Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation…
Ellen (my wife) and I decided that it was time to take a trip somewhere to “get away” for a short while. We decided that a trip to Italy was just what the doctor ordered! Last year we went to Greece but booked an inexpensive hotel in the center of Athens then took day trips to various places in Greece. We learned that this was NOT the way to go. So for Italy we booked a total package trip through Gate 1 which included 5 star hotels, ground transportation, guides and entry fees for the following cities:
- Venice, 2 days
- Pisa, 1 day
- Florance, 2 days
- Assisi, 1 day
- Rome, 3 days
- Pompeii, 1 day
- Sorrento, 2 days
- Amalfi, 1 day
The hotels were amazing and the ground transportation was luxury buses. All very well planed and executed! The only real drawbacks were the food costs and the amount of walking required to tour the various locations. This was a group tour which had 35 people plus one full time guide. Everyone was from the USA except for the guide who was from Rome. She was very good and kept us all very organized. There was another professional photographer in our group besides me who specialized in Pin Hole Photography using home made wooden cameras shooting film! I had several hours of very good conversation with him. I would not hesitate to use Gate 1 again in the future.
As you can see from the rough GPS track above we covered a lot of the country. I took along a small GPS device to generate a bread crumb track so that I could TAG all of my images for location as well as keep a detailed plot of our movements. It worked very well and had enough memory for several months of movement and a 44 hour battery life! The unit I decided on was from Ostarz and called the X-1000 Travel Recorder XT. It is TINY and has a bluetooth interface for uploading the date to your computer system. I am very pleased with it so far and it has worked flawlessly.
Each of the cities that we visited were interesting in their own way and all were different! Below I will give you a basic overview of each and what I liked about it!
- Venice. A very unusual city of boats. The water scenes were amazing and I loved every moment here. I only took a few IR shots here and a ton of color images! We visited ALL of the major attractions here plus took a water taxi to the island of Murano where we watched artisan master glass blowers create their wares! All in all a most enjoyable destination that I would have enjoyed another day at.
- Pisa. We were told that we would not enjoy this location because it was boring and full of gypsies. NOT TRUE! The basilica which is made up of the Battistero, the Duomo and the Leaning Tower were amazing both inside and out. Amazing photography! There was another big plus here in that we found a McDonalds and Ellen was able to have her first cup of normal American coffee! Color her happy!
- Florance. A city of the arts full of splendor. I really enjoyed walking along the river taking photographs both during the day and night! Very interesting buildings and statues!
- Assisi. Here I would have liked to spend another day! Amazing is the only word for it. The basilica of Saint Francis was amazing and full of world class photographic opportunity. I took a LOT of Infrared images here…
- Rome. BIG, 4 million residents. The Vatican was amazing. We visited there both during the day as well as at night. The Chapels and Museums there left me stunned. We took a walking tour of all of the famous fountains, ruins and basilicas. I took a lot of Infrared here. I would have been happy with 2 days here instead of 3.
- Pompeii. HUGE ruins. Interesting. No good for color photography due to the time of day so I basically shot Infrared all day. After the first 2 streets everything started to look the same.
- Sorrento. What can I say about Sorrento… AMAZING! More time please! Lovely town in the south. Had a GREAT time here. Lots of images in both color and Infrared!
- Amalfi. OMG!! This was the highlight of the entire country for me! Amazing, scary, rough, tall cliffs with twisty turnie tiny roads. Shere cliffs that have been terraced with small towns built on them! Ohhh, could have spend a week here alone!