A land far, far away

I want to go to Italy. I want to go not because of the culture, the history, not even because of the fashion. Well, they are part of the reason, but what really inspired me to want to visit Italy are books that doesn’t even have any pictures of Italy in it.

The first one was a book I bought when I finished the book I was reading in Ko Pha Ngan: Meg Cabot’s Every Boy has One. Okay, so it’s one of your run-of-the-mill chick lit. Girl meets boy, girl hates boy, boy hates girl, they end up falling in love, blah blah blah. In between the sappy exchanges, the author gives you a slice of Italian life and what made her characters (and possibly the author as well) fall in love with the place.

Meg Cabot showed me places in Italy I would never thought to go to. As soon as I got home, I started reading on Le Marche, researching when’s the best time to go, even picking out a tour guide. However, I put my dreams on hold and focused on more realistic goals.

The desire to visit Italy was rekindled when I chanced upon Vroom with a view by Peter Moore. He traveled through Italy, riding on a ’61 Vespa. I’ve never riden a bike, but his story made me want to learn how to, even to brave the crazy Italian traffic.

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It’s been 7 months since I last read Vroom with a view and more than a year since I read Every Boy has one. I once again put Italy aside to focus on more realistic goals (read: closer to home and much cheaper). But time never made me forget about Italy. I want to experience that magic spell it casts on people. I want to walk the streets countless tourists has trodded on. I want la dolce vita.

This entry is part of Rice Bowl Journal’s July Collaboration Project.

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 21 Comments
  1. Annika says:

    Vroom With A View is a fantastic book – easy to read, funny, quirky, just the right mix to make you curious and fall in love without being sentimental and too romantic in its view of Italy. I haven’t heard about the other, but now you got me interested… I actually have five new books on my shelf waiting for me to read them, all about Italy ;)

  2. sarah says:

    Ack! I love Meg Cabot’s books! Hehehe.

    But that’s not the point.

    Shyeah. Like you, I want to go to Italy. A huge part is the food, but another huge part is how I always imagine that it’d be so fun to go there, sit outside a coffee shop (with the ever-present pigeons on the cobblestone) and just…chill.

    And I miss riding a bike.

  3. Wei says:

    I happen to be in Italy about a month ago… and I wish I was still there…

  4. Manny says:

    Type your comment here.
    Hi Nina. Great post about going to Italy. I love how you related the books you read to traveling there. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. joji says:

    I am Rodolfo D. Aniceto (72 years old) from Pampanga. I am related to his Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, DD. We are holding GUM/MNL/GUM ticket. Ako po ay na off load last 28 July 2007 from Manila. My wife and I traveled together. She is a handicap passenger and on wheelchair with catheter. She underwent cataract surgery two weeks back.

    My It’s about experience started when I check-in at 730pm for GUM and your staff NING said that I cannot be boarded because I hold a non-revenue ticket as they are only accepting revenue passengers without any other reason but that. I told her what PAL Guam office told me that I will not encounter any problem and my booking was ok and confirmed with seat assignments but she would not hear me as she said they do not honor anything from Guam. I even have it my booking reconfirmed. I asked for her complete name but she refused to answer me. She just told me that I cannot be boarded that’s all. She was affront rude and disrespectful. She asked me to get out of the line and wait if I want. She can check-in my incapacitated wife can be boarded without any problem.

    Why is your staff overly rude and disrespectful? We waited until the closure of the counter for Guam. Unfortunately, we were not taken in for consideration and compassion. We were not minded at all. The porter brought us to counter 13 for the reschedule for the following day. They gave us a gift of rebooking NUF free. Was it my problem to get into this dilemma? Your staff at counter 13 shouted and told me that her transaction will be long and we cannot wait for her. It was good thing that the guy occupying counter 11 observed what has happened and called us to assist and help. He gave us sorry head shake when I said I was off-loaded for no valid explanation except that I am a non-revenue ticket holder. That was already 10pm. We did not have our dinner and my pitiful wife was so stressed out and hungry. My problem was where the hell will we stay and rest until your 10:20pm flight for the following day? Throbbing pain and anger ang feeling ko for the inconsideration you gave my wife and me. We finally ate at 2am.

    I did not ask and begged for the ticket. I won the promo and in our excitement we decided to buy another for my wife and what a presumably happy homecoming experience turned out be a miserable incident. Had I known that I will be overly bothered using the ticket they awarded me – I will refuse the free travel outright.

    We do not deserve your appalling treatment.

    The following day your customer relations officers (duty officer should be helping pax like me at 6am)but was never available. Only the guards were there. Where are they? The Guards are your customer relations officers as they feed and keep giving me numbers to call (879-5698/5916/5918/5917/5920/8558000) that are neither working or a fax phone or just ringing.

    Finally at 930am, someone answered and handed it to a certain Rene Reyes, who talked to me and said that I cannot be boarded as the flight was over booked and my priority is PD8 meaning that my ticket is bookable but can be off loaded anytime without any notice. If I want to be boarded I need to change my priority code to N with the VP and that will be very hard, she said. And will still wait til Monday.

    I was also advise that my wife was off-loaded due to an immigration problem and the counter people were the only ones who knew about it. How can that be possible, we never had the chance to reach the Immigration due to my outright bumped off. She was not off-loaded in the first place. She is incapacitated and will need someone to assist her to go the Immigration.

    Why all these problems cropped up and presumed when it was just a plain classic case of an unexplained off-loading a promo winner of a non-rev ticket? Very good Advertisement.

    FYI, we are green card holders and her passport expires in 2011 and our documents are inorder.

    We are poor elderly passengers but we are not beggars to be push around the way you did to my wife and me.

    This is a pitiful and deplorable experience for someone who housed and accommodated your staff out of kindness for months (Agnes Buenaventura and another male person from your PAL Sales office in Manila) from an unknown environment years ago when they were assigned in Guam without any compensation.

    Why is respect for elders out-dated and obsolete?

    Are your staff foreign to compassion and consideration?

    Are these the kind of high-tech training they get now?

    The slogan “It’s about experience” that you are very proud to claim was made sure was done to us.

    Mine will be My Pal’s Pathetic Experience (MYPalPAc EX).

    I know you will do nothing about my My Pal’s Pathetic Experience.

    Now I know that your airline represents mga PINOY na mayabang at bastos and your airline is elder-unfriendly. You made us feel that we are nothing. That you do not need our business. Ayaw ninyo ng bother na walang monetary na kapalit. You all do not believe in respect and sincerity.

    Kaya nga “It’s about experience”. Good or bad it’s still about experience.

    Bastos kayo! Wala kayong respect.
    You have no regard for the elderly.
    May you experience the extreme thoughtlessness and insensitivity you provided my wife.


    I will refuse PAL TICKET UNTIL I die.

    Thank you and GOD Bless!

    Rodolfo D. Aniceto
    I am listed in Guam directory.
    Promo Winner / Whiner

  6. davidd says:

    “Vroom with a View” sounds like my favorite kind of read. The local library doesn’t carry it, so it goes on the Amazon list.

    I’ve had a desire to visit Greece, in particular the Greek isles, ever since reading Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals.” A well-written book has that effect. Of course, when I visit Greece (you’ll notice that’s a “when,” not an “if,”), I’ll want to see Italy as well.

    My mother visited Rome in 1960 and still talks about it.

  7. i wanna go to italy beacuse of fashion and culture hehe.

  8. Anna says:

    Hi Nina, my favorite Tiger Airways employee!

    jk. ^^

    It’s pretty cool how books can paint an image in our head. It’d really suck though if your experience wouldn’t even match to the experiences of those authors/characters. Hahaha. But anyhoo, yeah Italy is definitely in my list, too. Mostly because of the pretty landscapes. ^^

  9. Christine says:

    Me toooooooo! I dream of Italy. I dream of northern Italy, the Tuscan region. I dream of the Amalfi coast and the south, Capri, all of it. I’ve had sneak previews before – of Rome, Venice and Milan, but I want more, to be able to explore every corner. It’s my favorite country I think, so far.

    If you liked Vroom with a View, you’ll also like The Fulle Montezuma – but this one is about him in S. American. Fun read! For other Italy-related books, have you read Eat, Pray, Love or Bella Tuscany?

  10. nina says:

    Annika: Ooh, what are you reading? I’m running out of travel books lol

    Sarah: Meg Cabot is love!

    Wei: Waaaah! Where in Italy did you go?

    Manny: Thanks! Oh, I want to go to Antarctica too! :D

    Joji: What an experience! I think it’d be better if you e-mail that to the people at PAL :)

    David: Greece! Another country in my ever growing list…

    travelphilippines: And the men! Heehee.

    Anna D: You’re priceless Anna XD

    Christine: Full Montezuma! I also loved that book! I chanced upon it in an opportunity shop for only AU$0.50 XD I haven’t read the books you listed yet.. thanks for the recommendations!

  11. Wei says:

    Milan, Rome, Venice… the regular touristy places.

    Was only there for a week as I’ve got a friend who was tagging along (which was a departure from my usual solo trips) and hence I couldn’t spontaneously extend the stay to see more.

    Definitely got to make another trip there! Will post photos soon.

  12. khursten says:

    I’ve also dreamed of Italy~~ lol.

    My dream is to go round the city in a vespa. Naks! Like Audrey Hepburn on Roman Holiday. lol.

  13. tokyorose says:

    ooooh, italia! i don’t blame you for wanting to visit. and there’s nothing wrong with chick lit once in a while…i should check out that book^^.

  14. randomguru says:

    ah, Italia! nice entry, Nina!

    it’s amazing that you are inspired more through books with no pics of Italy, just the descriptive words and an author’s imagination!

  15. nina says:

    Wei: definitely looking forward to it :D

    Khursten: Yes! Now, if I can only learn how to ride a bike XD

    tokyorose: Chicklit is one of my guilty pleasures, and Meg Cabot is one of my favorite authors :D

    Mr. Guru: I think that’s what endeared me to the books and the place…how mere words were able to convey that magic…

  16. Chairman Mao says:

    Italy would be awesome. Never been, but I’ve seen enough shows on the Travel Channel to assume there’s lots of stuff to do in addition to the traditional touristy things, like a gondola ride in Venice.

  17. joji says:

    I did write to PAL.
    So far they are investigating.
    Yet I know nothing will come up even things were brought up to their President. The longer they investigate the story will be different.
    Thanks for your time.

  18. RUDY says:

    Thank you for sparing your time.
    I have sent a lot of messages to PAL executives even with their GSA in Guam.
    Let me share with you their email that are far and between just for an explanation on my case

    date Aug 1, 2007 8:38 AM
    subject Re: Fwd: Aniceto/Rodolfo PAL Record / BM63P2 GUM/MNL/GUM
    mailed-by pal.com.ph
    Dear Mr. Aniceto,

    We apologize for the incident . Our Customer Relations Office is now
    investigating this matter. Please expect their further communication.

    Again our apologies,

    Gigi D. Mediarito
    Corporate E-Business Department
    Philippine Airlines

    On 8/1/07, Poch_Azucena@pal.com.ph wrote:

    First of all, allow us to thank you for sharing with us and bringing to our attention the ordeal of our passenger, Mr. Rodolfo Aniceto.

    We sincerely apologize to what transpired during his trip back to Guam.

    I have endorsed your email to our Customer Relations, Manila Airport Services and Office of the President of Philippine Airlines. We will certainly look into this matter and secure the handling details of this case.

    Once again, kindly extend our apology to Mr. Aniceto.

    Very truly yours,

    GSA Relations and Charter Services
    Philippine Airlines
    7th Floor, PAL Center, Legazpi Street
    Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines

    Phone: (632) 818 7193
    Fax : (632) 893 2216

    from Sarah_Reyes@pal.com.ph
    date Aug 3, 2007 3:45 PM
    subject Re: Fw: Aniceto/Rodolfo R/BM63P2 GUM/MNL/GUM
    mailed-by pal.com.ph
    Dear Mr. Aniceto,

    As promised in our acknowledgement email sent last July 31st,
    we shall correspond with you again the soonest we receive
    all the handling reports from the offices concerned.

    Thank you for your further patience.



    Customer Management Officer
    Customer Relations

    Tel. no: (632) 8172844
    Fax no: (632) 8943930

    It’s been a week but all I get was sorry and further patient.
    They are most likely trying to lose/mislay all pertinent records about my complain. The next we knew the records were all washed out by the computer and forget all about it. And that’s it and nothing more.
    What are they are covering and washing out?
    Or was there ever an investigation being done?
    Was there ever a looking out and securing of the handling details being made?
    Or may I say what I am expecting.
    A poor old man should not anticipate anything from the Giants.
    Their staff shoo the old dogs and that’s it. PAL THINKS THAT
    No matter what clarification you need if you are poor you will never get it.
    I need explanation on the terrible dilemma we went through.
    Winning a PAL Ticket back home is such a joy but had left us bad memories hard to forget. We have earned respect in our lives somehow.
    I have lived in Guam for many years. My sons are all in the mainland.
    I should have thrown my PAL ticket our have donated it to the dogs instead.
    I should have considered Hawaii for my wife cataract surgery than my country. I should have spared us from this bad experience.
    Or I should have taken Continental Airlines.

  19. kaoko says:

    I haaaate Meg Cabot! Have you read Queen of Babble in New York? Maaan the ending, I want to make sabunot her for leaving it like that, much like how she ended Princess Diaries 8. Aaaaargh. I hate her for doing this to me.

    *sob sob sob* kundi ko lang sya peborit na chicklit writer *sob sob sob*

  20. […] first travel book (apart from guide books) was Vroom with a View by Peter Moore. I found it at this record store in Yarraville that has a table with a bunch of brand new books at […]

  21. […] work, my odd writing jobs, and quality time spent with my plants, I am working on a long time goal: traveling to Italy. I’ve decided to stop dreaming and finally start making this into a […]

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