It feels so good to be back in the U.S.A. Italy was awesome, but there’s no place like home.
You’re probably thinking, “you didn’t tell me you were leaving.”
Well, I really wanted to let you know about my vacation, but I’ve heard it’s unwise to let every blog reader, Facebook friend, Twitter follower, and LinkedIn connection know you’ll be thousands of miles away from all of your worldly possessions for a prolonged period of time.
If you’re guilty of this, stop it.
Now back to Italy.
I went to Italy with two of my closest friends. After talking about going for two years, we finally made it happen. The trip was kind of in honor of us all turning 30.
I’ve been knowing these guys since we were 14 years old. It’s a tremendous blessing to have them in my life. Quite honestly, I have an abnormally difficult time meeting people that I can trust and respect. I’m weird like that.
In addition to being able to spend my first trip overseas with my best friends, I feel extremely fortunate in that I was able to finance my vacation without going into debt and without worrying about how to pay the bills upon my return.
In case you’re interested in traveling to Rome or Florence, here are a few of things I loved and hated.
- It was really easy to get around via public transit. A one way bus ride was only 1 Euro, and a one day pass was 4 Euros. I was surprised to learn you could use your day pass for the bus and the train.
- As a really dark black person living in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., it’s difficult getting adequate sun exposure to replenish my vitamin D stores. Italy is plenty sunny, so it felt good knowing that being out during the day was also good for health.
- I thought the United States needed a high speed rail before I went to Europe. After experiencing the benefits first hand, I think we’re complete idiots for continuing to accept the outdated railway system that takes 3 times as long as what the Europeans, whom we love to despise, are able to enjoy.
- It’s frickin’ unbelievable what they were able to build thousands of years ago and that they had the foresight to preserve it. The Pantheon was amazing.
- I had the best meatballs I’ve ever had in my life. Surprisingly, of all of the restaurants I visited, not one offered spaghetti with meatballs. One of my friends requested the dish and it was immediately denied by our server. Maybe it’s popular in other parts of Italy, but Rome and Florence weren’t having it.
- Their Kit Kats are amazing. And yes I’m referring to the popular chocolate coated wafer. Nation, we’re being served an inferior product compared our European counterparts.
- There are public water fountains all over Rome for you to refill your water bottle. And you’ll need to, because it’s really hot there.
- There’s gelato everywhere. Nuff said.
- It’s hot as Hades. There were times when I could feel the sun cooking my toes. Oh, and it’s not just hot outside. It’s like these people don’t believe in cooling rooms below 80 degrees.
- Every restaurant I visited charge for water. Granted, you’re provided bottled water, but it’s not like I was in India. I’ll keep my 3 Euros. The free stuff from the tap is fine with me.
- The people didn’t seem particularly friendly. At times, I felt cashiers practically threw my change at me.
- The men were a lot less attractive than I expected. I guess I should’ve known better, but they’re built more like Vinny than Pauly D.
- No bacon. I like croissants, cheese, and sliced meats as much as the next person, but come on. Those microscopic pieces in the carbonara aren’t gonna cut it.
For obvious reasons, I wasn’t able read as many personal finance blogs as I hoped, but I still managed to find a few articles worth sharing.
Are Fax Machines the Biggest Waste of Money for a Company? by Khaleef Crumbly at Not Made of Money
10 Credit Traps Just Waiting To Trip You Up! by Jason Topp at Christian Personal Finance
What Should I Do With My Investments Now by Barbara Friedberg
Finding the Right Balance in Order to Succeed by Brad Chaffee at Enemy of Debt
Rental Cars: Should You Buy Insurance? by Kay Lynn at Couple Money