Lovely Cadiz

Lovely Cadiz
Cadiz - my favorite place so far in the trip to Southern Spain

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bloggo Ottavo: Further complicating fall break. After all, why should it be easy?

By this point some of you are probably wondering, “Just how savvy a traveller IS Dottore Gianni?” So am I. I think I’ve pretty well covered the plan to head to Croatia over fall break, and you’ve just seen in Bloggo Settimo that I am also thinking Scandinavia. At the end of that post I asked the question, “Should I return to bella Italia?” Yesterday I investigated.

My plan was and may still be to visit Portovenere. See the introductory page of my website, Travels with Dottore Gianni and you’ll understand the reason. But I thought, why not couple that with a trip to Sicily, a place I’ve never been, filled with ancient Greek and Roman ruins, warm in October…perfetto! But much as I struggled I could not make both work unless I made fall break a race to the finish rather than a leisurely tour.

Sicily has a lot going for it. I have already booked two of my hotels, one in Siracusa, the other in Taormina, through booking.com, well-rated places that will cost approximately $70 a night – both bookings may be cancelled up until a week before the trip, so there’s no great pressure there. Train fares between the four cities I want to visit (in addition to the above-mentioned, Catania and Palermo, e.g. $14 from Siracusa to Taormina) are ridiculously inexpensive, and I found a flight into Catania from London Gatwick for $77 on British Air, a return flight from Palermo for £20 (!) on Ryanair. That is a great deal!

Even with these great prices, four cities in 12 days? It’s not exactly “If This Is Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium” but it’s a bit of a rush, especially as I want to take day trips from at least two of those cities. And even though it is a bargain vacation, it adds up moneywise. I am not at all sure what my budget is going to be like while I’m in London.

So I slept on it, and I think I will continue to sleep on it. I can’t even book the train tickets yet, as they’re only booking into very early October. Even though the amount of research I’ve been doing for this trip may seem ridiculous (and I would not rule out MORE research before I make a decision) I am a born researcher. I revel in it.

A couple of options: A less extensive trip. Possibly I satisfy my hunger for my homeland by flying into Split and doing three or four days there, then a bit later into the break satisfy my hunger for Italia by flying into Pisa and spend a few relaxing days in Portovenere, with excursions to Cinque Terre. Or a longer trip to Croatia, or to Sicily, or to Scandinavia that proceeds a bit more leisurely than I’ve been planning so far. It goes against my grain, as I have a hunger to see it ALL (also discussed in an earlier blog) – but do I HAFTA?

And a couple of suggestions: Keep a record of and don’t throw away your travel research. It can come in handy for other trips. Also a few good sites. I noted booking.com. I really enjoy using this site. They make things simple – notice I was writing of currencies using dollars AND pounds – booking.com and some (not all) other such sites will let you decide which currency you want to get the price in. And I use them so often that I just have to type the first letter of my name, the first number of my address and the rest pops up automatically, through some sort of internet voodoo. Another one to visit when you’re looking for inexpensive flights (other than the obvious Ryanair, Easyjet etc) is bookingbuddy.com, which will find cheap flights on several sites so that you can compare. There are some terrific deals for flying around Europe. Take advantage!

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