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A journey of discovery continues - Leah

A journey of discovery
The Acropolis Athens Greece

By Leah Marmulla

Travel tips I wish I would of known about before I left...

It has been three and a half weeks since I left Australia, and I have traveled through some beautiful areas of Europe, if that is a place.  Namely Crete, Athens, Milan, Lake Como, Merone and Lecco. 

The biggest things learned so far...  When if booking flights;

  • be sure to check in baggage, as they are now weighing hand luggage so be ware.  I wasn't caught out, but I saw others that were. 
  • If you are booking multiple/ongoing flights to reach a destination, be sure to book luggage all the way through, again, I saw other passages get charged 'at airport' rates for luggage. 
  • Check in on line, before getting to the airport.  This one I did get caught on.  50 € later, when all i needed to do was take another 10 minutes using the hostel's free internet :((

Moving around the cities. I don't know how this has happened, at home I read maps well, but here blahhh.  Gone, challenged and frustrated.   Worked out, that Google Maps allows you to download their maps to work off line.  Mark in your points of interest, or at least the place you need to go for your hotel etc on separate maps and download each one. 

A journey of discovery

Just checked it on the lap top, and it didn't come up as the option, so check your smart phone in google maps, it is in the triple lined button, 'offline maps'.

You can then open them while not connected to the net and the blue dot moves with you to guide you through the streets of who knows where.   A sanity and time saver. 

Internet in Europe costs a fortune, but not as much using roaming.  While in Italy, I could of linked up to Vodafone's mobile network for an hour, three hours, or day, or 5 days or a month for various amounts. 

If you going to be in the one place, or even in Italy for a time, then do it!!.  I should of as it seems the offer only comes up once while one is roaming in the cities.  It would of saved my sanity at times.  The down side, I guess, is one would still need to be in a Vodafone region, but it seems they are the national carrier. 

Supermarkets aren't always easy to find, but they can be cheaper, and healthier options to the take away.  The challenge is to find them.  

A journey of discovery
Relaxing on the shore of Lake Como

A few other things I found "interesting"  In Italy: 

  • there are two rail companies, and it is important to work with the correct one, and get to 'their' station.  This was the most bizarre thing.  In a town the size of a village, less than 5 K population there was two train stations.  
  • bus tickets are purchased in 'stores' such as the newsagent next to the train station and not in the train station, even though both trains and buses are public run service.  You pay more to purchase tickets on the bus and not at the outside supplier as the newsagent, or your at your accommodation 
The upside is, travel through the regions has been really easy and overall cost effective.  Public operated is price stable, so easier to budget compared to air lines. Bus tickets are also stable, and don't fluctuate between peak days.  

Flixbus.com has an offer of 5 cities for 99€, worth it if you are travelling around, unfortunately for me, this would mean I would need to plan, and this goes against the idea of this adventure.

A week ahead is more than enough stress for me at the moment, and learning to trust the flow and where I am inspired to go. 

The last big thing I have learnt so far, remember, it is only 3 weeks in.  This is logical but for myself not so practical. 

My wardrobe at home is pretty much cottons, denims and 'breathable' clothes.  Im not a fan or polyester or plastic, however, I must say, while travelling like this, those options are looking really good. 

I have already ditched a few clothes, the one that were older anyway, and not a loss to make way for more practical clothes.  Easy wash, quick dry and not cotton!!  Goes against my grain, but hey, I need to carry the bag by myself and so need to be sure I can. 

Things I have been most grateful for to date: 

  • Freedom, and not sticking to a schedule.  This would have really annoyed me. 
  • Not being on a tour and being surrounded by people all the time.  I am a hermit most of the time, so be expected to hang out with others all the time wouldn't of worked for me. 
  • Access to free internet, but not, not all towns have this, and even if in the tourist district it offers, one may still not be able to connect in. 
    Cafes, hotels are the most reliable, I always felt obliged to purchase something, so could be a bit pricey, depending on where you stop and what you choose to purchase as a thank you for accessing their network. 
  • Making friends at the various places.  
  • Doing things on the whim.  For instance, I have been building up to write this for a few days, and I have the opportunity mid afternoon to sit in the hostel, by myself, listening to Pandora the radio and put these thoughts down. 
  • Supermarkets, or at least the fruit and veg market.  Being reactive to gluten and cow milk, this has been the worst part of the entire trip - eating.
    Thank fully, most towns have a local green grocer and most big cities these seem to be on every block.  
  • Seeing things in a different perspective.  For instance, I knew Leonardo Di Vince was a pretty special guy, but he has a whole section of a museum in Milan to his works. 
    The scope of works and the extent that he applied his thinking, he really was a remarkable being. 
  • Letting go of some pretty limiting beliefs - should, must do, 'can't do that' sort of thinking.  I have watched Netflick series from 1 to 9, movies, and still been on the walk all day. 
    My mind is constantly drifting, though this seems to be getting slower too (on purpose).  I have given myself permission to get up early, or to sleep in, to eat or binge, to drink or not, routine is flexible, the only thing I am still consistent on is getting out in the morning for a decent amount of walking or sightseeing in a different sector, after all, I am in a place I am not ever get back to 
  • The biggest lesson - everyone really are at the end of the day attempting to do the same thing. 
    Put food on the table, find shelter, and connect with others. There have been a significant more beggars here than we have at home.  If I helped each one, I would be poor myself and this has been a challenge for me not to get involved.  
So that is it to date.  An adventure for sure, and I am still enjoying overall, though also looking for some 'work' as well.  



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