Absolutely Fabulous Travel Planning

I just received an email from a dear friend who is planning to come over and visit this spring. I’ve traveled with her before, and we never fail to have a completely and utterly awesome time. Her schedule is wide open, and other than having Rome be our base, the continent is our oyster.

Read what we’ve come up with so far after the jump, and then tell me what would be your ideal mid-week jaunt with your old Miss Expatria.

We’ve thought about the Italian Riviera, but I will have just come from that direction, and will have to head back that way; also, she wants to “save” the area for when she comes to visit with her boyfriend, so that’s out. Paris is out for the same reason. As is Venice, as well as the fact that we’ve been there several times, which is also the reason why Barcelona is about to be crossed off the list.

We’ve thought about Sicily, but it’s a bit too hot for her by mid-May. She’s not a bake-in-the-sun kind of girl. This probably rules out the whole southern tip of Italy as well. (Michelle of Bleeding Espresso is safe – for now! Ha!)

The Adriatic side is looking promising. We could even use the sea as our hotel, and take an overnight ferry to Croatia! And I’ve always wanted to have lunch in San Marino, just to say that I went to another country for lunch. Oh, crap, except I did that last fall in Barcelona. Well, the more the merrier in that category, I find.

Right now, our best bet is looking like Cagliari, on Sardegna in the Mediterranean. We can fly there mid-week round trip and pay only taxes (and 12 euro each for not being eligible for online check-in) with Ryanair. We could see Cagliari, and then head to another town for a day as well. Any suggestions, my well-traveled readers? I’ve also asked Viola, The Only Girl I Know In Italy, who is from the island, for advice. (I do now know other girls in Italy, but for a long time she was the only one. The curse of the gay mafia, I guess.)

My dream jaunt with this friend, however, is maddeningly difficult to do. I’d love to go over to San Sebastian and eat tapas until we beg for mercy. There’s a great, cheap hotel there that I love, and the food and wine are absolutely the stuff poetry was invented for.

But, as they say in New England, you can’t get they-ah from hee-ah. We’d have to fly to Barcelona and then take a 7-hour train, or an expensive flight. I’m still looking at the possibilities, though. Never say never!


7 thoughts on “Absolutely Fabulous Travel Planning

  1. Well, Sardegna is lovely but I worry that it will be a bit too beachy for your friend. It is ruggedly beautiful and I can highly recommend Cagliari. It’s a wonderful and interesting city– but small. Definitely rugged in southern way like many towns in Sicily. Nearby Villasimius is a cute town on a gorgeous beach. But, I have to also recommend the tiny island of San Pietro and Carloforte. Then drive up the coast to Alghero check it out and then on North to make the crossing by ferry to Corsica. You could then do a bit of fascinating Corsica as well. Another idea is Greece. This would allow for more history and art. I would spend a few days in Athens. It has a bad rap, I know, but since the olympics things have really gotten nice in Athens. A couple of days there touring the main sights and checking out the tavernas is totally worth doing. Then I suggest heading to Nafplion on the Pelopponese. The town was built by the Venetians and so has an Italianate feel. Many of the streets and the main square are paved with marble. There are scads of cute boutique hotels and great food. It is also convenient to the important ancient sites of Myceneae, Epidavros, Nemea, Argos and Corinth. Very interesting to visit. And if you have time, head back to Athens and hit the ferries to check out some of the Greek islands. Santorini lives up to the hype. Finally, you might consider Turkey. Totally amazing. A few days in Istanbul (great food, incomparable history, so much to see, eat, do) then on to Cappadocia in central Turkey and one of my favorite spots.
    Ok, I guess I am going on and on. Let me know if I can help with any of this! Ciao bella

    • HI Mia! I’m actually “saving” Greece for my boyfriend, and also we’re kind of limiting it to the routes of the low cost airlines from FCO/CIA. (Although if you know of a Greek low cost, let me know!)

      We don’t mind the beach. Give us a balcony with a view of it, and we’ll sit there all day. Give us a great seafood restaurant that is directly on it, and we’re there. It’s just the actual sitting on the beach in the sun that’s not up for grabs.

  2. Right on. Obviously you should go straight to Ravello and the Palazzo Sasso. Shouldn’t we all?
    Seriously tho.. I think Sardegna is absolutely magical. Just stay away from the ridiculous Costa Smeralda which encompasses all the things I hate about Italian beach culture. Also, Corsica is really super duper dramatic and incredible.
    I don’t know if you like tuna but there is a restaurant in Carloforte that serves only tuna. They served us tuna testicles. Is that even possible?
    This hotel is really awesome http://www.tartheshotel.com/tarthesheng.html but it’s a bit in the middle of nowhere. Great food tho. Also for finding who flies where of the low cost carriers I like http://www.flycheapo.com/. Doesn’t help with Rome-Greece but sometimes there are decent deals on Aegean Air. Not 12 euros but still.
    Speaking of great seafood restaurants do you know the Bagni di Tiberio in Capri?

    • I don’t know that place in Capri; we were there only for a day, and I walked up to a bunch of old guys sitting around doing nothing and forced them to give me the name of a place, which turned out to be incredible but of course I will never remember the name of it.

      Thanks for the other tips – you rock!

  3. Well, I am from Cesenatico, and you could spend a couple of days having the best food of your life (NOT biased, here, no…. not at all!) before heading to Croatia, and I can also recommend a decent spot for lunch in San Marino (no, there’s no GOOD lunch spot in the country… but I can give it more thoughts!).
    My parents own a hotel on the coast, and I might be there too during that time frame and show you some pretty amazing good food… what do you say, shall we plan a date on the Adriatic?

  4. Well I can tell you that mid-May is so *not* baking in Calabria…it’s usually quite gorgeous, though. We don’t bake here, usually, until mid-June and on 😉

    Glad you liked that Calabria video…I have now teared up every single time I see it!

  5. We’re having the same sorts of planning difficulties for our Italian jaunt in May. Our problem is planning without overplanning. I went through the same scenarios of Sardinia, Calabria, and wanting to see somewhere NEW. Right now, I’m trying to scale back to spending time with friends up North and hitting up Rome for a week. The South is still calling my name though…need to decide soon!

    I’ve been talking about meeting up with the girls from Context travel while in Rome. If enough of us travel bloggers cross paths in May we need to grab a drink!

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