February 2020 Travel
Almost directly after returning from Japan, I hopped back on a plane to head to Italy. Of course, I apparently really know how to pick the countries I go to – every country I’ve been to has been hit hardest by the virus (US, Korea, Japan, Italy). Luckily, I left Italy before the virus began to migrate south (check out my experience with quarantine here). My February 2020 travel consisted of just one trip but so many sights!
This trip garnered me two new countries! Vatican City, which I managed to miss on my first trip to Rome, and San Marino, a tiny country of 33,000 people on the east coast of central Italy. I don’t have budget details for this trip, but we both operated on about $100 a day combined, not including out Airbnbs/Hotels (Averaged around $75 a night), most train tickets, and not including our two tours and Airbnb Experience. This included taxis, food, last minute train and ferrys (about 4 each), and souvenirs. This trip was definitely not budget, but was around mid-range. It also changed my mind on Airbnbs. I am no longer convinced that they are the best option. A lot has changed since I first used the service and all of these tack-on costs are making it less and less useful as an option. But more on that in a later post!
Rome (5 + 4)
Ah! The return to my favorite city in the world! I adored Rome from the moment I set foot in it back in 2018 (Three Idyllic Days in Rome). I truly do not understand people who only suggest a few days in Rome. Rome is a city we wound up spending four extra days in (in addition to our 5 days at the beginning of our trip) due to the Coronavirus changing plans. So nine days. We still didn’t see everything. Our tour guide for the Colosseum Underground has been living in Rome for over 8 years and still hasn’t seen everything. Rome is incredible. I wanted to show my mom everything I had loved about my first trip, so we followed that itinerary exactly for the first two days.
Vatican City (Daytrip)
While in Rome I finally got to go to the Vatican. I went on a wonderful tour with Through Eternity tours that got us in early. It was such an amazing few hours to explore the Vatican with so few people – in some cases there were none at all in the museums. We spent over 8 hours in the Vatican and I want to go back someday to explore the museums separately.
Our original plan for Italy was to focus almost entirely in Sicily. However, due to the logistics of my mom and I coming from seperate places around the globe (I am in Korea and she is in the US) it just didn’t work. To still get a bit of the island life we went to Capri. This island is incredibly beautiful. The entire time I couldn’t even comprehend where we were. However, I would definitely not choose to come here any time other than February. Before February most everything is closed. After February the island will be crushed with people. No thank you.
I…..had a hard time deciding if I liked Florence. Part of me felt transported to Medieval Italy. The other part couldn’t believe how crowded it was in the off season. I didn’t even get to go in the Duomo because the line was wrapped around the building long before it even opened. But there were many parts I liked, the gorgeous countryside, the dedication to homemade craftsmanship, and the quaint winding alleyways.
Bologna was a rest stop. We were understandably tired by our rather breakneck pace around the country and got ourselves a hotel in Bologna. I enjoyed Bologna. It is not a large town but the vibe was far more relaxed and I especially enjoyed their attractions. However, beware the meat and cheese boards that are almost ubiquitous for lunch. They’re way too big. I’m still not sure my arteries have fully recovered.
Rimini was a quick stop on the way to San Marino. Rimini is not a place I would choose to spend a ton of time in. I felt fully comfortable moving on after 3-4 hours. However, I do absolutely thinnk it’s worth checking out if you’re in the area. My favorite church in all of Italy wound up being in Rimini!
San Marino (1)
One of the smallest countries in world, San Marino is seemingly perched on a cliff. Absolutely dizzying views are around every corner. There aren’t a ton of options in San Marino although the shopping is good! San Marino is definitely worth a relaxed night watching one of the best sunsets I’ve ever experienced, and then sticking around for the beautiful sunrise waking up the hills.
We nearly missed Naples. Due to a delayed train to Capri, we couldn’t stop in to have lunch. Because we had to cancel Venice, we decided on a daytrip to Naples instead. Naples wound up being one of my favorite places that we visited, so glad we got to see it.
And that’s my quick rundown of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen in my February 2020 travel! I’ll, of course, have individual posts up soon discussing all of these places 😀
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