Visiting the Vatican City

We were in and out of this place very quickly. It was all very weird to watch crowds of selfie stick gangs and pilgrims line up to pay money to go into religious sites and buildings.

The long queues, cashier booths, metal detectors, trailer post office and unofficial tour guides made it hard to view this independent sovereign state as the centre of the Catholic Church. Its historical and religious significance, impact and power, as depicted in our textbooks and the media, were sadly masked by its alternative image as a tourist attraction.

I assume that depending on which time of the year you visit will result in a completely different experience.
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Brief Escape in Rome

We flew to Rome to celebrate a particular milestone last year. S deliberately planned something abroad so that we could focus on the occasion properly. I didn’t admit this at the time, but I was so grateful that he did because this brief escape gave me the opportunity to catch my breath in the midst of a very busy time at work. I felt a sense of relief similar to resting on the side of the boat after a tiring swim. I was probably free-diving deeper than I should have been, but I thought I knew what I was doing at the time and dismissed his concerns.

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Domodossola Revisited and Tips for a Comfy Train Ride to Italy from Switzerland

I always love coming back to Domodossola. I enjoy waking up early to catch the train and eat my breakfast on the go. Sometimes I snooze or get some serious reading done on the way.

I like to pack these items listed below to insure a comfortable train journey.

– A bottle of water and some snacks.

– Some music and good headphones. Mandatory if you want to drown out noise.

– A novel, or some kind of reading material.

– A jumper or a lightweight infinity scarf. Essential for covering up your ugly sleeping face, or to simply stay warm.

– And ladies, this will save you from a lot of public toilet traumas. Believe me. It’s a life saver. For my Swiss readers, you can get it here.

I’ll also make sure to look up when my train leaves in the afternoon so that I don’t have to run down the street like a crazy woman.

I highly recommend reading up on what you’re allowed to bring back from Italy, and of course, the quantities too. Lastly, always remember to ask for and keep the receipts of whatever you purchase in Domodossola.

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End of Summer Trip to Elba Island in Italy

When the weather started turning gloomy at the beginning of the month, we had to do something about it. We weren’t quite ready for summer to end just yet, so we drove down to Italy and caught the ferry over to Elba island (isola d’Elba) where it was still warm. It was our second time there, but we enjoyed our stay even more this time round.

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At this time of the year, the island is empty. Peak season has been and gone, and a few Swiss, German and British tourists seem to remain.

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In the mornings, we awoke to this.

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Our days ended with a breathtaking sunset like this almost every evening.

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Day trip to Italy from Switzerland by Train: Shop and Eat in Domodossola

Two things I love about living in Switzerland is the location of this country, and its extensive railway system. It never seizes to amaze me how quickly and inexpensively I can travel to places, particularly to another country with the train.

Sometimes when S and I can feel the onset of wanderlust tingling our hearts again, we like to get on one of the early morning trains to Domodossola; a small town in northern Italy, to get a quick dose of the Italian flair and come home just in time for dinner.

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Domodossola hosts weekly Saturday markets near the train station, so we always look forward to browsing through the  market stalls and fill our backpacks full of newly purchased bits and bobs.

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We then tend to follow our noses to the nearest restaurant and grab some delicious lunch and coffee, before catching the train again to Switzerland with gelato in our hands.