Simply Italy

Tour Length
12 days

Simply Italy » Review by Brittany

Simply Italy
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Detailed Simply Italy Tour Review

05 May 2012 - 17 May 2012

May 5th 2012
I woke up in the morning at 4:30am and had a shower, got dressed, and had breakfast. We left home at 6:45am and got to the airport at 7:30am. I checked in with no waiting line at the Air Canada counter. I got my tickets and had a tea and a muffin from Tim Horton’s while waiting to go through security. I went through security where I met Sarah while waiting for our plane, who was also going on the same trip I was. We sat at gate A3 and talked until it was time to board the plane. My seat was 16F by a window. I watched The Vow. I looked out the window and saw the great lakes under me. They are much bigger than I imagined. Toronto looks so green and big from above. We flew so close to the highways underneath us! When we landed we walked around for a while and then made our way to our gate where we sat waiting for our boarding time. Our flight boarded at 7:5pm and I sat in seat 22A which was supposed to be a window seat but there was no window, just the wall. At 2:07am Rome time we were served supper. I had chicken and veggies with cold corn salad and a brownie with orange juice. I am happy there are no delays! We didn’t have individual TV’s, just overhead ones. They were playing Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and the Iron Lady. The plane was very cold. It turned dark at about 2:40am Rome time, 8:40pm Toronto time. I should probably go to sleep now. All my worries about the flight and thinking I was crazy to go on this trip are still lingering, I hope they disappear as soon as I get there!

May 6th 2012
It was very hard to sleep, probably because I was so anxious and nervous. My nose, eyes, and lips were so dry. I woke up at 8:08am Rome time. We were served blueberry muffins and juice and tea. I looked out the window in front of me and saw the Italian coast and a big peninsula with a long river going from it. I made it, I am in Italy!! Only one hour left to go before I am on the roads that lead to Rome. I expect it to be beautiful and busy. I don’t care if it rains or shines I will explore all afternoon! We landed and walked off the bus to the tarmac and took a bus to the customs terminal, from then we went through customs and I got my passport stamped! I went to the bathroom, gross! I picked up my bag at the baggage claim. I met up with Sarah and caught a ‘taxi’ and got to the hotel 95 euros later!!! Make sure you take a certified taxi and ignore the men that are waiting inside the door of the airport. I checked into the hotel- Hotel Regent- and went to my room, # 151. It was small but decent. The only thing I didn't like about the hotel was that is was far from any attractions. I put my stuff away and went with Sarah around Rome. My umbrella was broken so we got rained on and got lost. We gave up and found our way back to the hotel. Not a good way to start the trip! I hope it gets better; I wanted to buy stuff today and take pictures. We dried off and then went out again in the rain. Sarah, Sara (from Florida) and I went to a gelato/pastry shop. I had my first gelato, Sorrento lemon gelato. I got really bad blisters on my ankles, they hurt really badly. We met for the group meeting at 4pm. The wifi was broken so I couldn’t message home. Our tour manager is named Vinni, he is really funny and is an amazing tour manager! The meeting lasted until 6:30pm. Then a bunch of girls on the trip and I went to a pizzeria connected to our hotel for supper. I shared a margarita pizza with a girl named Katie. The pizza was delicious, the best pizza I have ever had! After that we went to a pub called Carrots for a drink. We went back the hotel, had a shower, organized my suitcase and set my alarm for 6am. We are supposed to have breakfast at 6:30am and leave at 7:15am. I went to bed at 10pm after blow-drying my hair and clothes. I hope the weather is nice tomorrow. Pompeii and Sorrento tomorrow! I spent hardly any money today, I think only 62 euro for the ‘taxi’ and food. Weather: Rome- rainy, warm, 20 degrees

May 7th 2012
We woke up at 6am and got ready and packed. We went down for breakfast at 6: 30am. I had a croissant with lemon in it, cornflakes, fruit juice, and fruit salad. At 7:15am we boarded the bus and left at 7:30am. They didn’t measure or weigh our bags. We drove a while and got stuck in traffic. We first stopped at the designer outlet, where we tried a local cake called baba. It is saturated in rum and is covered in syrup. We had an hour to shop and I bought a couple things for my sister, but the shops were very expensive. We then drove to Pompeii and had a guided tour of Pompeii by a women with radio headsets. This optional is a must do!! I bought some souvenirs and then left on the bus for half an hour ride to Sorrento. The views from the bus were amazing - Mt Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples especially! We got to our hotel ‘Hotel Central’ and went to my room, # 310 with a balcony facing the main road in Sorrento. This was one of my favorite hotels that we stayed at. The fresh air feels so good, we explored a bit and bought postcards and chocolate. I went back to the hotel and bought 30 minutes of internet usage. At 6pm we left the hotel, walking to a place with a view of the coast and Vesuvius. We had a welcome glass of prosecco and some appetizers. I didn’t like prosecco, I found it very strong and bitter. We took many photos and then we walked to the location for our pizza party. We first had salad, toast, and water. Vinni took us to the back of the restaurant to show us how to make traditional pizza. He put flower all over our faces! We were given 3 kinds of pizza: margarita, mushroom and zucchini; corn and mushroom. Then we had a lemon cake called grandma’s cake and lemoncello. (Make sure your lemoncello is ice cold other wise it does not taste good!) It was warm and really sour, it burned down my throat! After, I went souvenir shopping and then got melon and fruit de bosco gelato. I walked back to the hotel and organized my stuff before going to bed at 12:30am.
Weather: Sorrento- cloudy, sunny, hot, 25 degrees

May 8th 2012
This morning we woke up at 6am, got ready and had breakfast at 7am. I had a pastry with nutella on it, a sugared bun, fruit salad, and yogurt. Nutella is everywhere in Italy. Then we walked down the street to a long case of stairs all the way down a hill to the sea port. At 9am we got on a ferry ship that took us to the island of Capri. I took gravol because I knew from past experiences I get motion sickness on big boats. I was light headed but I made it. Then we got off that boat and got on another smaller motor boat. It took us all around the island. On the other side of the island it was very wavy and I got a little nauseous, but I didn’t get sick. We floated by the blue grotto entrance but couldn’t go in because the tide was too high:( Then we went to the green grotto. There was an option to swim but I didn’t and was glad I didn’t because people who did got stung by jelly fish. Then we stopped at a public beach and spent some time sitting at the beach and looking in the local shops. We floated right through the Faraglioni rock formations. They are much bigger in person. From the boat we saw a natural arc formation on the cliff side. Then we went to the white grotto entrance and saw the waving boy statue on the cliff side. We got back to the marina at 12:30pm. I went to the bathroom and then got a gelato that was coconut and lemon flavoured and bought postcards. I bought a ticket to go up the funicular where I met up with Sarah and Sara. We walked around trying to find the gardens. I bought some paintings from a lady. We never did find the gardens and I decided to go back down the funicular and bought a lemon slushy. I then went to the free public beach and sat in the shade to write in my journal. It was a beautiful day! I then joined the girls that came to the beach; we picked rocks and hung out until 3:30pm. We met Vinni at the marina and boarded a ferry back to Sorrento. I fell asleep on the ferry. After we docked, we walked up many stairs to the top of the cliff where Sorrento sits. It seemed like a million stairs. My legs were really tense afterwards. I went to the hotel and went of Facebook and got ready for supper. We went to Il Borgo Sorrento restaurant in the upper Sorrento mountain area. We were served 4 courses and bread. The first course was broccoli, peppers, zucchini and eggplant. Then we were served 2 kinds of pasta, they were really good. After, we were served veal and buffalo mozzarella with potatoes and peas. Finally, dessert was a lemon cake with crème on it for Annie’s birthday. We also had red and white wine; I don’t like them because I find them very bitter. We left on the bus and Vinni sang the Italian national anthem and told us about tomorrows activities. We got to the hotel at 10pm. I packed m stuff and went to bed around 12am. I got really burned on my feet, chest, and one arm. Ouch!!
Weather: Capri- sunny, warm, subtle wind, 18 degrees

May 9th 2012
This morning I woke up at 6am and got dressed to finish packing. Then I went down at 6:35am and sat in the lobby until breakfast opened. I had yogurt, fruit salad, pastries, and a sugar bun. We left at 7:15 am and slept on the bus for 2 ½ hours. We stopped at an autogrill, owned by the pope, and got crackers, cookies and went to the washroom. We watched ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ movie on the bus. As I looked out my window I saw many sheep and a farmer working in his land. There are also many poppies covering the ground. We got to another autogrill for lunch and I bought a Capri sandwich. It was very good! Then we started our trip to the castle winery. Leonardo Davinci is from Florence area; he actually does not have a last name because he was an illegal son and could not take the last name of his father. Davinci mean from Vinci (a small town by Florence). When we got to the castle winery we got out of the bus and were shown where the grapes/olives are taken to be crushed. Then we went to the winery entrance and were told that the largest olive tree they have only produces 40 ml of oil. We were given rosa red wine which was not horrible and then we were guided through the wine cellar. It had huge barrels with dates of when they started to be fermented and how much barrel holds. One barrel held 7200L of wine! Then we were told that the cellar used to be the castle dungeon. We then went to the wine tasting. 4 kinds of wine were served. I tried the first and the last wine, both of which I did not like and did not finish. I just ate the cookies you were supposed to dip into the wine. There was also sheep cheese and toast with extra virgin olive oil on it and chilli pepper jelly. The food was really good! Our driver is amazing! He turned and drove down a street backwards with both sides congested with parked cars and Vespa’s. It was really scary. We arrived at our hotel called Hotel Grifone and went to my room number 102 with free wifi downstairs. Our room has a balcony! We got ready quickly and headed to supper by bus and by walking. We had breadsticks, salad, spaghetti with meatballs, and tiramisu (It was really good even though it is coffee flavoured). Then we walked to the Red Garter karaoke bar which was funny. A girl and guy were grinding, a girl shook her booty and 2 men stripped down into their birthday suits! We left at 10:50pm and walked past Ponte Vecchio at night and got on the bus. Weather: Tuscany- sunny, some clouds, warm, 23 degrees

May 10th 2012
Today we woke up at 7:30am, got dressed and went for breakfast. I had nutella on bread, a croissant, cereal that tasted like corn pops, and fruit salad. Then I went on wifi. We left at 9am on the bus for a very short ride to the river in Florence. We crossed the river and went to the leather demonstration. It was very interesting. You can tell if something is fake by the smell, touch, stamp, cost, and by what the vendors do to try to sell their products to you. Then we had a chance to buy stuff, everything was so expensive, I bought 4 bookmarks for 20 euro! I also bought 2 bracelets. Then we had free time until 11:15am and I walked around Piazza Della Signoria, took photos, and bough postcards and a Pinocchio pen because Florence is the home of the original Pinocchio story. We then had a walking tour of Florence’s main sights. She told us about Michelangelo and the Statue of David, the Ponte Vecchio and the duomo and cathedral. Hitler did not destroy the Ponte Vecchio because he liked it too much. Then we had free time. I walked around the duomo and bought paintings. Gypsy vendors are crazy; they surround you and follow you until you buy things from them. Then I went to the San Lorenzo market. It was very busy, full of shops selling the same things. I saw a lot of fake leather and silk goods. I walked to Franchesco Vini for lunch. I had ravioli with ricotta cheese and spinach with bread and chocolate mousse. I highly recommend this resturant, it is close to the leather demo place from earlier in the day. After, I walked to the bridge and took photos. Then I went back to Piazza Signoria to wait for Vinni to come. We went back to the hotel to get ready for the photo and the evening events. We left at 6:30pm. We went to Piazza Michelangelo for the group photo; it was a beautiful view, definitely the best view of the city. There were painters painting and selling art. Then we made our way to dinner in the Tuscan hills with spectacular hills and view. First we were given a welcome glass of prosecco which I didn’t mind. We had bread, salami, bread with olive, ham, and pork liver on it. The first 2 were good but not the brown one. We then had pasta with tomato sauce and oils, as well as ribollita with bread and vegetables which looked like stuffing. We then had pork, potatoes, with a side of salad. Many people got drunk off wine. Dessert was dessert wine and almond cookies. We then travelled to Space, a disco club in Florence, with loud music on the bus. We got out first drink and shot free. The shot tasted like apple vodka and I got a blue drink with coconut, Bacardi vodka and other ingredients. We danced and had fun! I went back to the hotel with four girls in a taxi. I got organized and went to bed at 1:30am.
Weather: Florence- sunny, hot, 30 degrees

May 11th 2012
This morning we woke up at 7am, got ready, and went for breakfast. I had bread and nutella, a croissant, peaches, coconut loaf, and water. We left at 8:30am onto the bus and drove to Pisa. I slept most of the way there. When we got there we parked in parking lots and walked over to Pisa. It looks interesting. We took some photos and got souvenirs before walking back to the bus. Illegal street vendors were everywhere trying to sell fake watches, bags, and sun glasses. I didn’t spot any gypsies though. We drove to La Spezia and walked around Portovenere until it was time to catch the boat. We walked to an old castle church that was on the cliff edge. A lady gave us a sample of focaccia bread and pesto. We left on the boat at 2:45pm. I took gravol and started to feel really sleepy. We travelled by boat looking at the sights of Cinque Terre taking pictures often. We docked at 4:45pm and walked under a tunnel to the old part of Monterosso. I went for lunch to the beach bar with Sarah, Andrea, and Annie. The food was delicious. I split an order of bruschetta with Sarah. It had huge chunks of tomato and olive oil on them. Then I ordered a strawberry milkshake and pesto lasagna. Then we left the beach bar and went to Slurp Gelato and had chocolate and mint gelato. I took photos and looked in shops and wrote in my book. At 7:10pm we caught the public train back to La Spezia and walked to the bus and drove to Hotel Ghinaldi. I was put in room 302 with a balcony, again! I packed, organized, went on the internet, and went to bed at 12am.
Weather: Pisa and La Spezia- HOT, sunny, 30 degrees

May 12th 2012
This morning we woke up at 7am and got dressed and packed up before going for breakfast and to pay for my water. I had a croissant, an apple, a boiled egg that crushed when I tried to break its shell, and a pastry that was very salty – so I put nutella on it. I had water to drink. We left the hotel at 8:30am. On the way we passed around an email list and gondola seating chart to fill in. I slept until we got to the autogrill at 10:30am. I got a water and bounty chocolate bar. We met back on the bus at 10:50am, we drove for 1 ½ hours to Milan. We got off the bus infront of the castle sforenzco. We had to meet back at the fountain at 5:50PM. Vinni walked us to the duomo. We took photos and couldn’t go up the duomo because Sarah and Sara didn’t have their knees covered. We went to the Emmanuelle galleria and stomped on the bulls balls which brings good luck. Then we went to the Leonardo monument and took more photos. We walked around, it was scorching hot out. We found Luini’s and ordered a panzerotti with ham, cheese and tomato in it. It was so good! Then they found a H+M and looked around and saw nice stuff but I didn’t buy anything. We looked at some other stores and then found the gelato store GROM. I had strawberry, pistachio, and chocolate gelato, it was really good gelato! We looked in more shops but the clothes were really tightly fitted. I bought some postcards and then walked to the castle and park. Illegal people were trying to sell us bracelets; one of them put it on my shoulder and wouldn’t take it back so I put it on his shoulder! I bought a slushy and then walked into the park and found a shady spot under the trees to sit for a while and relax. We went to the peace monument which is the original, where the French monument was replicated from. Then we sat on a park bench for a bit. While walking back through the park we saw a jesus pride parade with cops clearing a way for it. We sat at the fountain talking to Vinni about his pet birds. We walked to a place for supper. We were served risotto, veal, salad, tomato, and crème puffs. Then we walked to the bus and went to the hotel that was far away from the city, a different one from the itinerary – Country Hotel Borromeo. Our room number was 130. Very nice and spacious room! I bought an hour of wifi for 3 euros. I changed into my pjs, organized my stuff, and wrote in my book before going to bed at 11:30pm.
Weather: Milan- Way too hot, humid, sunny, 20 degrees

May 13th 2012
This morning I woke up at 6:30am, got dressed, straightened my hair, and went on the internet to say happy mother’s day to my mom. It is raining out and is very windy! I went for breakfast at 7:30am. I had a croissant, pineapple, and pie pastries. I had red orange juice?! We left the hotel at 8:15am. There was pollen floating everywhere, it looked like snow. We drove 2 ½ hours to the autogrill and got nutella to go and a water. We drove another hour and got to Sirmione. We could not do the cruise because of the weather. So we had 2 hours to explore the town. It was very very windy! We went into the Castle Rocca Scaligera. It was cool to see but it was very windy. We took photos and climbed steps to the very top of the castle watch tower. I then went to the Bar Al Cigni and got a ham, cheese, tomato, and lettuce sandwich. Then after I ate my sandwich and I had gelato with chocolate and pistachio. I walked around some more after picking up souvenirs. Then at 12:50pm we met up outside of the castle gate and left for Verona. On the way there I fell asleep for a bit. We heard the story of Romeo and Juliet and were paid back 9 euros for the cruise we couldn’t go on. In Verona we walked to the arena and then went through a shopping area to juliets balcony in a courtyard. We all took turns rubbing the right breast of the Juliet statue – it brings good luck and love. Then I bought some postcards and took photos of the locks everywhere. I walked by an embroidery place and a girl working there asked where I was from and my name, she embroidered my name into a piece of paper for free. I went into a couple stores but didn’t buy anything. Then we met back up at 4:10pm. We took the bus to the hotel where we dropped off our luggage in room 411, had a shower, and went for supper to a restaurant Vinni recommended ( Vecio Decimo) down the street across from the gas station, behind the market. I had 4 cheese pizza, it was okay, not the greatest. But it was cheap, only 10 euro for a whole pizza. Then we went back to the hotel and hung out for a bit before going to bed at 11:30pm. The hotel was a Best Western on the mainland off of Vencie. It had a balcony and was spacious. Weather: Lake Garda/ Verona- cloudy, windy 10 degrees

May 14th 2012
This morning we woke up at 6:15am, got ready and went for breakfast. I had toast with nutella, a pastry, a croissant, an apple, pineapple, and orange juice. We left 8am sharp from the hotel. We walked 5 blocks to the train station. We got out tickets activated and then got on the train. We arrived in Venice’s St Mark’s Square at 10am after taking a boat from the train station. We then walked through the square to the Murano glass blowing demonstration. It was amazing how the guy was so quick, he made a vase and a horse sculpture in a minute. Then we had time to look around. I bought earrings, a vase, and a bowl. Then I bought postcards and met up with the group at the winged lion statue symbolizing St Mark the evangelist. At 11:30am we did a walking tour of Venice with an old French lady that was funny. She walked us through St Mark’s Square and told us that Venice was built on wood piles and that is why they are sinking with affects from the tide. It is very touristy in Venice. Within 5 years the citizen population has gone from 200000 to 65000. Citizens moved from Venice to the mainland and commute every day to work in Venice. Within the next 50 years Venice will sink completely, especially since cruise ships float right along the square with the engine vibrations. We then walked through Venice to a small castle with a column staircase and to Ponte Rialto. We took photos and then we were free to explore for ourselves. Sarah, Sara, and I went walking around trying to find an ATM, masks, and a cheap place to have tiramisu. We found a place selling it for 6 euro. It was really good! We got lost in Venice and while trying to find our way back we ended up in the same place we started after going in a big circle. When we found the square we went up the bell tower costing 8 euros. It had amazing views of the water and canals. Then we went back down and took photos in the square until 3:50pm. We met the group for the lace demonstration which was really interesting. Then we had a gondola ride through the small canals of Venice. It was amazing to just sit quietly and look at the structures of the buildings and bridges. It was very peaceful! It was cool to see how the water has risen past people’s windows and doors. After our ride on the gondola we went for supper to a restaurant on the water front. I had vegetables, cheese with honey and jam, spinach pasta, tomato penne, roast beef, potatoes, and salad with orange prosecco. For dessert we had panacotta, it was very good- one of my favorite desserts! The people sitting at my table had a little too much wine and were quite drunk. At 8:30pm we caught the boat to the train station and then took the train to the mainland. We got to the hotel and went to bed at midnight. Weather: Venice- warm, sunny, 20 degrees
May 15th 2012
In the morning we got ready at 5:30am, went down for breakfast and had orange juice, nutella on toast, pastries, strawberries, and cantaloupe. Then we went back to our room, packed and left on the bus at 7:15am. I slept for the first 2 ½ hours until we stopped at an autogrill for a bathroom break. Then we drove another 2 ½ hours. We wrote our tour reviews and I ate my crakers and tried to sleep. I slept for a while but as awoken by the peepee song as we stopped at our last autogrill of the trip for lunch. I bought an Apollo sandwich with chicken and tomato in it and a white kitkat bar. Then at 1:30pm we started our last leg to Rome. Rome was the largest civilization in the world before 753 bc. Italy became a country in 1861. Italy started the fascist trend that Hitler rose from. Italy joined Hitler in his activities of the holocaust. The official name of the country is republic of Italy. Italy was 1 of 6 first founding countries and was one of the 7 wealthiest countries in the world. Italy is experiencing social issues and political issues with the mofia and corrupted government, especially in the south. The Spanish steps lead to a French church, with the Spanish embassy beside the stairs. The trevi fountain is dedicated to Neptune and 3000 euro a day is thrown into the fountain. You are supposed to hold the coin in the right hand and throw it over your left shoulder. The pantheon means temple for all gods, it is the most well preserved temple, 2000 years old. It is no longer a temple, it is now a church. The flags colors mean different things- white means purity, red means passion, and green means hope. We got to Rome at 2:30pm and were dropped off at Piazza del Popolo where we walked down one of the most expensive streets in Europe, via del corso and via del condotti, to the Spanish steps. I climbed up the steps all the way to the top, taking videos and pictures. At the top I bought 2 paintings from a man. Next we walked to the trevi fountain. It was beautiful and much bigger/ grander than I imagined it to be. There is one horse who is calm- representing hope and future, the other horse is furious- representing the past wars and conflict. I went to a store and bought an I heart Rome shirt and postcards. Next we walked to the pantheon. WOW! It is 2000 years old and it is still standing in great condition. I went inside of it and saw the three burials. Also I saw the gigantic hole in the ceiling where romans used to collect water coming down from rain into holes in the floor. Then we sat on the bases of the columns until Vinni lead us to Piazza Navona. It was full of painters selling art. We went for gelato from GROM. I got salted caramel, vanilla, and pistachio. Then we walked all around the piazza admiring the three fountains and the paintings. After our time at the piazza Vinni lead us to the restaurant where we would have supper. We walked up across ponte Umberto, toward the Supreme Court building, beside Piazza Cavour filled with palm trees to Gran Caffe Visconti restaurant. We had angry pasta (spicy pasta), salad, chicken, and a coffee dessert. Then we walked to catch the bus. We got to the hotel- Hotel Regent- and went to our room, # 170. It is much bigger than our room from the first night in Rome. We went to a café for wifi and I had strawberry and chocolate gelato. Then I went back to the hotel, had a shower and organized my bag. I went to bed at 12am. Weather: Rome- warm, sunny, 20 degrees
May 16th 2012
In the morning we woke up at 6:30am, got ready and went for breakfast. I had a croissant with nutella on it, fruit salad, and orange juice. We left at 7:15am on the bus to the coliseum and forum. We rode on the bus for about 30 minutes. It was very beautiful; I stared at it for many minutes, lost in the columns and arches. We walked down toward the entrance where we met up with our local guide ‘grandpa’. He led us through the coliseum which was amazing. Half of it fell due to an earthquake; it is 2000 years old and took 8 years to build. Slaves became gladiators and fought each other or animals. Then we learned that it is made of many arches of brick and limestone with support beams inside them. We then walked past the Arch of Constantine and down the street to the entrance of the roman forum. It was just like Pompeii with the same cobble streets. We heard about the political beginnings of the Roman Empire and saw where Julius Caesar was cremated. After, we had a lunch break at an expensive café. I had a calzone that was too huge to eat. We went toward the bus pick up area and it started to rain out. Next we drove to Vatican City. We got radio headsets, waited in line, and went through a security check before entering the museums. We started talking about the Sistine Chapel. We had to walk up the circular walkway because the escalator broke. We went to many museums, a candelabra museum, Egypt museum, carpet museum, statue museum which were all packed full!! One lady wad pushing me with her baby and people were being very aggressive, budging the line and such. We went into Sistine Chapel which was not allowed to be photographed. It was amazing. Then we went into the Vatican entrance, men have to cover shoulders and have to wear long pants, girls have to cover their knees and shoulders. I didn’t think it was made to be what it is advertised as way too overrated. There is some kind of door that is only opened every 25 years and has something to do with the newly elected popes. We went outside to St. Peters Square and got souvenirs and went on the bus at 4:30pm. We got to the hotel and got ready for our final dinner. I wore my skirt and striped shirt. We left for supper at 6:45pm. It looked really cool inside the restaurant. They had performances every course. It was fun. We took lots of photos! First we had veggies and salad, shrimp pasta, ravioli, beef, green beans, potatoes, cake, and water. We left the restaurant, walked to the bus, drove and dropped off some of the group at a club, and the rest of us went back to the hotel. I went for gelato – chocolate and pistachio went on the internet, packed and went to bed at midnight.
Weather: Rome- sunny, warm, little windy, 20 degrees

May 17th 2012
This morning I woke up and got ready at 5:30am. I was extremely tired. I went downstairs at 5:50am and went on wifi and said goodbye to some people. Then I went for breakfast at 6:30am. I had a croissant, fruit salad, and orange juice. Then I went upstairs to get my luggage and went back down stairs to the lobby. I sat there on wifi for a while, took some Tylenol and Echinacea which made me feel weird. Then at 7:30am Kendall, Sarah, Jill, Taylor and I caught a van taxi to the airport. We all hugged Vinni goodbye before we left. We got dropped off at terminal 3 of the airport and paid for the taxi- 75 euro total. We took turns going to the bathroom and then said our goodbyes to Sarah. We went to check in at the Air Canada booth. My bag weighed 20.4kg. Then we waited for the other girls to get checked in and went upstairs to McDonalds. I had an orange juice and a hash brown. Then we wandered the airport realising that once you go through security there are stores to shop in. We went through security and then I went through passport control and walked down the hallway to gate G area, went up an escalator, and then took a train to the gate area. Make sure you leave a lot of time to get to your gate, the airport is very confusing and has many unexpected passages you have to go through. I met up with Sarah and Andrea from Ottawa. We all tried to get internet but couldn’t connect. We boarded the plane at 11:05am. I have seat 21k- with 2 window views! No one was sitting beside me so I put my stuff under the whole seat in front of me and I had more room to spread out. We took off at 11:50am. It was so clear outside that I could see the boats in the water and the details of the land. Further on I saw the Swiss alps. We were served lunch, pasta with olives and cheese, a potato salad, a bun, a cookie, orange juice, and water. After that we were given tea and our customs papers for landing in Canada. I wrote in my journal for a bit. At 1:30pm Rome time I went to the bathroom on the airplane for the first time in my life! It was very compacted; you had to press the faucet at the same time as you wash your hands. Then I looked at the Rome and Vatican book I bought. The only thing I didn’t get to see that I wanted to see that was in the book was the mouth of truth. There is a lot of cloud cover now. Once again they didn’t have individual TV’s the movies they were playing were really old. It was now 4:40pm Rome time. I have listened to my ipod, deleted photos, and slept for a while. They gave us vanilla ice-cream and pretzels for a snack, it was really refreshing. I slept for a bit more and listened to my ipod again. I slept for a bit more and listened to my ipod; they had the seatbelt sign on telling us not to take them off?! It’s a little cloudy outside but not turbulent. It seem like this flight is lasting forever. I looked out my window and saw ice on the ocean we were flying over. It looks so cool! You can see chunks together and parts that have melted off. I wonder where we are flying over, north Canada, Greenland, or is there just a lot of ice on the ocean?! Now I see mountains. It must be Greenland and north Canada. We have a little more than 2 hour left until we land in Toronto. We watched a movie called Rum Diaries. It was very weird. 1 ½ hours left! We were given hot wraps with beef, gravy, and tomato in them and water. I organized my stuff for the rest of the time. We landed at 3:20pm in Toronto Canada! First we walked down a long hallway, cleared customs, claimed baggage, dropped bags off, went up an escalators, went through security, got my hands and feet swabbed, and went to Tim Horton’s. I got a tea, water, and a muffin. I went to gate D35 to wait for my flight at 9:30pm. 4 hours left before I get to go home. I went on wifi and ate my food; I suddenly become really home sick while I was sitting on the floor in the corner of the airport with no one around. I am extremely bored and becoming anxious about getting home, I have 3 hours left… I miss normal people so much; I miss my people, my family, buddy and my bed and pillow. I had so much fun but there comes a point when you are just ready to go home. I wish I could be having supper right now at home, watching TV shows and play with buddy. I was quite excited to use a toilet with a seat and liquid hand soap. I slept on the floor for a while and then I went to the washroom at 8:50pm Toronto time. We boarded at 9pm. I had seat 16A (window seat). We had individual TV’s so I watched The Help and then looked at the map as I fell in and out of sleep. The flight lasted 4 hours. I didn’t use gravol at all! On the way down my right ear popped and it hurt, I could not hear out of it. I was given orange juice. We landed at 11pm. I went to the bathroom and then went through the gate where I saw mom, dad, and Missy. We waited for my bag as I drank my tea. Then we drove home. Weather: Rome- sunny, 20 degrees

- My tourmates were awesome, we all got along and had alot of fun together
- I did all of the optionals and I am glad I did because they were all really great!
- the bus was good, it didn't have any outlets and the washroom could only be used in emergencys.
- I highly recommend this tour, it was very informational and busy, but we always had free time. I saw everything I wanted to see!
- our bus driver and tour manager were amazing!
- get lost in Venice
- eat gelato everyday
- try everything on your plate
- don't worry, everything will be fine!
- pack your suit case and then take out half of your clothes- you wont use half of the clothes you pack.
- take echinacea to make sure you dont get sick
- You dont have to go out every night, take some nights off to get a good sleep
- you will do and see so much- write in a journal every night
- there is wifi at every hotel- some have a small cost and some are free
- I budgeted for 80 Euro a day and came home with 50 Euro.
- you need plug adapters - but you only need a voltage adapter if you have electronics that are not 120-220Volts. I used my ipod charger, ipad charger, and my hair straightener (dual voltage straightener) without a voltage adapter.

Review written Jun 2012

My Contiki was: Amazing, Busy, Memorable

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