9 km (12 mins) to Velina
Total time 5 hr and 33 mins 348 km.
These apps can be a life saver in getting around Europe or from a major city to a small city you want to see.
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Categories: Campania, General Travel, Italy, Rome, Trains, Velina
Tags: amalficoast, Campania, IPhone, Italian, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Rome, Rome Airport, Smart phone apps, Striscia la notizia, Velina
Image via CrunchBase
If you have a smart phone or are thinking of getting one and you are planning a trip to Europe, take it with you. I have an iPhone 5 and call AT&T before going. I can get reduced call costs in Europe, a data plan for Europe and texting for a fee. The phones work fine. We have had no problems at all. If you are at a hotel with WiFi, you don’t need a data plan and can text other iPhones for free using the WiFi. I have apps for subways, translation (Google translator) and sightseeing. If you get lost just use your map app and plug-in your hotel. Make sure you have it set to walk not drive (unless you are driving) and get instructions back to your hotel. You can use this to find museums, monuments and gardens as well or just an interesting restaurant.
The subway apps are fantastic. I use the Paris Metro App to find the nearest metro stop to where I am and then to plot a course on the metro to where I want to go. It tells you which direction to take train, how many stops to go, which trains to switch to and your final stop. The map app can then pick up from the metro stop to your destination.
Your smartphone becomes your European guide book but so much more powerful than any book could be.
What did we do before smart phones?
Categories: France, General Travel, Italy, Paris
Tags: Android, Apple, AT&T, Europe, Google, IPhone, iPhone 5, Italy, No Tour Touring, Smartphone, Tourism, Travel and Tourism, Travel Guides, Wi-Fi