Monday, January 14, 2008

Malaysian family in Italy

Me and my family in Italy

I, my late wife and my eldest daughter, then only a year plus old, traveled from Belgium to Italy by train via Switzerland in the 70s. Switzerland is my favorite country in Europe and Italy is second on the list. What did I like about Italy? The Italian food of course.

Italian food and Malaysian food: Similarities and differences

calzone Italian foodPhoto of Big Calzone is property of Beatrice Murch

Look at that Big Calzone!!! Shy to put our Malaysian tiny curry puff beside it for comparison. There are other similarities as well. There is the spaghetti which is similar to our noodles (Hokkien mee, Magee mee Mamak style, mee yoke or prawn mee, mee java, mee goreng, mee soup, fish ball mee....). Well, at least we Malaysian beat them at the variety of mee as compared with the very standard Italian spaghetti even if our curry puff cannot beat their Big Calzone. And I love the Lasagne.

Lasagne Italian food
Photo of Lasagne is property of Jessica

Reminds me of our kueh tiew or chee cheong fun. Only difference, lasagne is alternating layer of white "pastry" or what to me is "chee cheong fun" and fillings which is then baked. Very delicious. I think better than our chee cheong fun.

Rome, capital city of Italy

If I remembered correctly, our first disembarkation point was Rome, capital city of Italy. Of course we like the normal tourists, went gaping at the Colloseum (a far cry from our own version, the "Malaysian Colloseum". Plus visited the Vatican City, the Christian Catacombs of Rome and a few other places, but what I like are not all those ancient monuments, but eating stuff like pizza, calzone and lasagne fresh from the oven in the roadside "stalls".

We did not join a packaged tour, and were on our own. That means we had to waste precious tourist time hunting for accommodation which for us on a limited budget had to be Italian pensions. With modern technology, you will be well advised to use online accommodation websites like Roma Hotel

Florence, capital city of Tuscany

Can't remember how we got around, but visited Florence we did, and probably via train as I vaguely remember using the Europass. For ladies, you will be highly tempted by famous Italian fashion houses like Gucci, Prada, Roberto Cavalli and Chanel in Florence. Can't remember what we visited, but definitely remember, and vividly too, taking photographs or ourselves against the background of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Italian town of Pisa which also happened to be in the same province of Tuscany.

For accommodation booking, try Firenze Hotel.

Milan, large city in Lombardy

The visit was 30 years ago, so don't blame me for mixing up Milan with Florence as both are famous for of design and fashion. Milan is located in the plains of Lombardy and is one of the largest cities in Italy. Can't remember much about Milan. But if I am to visit Milan again, I will not ignore my now favorite way of getting accommodation, that is, book online at websites like Milano Hotel.

Venice, capital of region Veneto

30 years cannot take away my memory of Venice, the city of canals and unfortunately, also the sinking city. Want to visit Venice? Don't wait too long. One fine day, it may be submerged. What are my memories of Venice? The canals, the condola, the bridges, Piazza San Marco or in English, St Mark's Square, taking photos of pigeons resting on outstretched arms, etc.

St. Mark's Square, Venice, ItalyPhoto of St. Mark's Square is propery of Kieran Lynam

These are good memories. What are the bad memories? Wasting expensive tourist time hunting for suitable accommodation on arrival. My suggestion: use the highly convenient Internet and book your accommodation online at websites like Venezia Hotel and spend more time with the friendly pigeons.

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