I like blogging about my holiday as I'm experiencing it – in part because it keeps it fresh in my mind and in (large!) part because it stops my Mum from worrying about me travelling on my own. But it's also good, at the end of it to spend some time thinking about the holiday as a whole and reflecting on the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly.
So here goes:
The good – it's hard to pick out the good bits on their own. In reality, the whole holiday has been fantastic and I've enjoyed it very much. I think even more than I thought I would. My solo travel confidence has grown ten-fold from last year, and in itself that's been a highlight of the holiday.
But as for things I've done and places I've seen, in no particular order, the highlights have been:
- the food
- the Sicilian matriarchs who shared my train journey from Rome to Sicily
- Palermo – all of it
- standing on the roof of St Peter's in Rome
- Trying to speak Italian, and finding that I can get by
- Scoring free food and drinks from sentimental waiters
- my cabin on board the Palermo-Genoa ferry
- the almost personal tour of the Teatro Massimo, and my nameless Irish companion
- Cafe Spinnato in Palermo
- Paris – the whole experience, including getting completely lost and ending up at Place de la Bastille instead of Rue Monge
Sadly, it's not all been great. There have been a few scary moments, and some ugly times. But fortunately, they've been few and far between. And even better – quickly resolved and easily got over.
For the record, they were:
- Catania bus station – Dante would have added a 10th circle if he'd been there, I'm sure
- Genoa ferry terminal, and not being able to find a taxi – at night. On my own.
- Genoa railway station – the 4 armed police arresting the drunk with the knife was not a pleasant experience
- the creepy old Sicilian guy who kept rubbing himself up against me on the bus to Monreale – seriously, I wasn't imagining it. Every time I moved, he followed me. Euch!
- The tourists in Rome – did I say yet that I didn't like them?!
- Falling over in Taormina and seriously brusing my bum – and my pride. Out of interest, the bruise is now the exactly the same shape as Corsica, but fortunately not the same size – it only feels that way
- Not being able to visit everywhere and see everything I wanted to – mainly through lack of time, occasionally through lack of confidence.
- Not eating at that restaurant in Rome that was recommended to me – it looked really good but I wasn't confident enough to stay out late enough for them to start serving. But, I scored a free Limoncello at the alternative restaurant I went in its place, so not all bad!
And there you have it, a quick resume of the past 2 weeks. Well, not really. If you really want to know all the gory details, and have got a spare few hours, take me out for a drink and I'll tell you ALL about it. If you're really lucky I'll bring the holiday photos too...
And for the last time (this year at any rate) – Ciao!