One of the questions that was being asked approaching the days of the Big Blog Exchange was, “How has this experience changed you?” I shared in the blog post that it has taught me to be more independent and be more bold with my decisions and that I should learn how to rely on myself.  The morning that I was in Vicenza, I was talking to Ponggo on the phone and he laughed at the fact that I was already up and about hours before my train leaves. I used to be their nightmare when it comes to catching flights and train rides. Well, for the record, I haven’t missed a flight or a train in my life but I’m always the photo finish girl—ever living in the present and making everyone panic. Oops!

Also, I usually have a messy bag but now that I’m travelling alone, I’ve become a wee bit more efficient—all my stuff are stacked so that I can easily access them while in transit, I would actually wake up before my alarm or by the time it rings—no snooze button. Ha! I tend to daydream less or else I’ll miss my train stop!  I have coins in my pocket ever ready to grab a snack or water from a vendo, I drink my vitamins every day because I know I can’t get afford to get sick, I hydrate and moisturize regularly (something that I usually take for granted), I no longer misplace my lens, memory cards & train tickets. I know, these are little things that are already expected of someone but I swear, Ponggo would be proud if he just saw my effort to make myself a more efficient traveler. Now, I wonder if I will still have the same habits when he joins me a few days from now? Hehehe.

I arrived in this charming & elegant town called Vicenza and the first thing that crossed my mind was, “Hey Italy! Who gave you a Pantone guide book?” Gahh…Why do they have this awesome color palette? Also, they always get their shade of pink right.  That’s one thing I’m very particular about. Hahahaha. It’s a weird pet peeve.

I must admit that while most of my exchange partners and the seasoned travelers do their research in advance, I’ve been Googling on the go. My current friends are Google Web Search, Google Image Search, Wikipedia, Google Maps, Apple Maps & Waze. Since I’m such a smart girl *sarcastic*, I forgot that Waze was optimized for cars so as I was searching for Teatro Olimpico I unecessarily had to go through this loop and I ended up exploring the neighborhood of Vicenza.

04 Vicenza Wall IMG_7093Above: Oh you know, just some weathered walls & bricks being their usual charming selves.  And bikes! I’m such a sucker for bikes.  If Metro Manila only permitted me to own a bike to get to Makati from Quezon City let’s say. Haha. 

While going around, I would see walls like these and start thinking, “Darn! If I was only a fashion blogger, I could be posing against this wall right now.  Well, to start with, I’m always comfortable behind the lens and I tend to freeze in my pictures. 🙂

I ended up spying gardens.  It was soooo pretty! Please note that spying means taking pictures of flowers through their grills. Hehehe. But, that’s just between you & me, okay? Don’t tell anyone. 😉

07 Garden Envy IMG_7099

May I also share with you the lovely park that I pass by every day when walking towards the train station?  I also spotted a wi-fi area covered with vines.
05 Office with Vines IMG_7206

I think I have already found a peg (if not a location) for my office someday. Hahahaha. The afternoon sunlight is just right—so conducive for Instagramming (as in laying out stuff on some weathered wood or white background). Now, if only I had the courage to do this in front of people in the common area.

Speaking of common area, while waiting for the front desk to open, I met an American couple who are most probably in their fifties.   Apparently, they’re at the tail end of their trip: they traveled Europe initially for Dragon boat and spent two months touring Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, the South of France and the like.   Wow!  Now, if I’m only half as adventurous and as strong as them when I get to their age, that would be awesome!

03 Ostello Olimpico IMG_7085Above: My homey Ostello Olimpico in Vicenza. It looks like a home and it felt like one too. 🙂  

One of the advice given to me before I left the Philippines was if you felt lonely, just go to the common area so you can meet people. I wasn’t really sure about that. This is the girl who loves spending so much time alone drawing and gets butterflies when doing a presentation in front of the management team.  She also gets a painful churning sensation in her tummy when talking to total strangers!  Well, now, that has changed.  Life has its funny ways of throwing you out of your comfort zone and making you realize that you can’t really live alone and therefore, you have to talk to people. Haha.

02 Ciao Favorite SpotI passed by this place five times and every single time I do, I never failed to stare at it.  Maybe it reminds me of my wedding motif or maybe there’s just an enough amount of warmth and softness in the palette.  During my last day, I found an artist doing his plein air with this as a subject. I wanted to approach him and shake his hand and chat with him!  Of course I didn’t because that would have freaked him out.  I was also busy lugging my stuff around and I didn’t want to be late for my train!  Well, I wasn’t but I just wanted to have an enough allowance since  there are no escalators in certain stations and trains tend to change platforms last minute.

Honestly, I don’t know a lot of Italian words but I tend to rely on the fact that the Filipino language has its Spanish roots and that the Italian language is close to Spanish too.  I’m also grateful for the fact that when counting and telling time, Spanish is spoken in the streets of Manila.  Otherwise, I would have missed some important announcements over the P.A. system!  Haha.  If there’s one major difference in pronunciation, all the c’s that I thought was pronounced like an ‘s’ are prounounced as ‘ch‘ as in the words Cinque Terre and Sta. Lucia.

01 Church in Vicenza IMG_7661

Going back to Vicenza’s landmarks, there are the churches.  I noticed I was too busy checking out the cobblestones and then when I looked up, this greeted me.  I’m amused and enlightened at the same time that the patterns that I thought were just recently invented are already centuries old.   Vicenza is a city that’s rich in history and culture and Architect Andrea Palladio from the 16th century has definitely left his mark!  Andrea Palladio is also responsible for the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.

12 Teatro Olimpico IMG_7116

First, there is the Teatro Olimpico, a theater that has inner walls to represent the streets of ancient Thebes.
10 Palladium IMG_7154

Then, there’s Basilica Palladiana, which features what eventually came to be the Palladian window.  Getting to visit these landmarks and cities, I eventually understood where new buildings take their inspiration.  I’m just amused with the lasting impression Italian architects in general have made in shaping today’s cities.

09 Vicenza Statue of Mary IMG_7153

So, there are the big details and now we go to the smaller but notable (and yummy) ones.  I had the best Tiramisu in all of my stay in Italy here at the Pizzeria Vesuvio just a 3 minute walk from my hostel.  Thank you as well to my Hostel manager for this dinner treat!

00 Tiramisu (reduced) IMG_7193

I also just can’t help but take pictures of tiny details like white ink on a blackboard with a vine randomly crawling on it. 🙂 I know it must look odd for someone living in Vicenza to see a woman stopping in front of this but isn’t it lovely?  Now I want to write all my reminders on a blackboard and put a pot of vine beside it. Hehehe.

02 Blackboard Menu IMG_7657 Then of course, there’s this calming scene gives you a dilemma on whether you’re supposed to take things slow and stop for pictures or hurry to catch your train.  Haha.  You know when you’re eating really good food and you’re just trying to savor every bite?  That’s how I always felt when I was walking down the streets of Vicenza.  I also like how UNtouristy it is and away from the busyness of the city.

03 Vicenza Village IMG_7666

For anyone wanting to have a quiet respite in between their visit to Milan and Venice, I highly recommend staying in Vicenza. 🙂 I saw a Latin quote inside the theater that went:

Non Vi Fu
Che Non Ne
The translation? No one was left unmoved. That’s how I also felt about this city too! 🙂
Tipsy 🙂