Yes, I was a happy camper at Mercato Centrale, Florence. I had thought about buying cheese and taking it back to Malaysia but was worried that it would go bad in the suitcase. In any case, it would be my excuse to return to Italy.
So, I made a stop at The Mall Firenze when I was in Florence.
How do you get there? You can buy a bus ticket from tiqets.com and it’s very convenient. You don’t have to walk far from the stop near the Mall. However depending on where you’re staying in Florence, getting to the pickup point can be about 20 minute walk.
Almost everyone in the bus were Asians (majority of them Koreans as I could hear from their conversation.) When we arrived at the mall, it was 930am and the shops were still closed. But boy were many people excited. Most of the ladies ran… to queue up. The guys took their own time to get to the shop(s). Did I run? No, I figured – the product I want would probably wait for me. Of course the other possible reason why the gals rushed to the shop was to avoid the sun. I was already burnt from my days in Rome. It made no difference anymore – just applied more sunscreen.
So, my mom brought up this up. If you dress up nicely, and you carry a fake, nobody would know. Similarly, if you’re shabbily dressed but what you’re carrying is genuine, people would’ve thought it’s fake anyway. There’s some sense to what she’s saying but I told her that if I bought anything from the luxury outlet, it’s never to show off to others. It’s more like pampering myself for slogging at the workplace.
When I walked into the Burberry boutique, I saw some of the ladies trying out the coats, showing to their significant others – as if getting their approval. I guessed the opposite sex must have paid the bill. A part of me wondered if the guy offered or it was being hinted…quite strongly.
Thank you Google Maps. You have been extremely helpful in my solo trips. (And thank you to the person who invented power banks and pocket wifi. I hope that in the future, power banks will have greater capacity and pocket wifi will use less power.)
Looking back, I must’ve lived the Just Do It life because when I left for Canada to take study in UW, there was no smartphone, no ipad, no maps that I could use on real time. No mooveit app to check for the best route to get to the university. Instead, I chose the most expensive way, the bigger taxi a.k.a limousine. Glad the driver helped me carry my suitcases.
It’s been so many years since then and so much has changed. I use Google Maps religiously in my travel adventures except in South Korea where I had to use Naver map. I have one gripe though. I wish Google Maps would have more details. Yes, I can walk from Point A to Point B after getting off a bus/metro stop but I never know if it’s an uphill walk (climb) or not.
I was on the way to the Piazza Michelangelo but ended up at the Rose Garden. Chanting away “I can do it.” and drinking water along the way, and not forgetting sweating in the intense heat. (I thought Fall should’ve started in September.)
It was just too hot to be walking uphill to the Piazza. Perhaps that would give me a reason to go to Italy again.
A few of the popular questions I get are “Who are you going with?”, “Aren’t you afraid of going alone?”, “Don’t you get lonely?”
2 Timothy 1:7New King James Version (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Many times, what we are afraid of never actually happen. Yes, we take precautions but we should not let fear dominate our lives.
The best part about traveling solo is you see what you want to see, and you are in charge of your own time. You do not need to wait for anyone to come out from any shop and you eat what you want to eat. You stay where you want to stay too.
Of course, people like me would take at least a year to prepare for a solo trip which includes learning the language (at least the crucial words), studying from different guides what we should take note of etc…
So, I took a short break and went to KL for Joshua Bell’s concert. It has been several years since he last performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic. Instead of taking the budget airlines, I decided to take the bus, and the train. I quite enjoyed the journey by bus but not so much on the train back. If you’re planning to take the bus / train – please take a jacket. It can get really cold. The train (ETS) was especially cold. (Even colder than the times when I was on a long flight.
I suppose you kinda get what you pay for. The bus was nice because I had the option to sit alone. Arriving at KL Sentral, I had to walk to Nu Sentral to hop on the monorail to Bukit Nanas. I’ve been on the monorail before – a few months ago but definitely did not expect it to be so packed. (Like sardines in a can.) You’d think that the passengers outside can tell how packed it is and would wait for the next train – but that’s not usually the case. I wonder if anyone kissed the window of the monorail.
Stayed in TheBed KLCC for the first night, and the room was also cold. It was clean but I think I seem to have the tendency to end up staying in the room next to someone loud – or drunk that closed the door so loudly (if not – slammed the door). Breakfast was at 5am (Yay!) I headed to Level 1 and I guess everyone else was still sleeping. My second night was at Traders as I wanted to be close to where the concert would be held (Dewan Filharmonik). So relieved that my room was ready at 9ish. Traders was/is wonderful. Stayed at Traders before. Loved it. Still love it. The bed was especially comfortable.
Meeting My Muse – so after the long anticipation, I was finally at the hall, – at the balcony. I was almost in tears because I’ve waited so long to hear him play again. There was a meet and greet session during interval (my guess was that he didn’t want to stay back for the second half). It’s too bad that we were not allowed to get a photo taken with him, but I managed to get his autograph. He looked tired but genuine nonetheless, he said “Thank you.” and I think I must’ve floated back to Traders. Suddenly I forgot my feet and leg muscles were so tired and painful. I had so much to say but I was in a long queue, and we were being rushed. 😦
On my way back to Penang, I almost froze in the train. It was very very cold. After arriving at Penang Sentral, I had to take a shuttle bus to the ferry stop. Another sardine experience.