Take Away Italy 2014

Well hello!

It is a beautiful day here in Southern California.  The ocean breeze is drifting in and I can tell it is going to be HOT, with a breeze.  Yep, it's the middle of summer.  I love this time of year.

Now that I am back I thought it was time to talk about the "Take Aways" from the Italy 2014 trip.  This is usually the list of what was right and what can be improved in future trips.  More of notes to myself.  You can see some of my other "Take Away" notes HERE.

Let's get started.

1. Travel Dates.

The sisters and I usually travel at the beginning of June to avoid the bigger summer crowds.  This year we traveled during mid-June and that increased our airfare costs and we were with some pretty big crowds in Florence.  It was also "Male Fashion Week" in Florence so that might have been another reason the crowds were big.  So if we can, I think traveling at the beginning of June is a better idea.  It is also a little cooler then and we like that.

2. Lucky Dozen Italy.  Or, notes about what I wore.

All of my clothes fit in carry-on luggage and I was going for a "Lucky Dozen" or "Capsule Wardrobe" for this trip.  You can read more about my Italy Lucky Dozen HERE.  So my Take Away notes.  Don't bring just black, especially during summer.  It sounds strange to me because I always wear black, but I was wishing for a little bit of color or change when I was in Italy.  One of those chambray shirts like this would have been nice.
But I did buy a lot of scarves, so I was able to kind of use those to spice up my outfits until it got hot at the beach.  Also,  I wore my pink tennis shoes a lot because of my foot injury and that bummed out my "look" a little.  But, better than getting injured again (plantar fascliitis).  My messenger bag purse was great (black and understated) and could hold all my needed things securely. 

I kept thinking about having a hat and might add that to my list next time.  I wore one of A's one day and it was nice to have a little built in shade. And, I brought too many necklaces.  I think I only wore one of the big ones once.  I need to stick with classic jewelry when I travel.  I wore my small "e" necklace and silver hoop earrings most of the trip.

Other than that I was happy with my wardrobe choices and will look for ways to bring less with me next time.  My carry-on weighed 35 pounds on the way home!  I might of purchased some shoes.....

3. Flights, trains, and shuttles.

We flew LAX-JFK; Virgin America.  JFK-Milan, Milan-JFK; Emirates.  JFK-LAX; American Airlines.  They were okay.  Virgin America was FUN and I would fly them again in a heart beat.  Emirates was medium.  Slept on the way there and watched four movies on the way back.  The only bummer was that they made us check our luggage on the trip back.  American was delayed over 2 hours and  there was a screaming child in the row ahead of us for 4 of the 5 hours.  That was not a good flight.

Trains.  We used trains a lot in Italy and purchased tickets ahead of time if possible.  The train from Milan to Florence was an express train with assigned seats.  Our train to Varenna from Milan was a local train with no assigned seating.  When we left it was pretty full.  Our train from Milan to Bordighera had assigned seats and we ended up having our own car together.  The trains were a great way to get around!

When we arrived at LAX on our return (2 hours late) at 3am, we were happy with the Supper Shuttle service we had and got home in about an hour.  Would use a shuttle again after the return flight.  A little nervous about taking one for the departing flight because of all the stops.  

4. Accommodations

The apartments and villa we had in Italy were great.  They worked really well for our group.  All the "mangers" we worked with were very helpful.  I was happy with all of them.  Going with a group our size let us stay in places we never would have considered before, like the VILLA, and that was kind of cool.

So a few Take Away notes.  

We really scheduled our time in Florence and in hind sight, we should of scheduled a few things in the other towns too.  I was feeling a little "bossy" (to use a negative word applied to women) already with being the final say on accommodations and airfare and I didn't want to over schedule everyone.  With that said, I wish there had been a little more organization or exploration of other options when it came to things to do in Lake Como and Bordighera.  The truth is I was a little burned out when it came to organizing things at that point, but in the future I think I will have a few things in mind that I want to do in the places I travel.  That way I will have them as options if I need them.

About three weeks seemed like a good amount of time to be away.  We left each place wanting to return and enjoying our time there.  

Always plan to exercise.  I was injured on this trip and couldn't run in the mornings like I usually do.  I noticed this really bugged me on this trip.  I like getting up and seeing a place.  In the future, I will still get up and walk if that is all I can do.  It is nice to get in some exercise and to start the day with the city.

I think at times our group might of gotten too big, but we were able to roll with it.  I am not sure what the ideal number is when traveling and living so closely together, but I think we will find it eventually.

Overall it was a pretty good trip and I look forward to going back!

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