Italy is such a beautiful country. I loved how every city has its own character and for that, i truly enjoyed every bit of my time there. But i must say, the thing i love most is the pasta and pizza, the taste is so divine! I would very much love to go there again but here are some of my unpleasant experiences that i would like to share perhaps, you could benefit from it someday.
Once we arrived in Milan, despite the exhaustion from the journey, I wanted to see the Duomo regardless. Milan was only a night stop. We hailed a taxi and off we went, braving out the cobblestones and gradually getting acquainted with the fact that Italian drivers are indeed very fast drivers. Upon approaching the stop in front of the Duomo, there was a loud bang coming from the back of the car. I thought we had hit something but there was only a chubby kid standing next to the car, whilst yelling at the driver. We were still in the taxi then. He looked like the kind of kid you wouldn’t mind throwing rocks at. The driver stopped the car, got out and that was when the boy hurriedly went away.
Nevertheless, we shrugged off the incident because the Duomo was standing beautifully before me. Being a typical tourist, I took out my camera, completely forgotten all about my safety and warnings I had read prior to my arrival – the scams predominantly. It was when my brother began to take photographs of me that a group of Nigerians walked towards me, one of them reached out for my hand and put the seeds to feed the pigeons. I knew I was a victim but I couldn’t think straight at that moment and that was when all of the birds were already on me and I kinda felt like Snow White for a bit. But instead of having dwarfs around me, I had eight Nigerian scammers who were twice my height.
“How much?” I asked.
“One million Euro,” one of them answered before he burst into laughter. I wasn’t laughing nut sack.
“Okay. Ten euro is okay.”
I remembered mom telling me to never open my purse in front of them. The smallest change I had was twenty euro. I just wanted them to go away because at that moment, I was standing in the midst of them all.
“I have no small change. I only have twenty.”
That was when he snatched my twenty and left, “ You owe my friends some.” I was stunned and out of words. My body trembled and my brother wasn’t much of a help either. It was all very new to us.
only have twenty.”
“Okay I will give you back your ten”
I reluctantly gave him my twenty and before he could walk away, “Excuse me?!”
“Okay okay here is your ten.”
So that was the story of how I lost my 30 euro. It isn’t much definitely especially if i were compare to the stories some of you have shared but I had never felt so vulnerable at that moment. I have always thought that when a situation like that arises, i’d always know how to act but at that time, i simply froze. I felt so unsafe that I lost the will to explore afterward. I just wanted to try to wrap my head around what had just happened and I just wanted to go home and I did. So that was my only good and bad experience i had in Milan.
TIP : Just yell “No”. If you find the seeds or anything really in your hands, tell them to take it back or you will just drop it on the ground. If you insist on paying them, just give them 1 euro and go.
It was some time after sunrise and my brother and I were in front of the San Marco Basilica, a very short walk from our quaint little apartment. Contrary to other times we were there, this time, there were only a few people wandering around and taking photographs. My brother was taking photographs of me when this Italian woman, walked towards me and intentionally bumped into me and did not even care to apologize. It was intentional because: 1) The piazza has a length of 176m and a width between 62m and 82m. 2)The piazza was basically empty. I know I should be embarrassed of what I had said the moment that happened when I yelled, “Omg what a bitch??” She was probably in her fifties but I really hope she understood that because it came from my heart.
While we were at the piazza too, another man walked towards me, with seeds in his hands and I had said “No thank you.” However, instead of going away, like how a cultured person should be doing, he grabbed my hand and tried to open my palm, which hurt a little because he had scratched my palm (perhaps, unintentionally). I yelled, “I SAID I DON’T WANT, YOU ARE HURTING ME, LEAVE ME ALONE,” he was shocked and this time, everyone was looking at us. He was pissed and started muttering words underneath his breath probably telling me I am beautiful or something.
I had read about how Venetians are not at all amiable towards tourists and perhaps, that’s true. There were moments where I had seen locals rolling their eyes at the tourists and heaving a deep sigh when they see tourists stopped to get photographs. I even read how if they dislike you, they will charge extra when you dine in their restaurants. ( Thankfully, we had not experienced this) While I understand the nuisance of trying to go out about with your day without having to brave through the crowd of millions of foreign faces on a daily basis (With all sorts of attitudes i must add), that was just still very unbecoming.
Tips : Be friendly to them. Saying buongiorno is good enough. Smile. And try not to block their ways when you are taking your photographs.
Positano is one of the prettiest places I had ever been to but the truth is, getting around is not a walk in the park especially in the summer heat. Sometimes, we would have to wait for so long for the bus to come and if it comes, it is usually thronged with people. Hiring a taxi is not easy because most of the time, they’re occupied. We ended up having to walk a bit further and if I had not brought my mother, perhaps, I would be okay with it but she is not capable of going up and down the stairs/hill (And honestly, neither do I). Going down was bearable but going up, it felt so much like getting constantly shot in the chest.
It was our second day in Positano and we were at the beach, which was obviously at the lowest part of Positano. We were waiting for our check-in time. We needed to grab our bags from our first Airbnb (Villa Verde), so we had waited for quite some time at the taxi stand but there were no taxis. So we walked up in hopes that we could hail a cab only to find a few taxis with no drivers in there and a guy sitting at a bench nearby, all suited up. I asked him “Are you a taxi driver?” “No but where do you want to go?” “We need to go to Villa Verde to grab our bags and get to our second address,” Both of the places were only 1.5 kilometre apart but it is almost impossible to drag our bags up and down the hill to the other side unless you mean the other side is THE other side. He called up someone, and conversed in Italian of course, “My boss said, sure, 45 euro.” We said okay because why not..…
Once we were in the car, the driver said “So my friend will wait for you at Villa Verde to bring you to the place.” Mom asked, “So do we pay you or to him?” “Me of course me. 45 only take you to this place.” I was so angry. “That is not what we agreed on.” “No, 45 only one way.” He just giggled. The audacity. “So how much more do we need to pay to your friend.?” “Maybe another 30 euro” I told mom, this is insane. Driving from Naples to Positano cost us 100 euro and it was a 90-minute journey and this cost us 75 euro for a 10-minute ride? If we had known we would have just waited for the bus. We did not even have any luggage with us at that moment. How is it 45?
Once we checked out, we waited for the friend and 20 minutes later, he drove by and waved at us goodbye……… We waited for the bus but there was none so we hailed a taxi thirty minutes later. At that point I did not want these people to ruin my holiday but truth is, they already did a little.
Note : If you are reading this, only take the taxis or wait for the bus (if it is full, just wait for the next one). This man was driving the Black Mercedes minivan and there were a lot of them on the road. So we had learned our lesson the hard way. These people can be very sleazy.