Italy – 2013

So, if any of you have been wondering about my absence, I have been to another country and consequently out of range. It was not my intention to go travelling but the man was best man at a wedding being held out there, and so it was deemed necessary to go.

On the plus side, I now have visited lots of places in Rome, Sorrento and I have seen Naples. I can now warn you just not to get conned. One would think that as a budding tourist to expect things similar to market stalls in the UK. What one does not expect is for example to after briefly looking at a hat stall for a hat to then be placed on ones head after walking off, with the stall owner then walking back to his display. In effect forcing you to go back to the stall to give it back.

I was offered roses on the street, but said no as I was trying to save my money for actual practical things. Apparently the man wanted to give them to me for free in that case, and wanted to take a photo. So I thought well, maybe they are doing a charity thing, like what I have seen in my home-town before, as a nice stunt.

Then after doing this, my partner came over to see what all the fuss was about. The man then turned around and said ‘English are so generous – how about some money for the roses?’ . So I was like oh dear, but fair enough the man handed over 5 euros to the rose guy. Who then turned round and said ‘Six roses, means six euros, the english are so generous’.

We didn’t really have much money to spare or any small change so I tried giving the roses back. Apparently no. He would not take them back, I had been holding them for an entirety of two whole minutes and they were now mine, and he wanted paying. Despite offering them to me for free in the first place, and then a donation. He was now insisting upon more money.

I personally am not a huge fan of flowers. The man found another euro and gave him it and we left. Oddly about one to two hours later the flowers started falling apart and the stem just failed. Which was sad, I would have liked to have more than an hour from said rose. This is one of the main reasons why I do not like cut flowers. They tend to die on you but normally after a couple of days, sometimes a week if you are lucky. I was not.

On top of the rose con man, upon boarding a train a man gestured to look at our tickets so the man showed them to him. He then took them and walked off, so we followed. He validated our ticket, then helped us onto the train, put our luggage in technically the wrong compartment of the train. All this took about maybe 5 minutes. And here was me thinking, oh how nice of him. Although he will probably want paying, but it wont be much maybe just give him a couple of euros maybe even five if we are feeling generous.

Oh no. For his five minutes work this guy wanted 20 euros. Twenty of my hard earned cash, for somethi

ng that would take me just short of three hours to earn for something that he did in less than five minutes. Apparently as there was two of us he wanted ten euros each. Making it twenty euros. I was horrified. We had a budgeted around 50 euros a day to spend on everything, including food. So for him to then want 40% of my money for the day I was very upset. We tried giving him five euros, then fifteen. Apparently this was not good enough so he tried to take our bags back down off the train. After this ordeal we managed to find another five.

– Do not trust overly helpful people. They WILL most likely be trying to scam you.

One of the main reasons that Italians are so thin and healthy is that the food over there is so expensive. In Rome we could not find a single supermarket and they recommend drinking 4 litres of water a day over there due to the heat. So bottled water for 2 litres varied from £1.00 (cheapest we found) to £3.00. A friend of ours was very dehydrated in the collesseo area and wanted a drink and saw water at 4 euros for a 500ml bottle.

After finding a supermarket in Sorrento we managed to buy ingredients to make ourselves sandwiches but nothing in there was cheap. And it all added up.

On the plus side I now have some lovely sunburn and some good photos to add to my collection.

A friend that we went with has now vowed never to go back, calling all Italian people scumbags. I disagree with his opinion, because of all the people trying to con us most of them did not actually look Italian. And I met one or two genuinely nice Italians who did not try asking us for money. So my message is simply be wary. Although parts of Italy are beautiful, and most of the sites to see are free.

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