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LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7011 posts

Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Hi all. As promised, here's my review of my most recent trip. I'll keep this succinct, but if there's anything you'd like me to go into further detail on, feel free to ask. My favorite part of this trip was Taormina. I didn't really know what to expect as I really only booked this portion of the trip to just randomly see Eddie Vedder and the dates just happened to work. I don't believe I'll ever see natural beauty that tops this place. Anyways, here goes:

FIRST STOP: ROMA

We flew DFW -> LHR -> FCO and managed to make pretty good time with only a 2 hr layover in LHR. We caught the last express train out of FCO to Termini Roma by about 30 seconds. I wanted to keep in simple since we would only be in Rome for 1.5 days so I booked a hotel near Termini Roma. Not the nicest area, but within walking distance of most things and I felt that it had a lot of character. On our full day we did a hop on and off bus tour and saw the Colosseum, Vatican City, and Piazza di Spagna.

COLOSSEUM:

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Colosseum was super crowded, so we bought skip the line guided tour tickets for 35 euro per. The tour went a little slow for my taste (as we only had 1.5 days in Rome), so we bailed about halfway through and saw the rest on our own. It's fun to imagine this place in its heyday. I knew it was a big place, but it is really amazing to see in person. Crazy to imagine it being built so long ago.

VATICAN CITY:

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We went on Sunday, so unfortunately we did not get to see inside the Sistine Chapel. Will definitely have to see this next time. Still a pretty cool sight to see. We bought some rosaries for gifts for family and friends.

PIAZZA DI SPAGNA:

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This seemed to be one of the nicer areas of Rome. Lots of luxury clothing stores amidst the ancient landmarks. I will likely look to stay here on my next trip to Rome.

MISC PICS AND FOOD:

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We caught a cab to FCO at like 4 am after this to fly to CTA. It was the wildest cab ride of my life. Dude was going over 100 mph and seemed to be on a mission to disrespect other cabs. We passed them like they were standing still with only inches to spare .
This post was edited on 7/10 at 5:14 pm


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7011 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
2ND STOP: TAORMINA

The highlight of the trip for me as far as natural beauty goes. It nearly brought tears to my eyes when I saw the view from the balcony of our room. I really had never seen any pictures of this place, and like I said, only booked our stay here to see Eddie Vedder. Everything about this place was awesome: the culture, the food, the views, etc.

SCENERY:

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The last pic was our balcony view with Mount Etna in the background. It was pretty cool to see the smoke coming out of the top of it. The cove near Taormina was a popular spot for some pretty large yachts.

HIKE TO MONTE VENERE:

We walked to roads and path up to Castel Mola. The town was a pretty cool place with amazing views. The town had an old drinking fountain that had cold water that tasted amazing. These were fairly common throughout Rome and Taormina. I will try to spend a day or two in Castel Mola on the next trip to Taormina.

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The hike to Castel Mola was tough alone but likely not even half way. My friend who exercises fairly regularly barely made it this far. Granted we did begin hiking around 10:30 am so we were hiking in 90F heat with full sun and a decent amount of humidity. I went onward alone and to be honest, was half expecting to die of heat exhaustion. If I had rolled an ankle or started to cramp, I'm not sure what I would have done. I only saw 1 couple on the trail the entire day. I would recommend taxiing to Castel Mola and beginning the hike here (this is where the real trail begins anyway). You definitely need to be in good shape to do even this though - it's a pretty steep trail.

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^ I found refuge from the sun in this abandoned house about 75% up the way just as I was beginning to question most whether I was going to make it or not.
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The trail gets really rocky at the top of the mountain. Definitely have to watch every step and make sure you don't roll an ankle. You can definitely fall a long way if you trip.
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View from the top:
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HOTEL:

We stayed at the Taormina Park Hotel. It was a pretty elegant place and appeared to be pretty old. Unfortunately the AC did not work in our room, but it prepared me for the Catamaran on Yacht Week a week later. The pool was nice and a good place to grab drinks.

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FOOD:

Taormina had multiple fruit trucks with some of the best fresh fruit I've ever had:

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I will legitimately become irate and fight your whole family at Sonic if you talk shite about flat peaches:

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Taormina has quite a few luxury restaurants. I ate at one down the road from my hotel- Gourmet II. Food was phenomenal but don't expect fast service (that holds true for everywhere I went in Europe though). The whole meal took ~3 hours. I still had a good time though and enjoyed my dinner. I went with the 6 course meal that they offered for somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 or 80 euro.

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Mt Enta has some really good wines (especially the whites IMO) that are readily available throughout the town.

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MISC:

We went and saw Eddie Vedder in the ancient Greek ampitheater. The show was amazing (even though the venue had ran out of beer and become a dry affair midway through the opening act -
Glen Hansard).

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This post was edited on 3/27 at 7:50 pm


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7011 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
3RD STOP: CROATIA

I spent 9 days in Croatia total. 2 days prior to Yacht Week in Split, and 7 days for Yacht Week. We started Yacht Week in Trogir, and went to Vis, Palmizana, and Hvar. I pretty much skipped all exploration of the destinations - although we did walk around Hvar for a while. The focus of this week was throwing down on the 40 ft Catamaran and trying to survive the night parties. Half of our group members did not sleep the first 3 nights. The night parties did not begin until midnight and often did not end until 6 am. I struggled here, but I thoroughly enjoyed the day raft parties. I honestly would not recommended more than stopping by any of the destinations for more than a day or 2. If you're young and like to party, Yacht Week is the way to go if you're visiting Croatia.

SPLIT

As I said, we spent 2 days here. We rented an apartment through hotels.com. The apartment was fine. Modern deco and it had everything we needed. Short walk to the Diocletian Palace where everything is at. The palace is old but has been converted into a shopping district. It was pretty strange. Outside the palace, you can see a lot of graffiti - such as the demon family that welcomed us back each night:

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Plaza outside the entrance to our apartment:

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Diocletian Palace:

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Yacht Week:

This was the main event and it lived up to the hype. I initially was afraid that event would be very structured and kind of corporatized. I was wrong. Our skipper was very flexible and really we only stuck to a loose schedule of where to be on what day. We were free to do as we chose otherwise. The festivities usually began around 10 or 11 am each day with a raft party and the nightly clubs would end around 6 am (or so I'm told. I usually passed out at 3 am or earlier). They purchased a castle on Vis - Fort George and threw one of the nightly parties there. That was a pretty cool sight to see. Anyways, here's a compiliation of all the pictures. Feel free to ask more.

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This was during the height of the first raft party. If you count the people on the roof, I believe it totals 30 with about 20 more on the first deck. It was wild. I'm surprised other catamarans were telling people to GTFO, so most found refuge with us and that's how we accumulated so many. We were lucky and only had to pay 200 kuna (~30 usd) for a lost oar at the end of the week. People were doing all kinds of aerial tricks off the top deck from the back (front flips, back flips, double gainers, etc.). Sound system usually stayed at max capacity. My ability to sleep evolved into something that I found to be quite amazing by the end of the week. I fell asleep at times in the main parlor amongst 30 people partying with the music blaring. It seemed to be pretty uninterrupted sleep too looking back.

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Skipper took off auto-pilot, and let me drive then promptly asked if I would like a beer .

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^we switch places with the other half of the group and went to the marina the day after the first raft party. Our skipper was cool enough to let us take the dinghy to the 2nd day's raft party since we wanted to go back. Shenanigans ensued. I became known as the dinghy skipper.

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Circle raft party - somewhat subdued since it was early, only lasted for a couple hours, and people had stayed up late the night before. It originally was cancelled, but then we ended up doing it on the last day for a short period of time. The skipper called it "just for the picture raft."

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I represented TX, but we did spend the 4th in Palmizana. I woke up around 8 am to a guy drinking beer adorned in an America flag yelling "USA baby!" (pronounced bay-bay). The locals and foreigners ended up hating us by midday from all of our shenanigans. I taught the Fiji girls on our boat how to shotgun a beer:

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Picture from the first night's party:

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Shore nearby on the 1st day's raft party:

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Marina at Palmizana:

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I met our crew through their crew finder forum. They were all really nice and we got along well except for the older lady who joined last minute and didn't know what she was getting herself into. The separate parties did their own thing for the most part outside of the day parties, but it was a good balance in the end. Love these guys:

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Misc:

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That sums it up. If you have any questions, just ask. Maybe I'll see you out on Yacht Week Greece next year.
This post was edited on 7/10 at 5:56 pm


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AbitaFan08
LSU Fan
Boston, MA
Member since Apr 2008
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re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Can I give you a small piece of advice? I wouldn't add photos that you are in. And I'm not insulting you, just saying people in TD can be creepy as frick.



Winston Cup
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re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Serious camel toe in the coliseum pic. Iwnhi


AbitaFan08
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Member since Apr 2008
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re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
And thus it begins.


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Fun Bunch
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
New Orleans
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re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Take the pictures with you out immediately brother. Trust me.


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HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
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re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia


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jimmy the leg
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2007
6541 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
I hope your pic doesn't end up on the fark board! Great review though.


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7011 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Bump for completed Croatia review.


MLSter
USA Fan
Member since Feb 2013
3485 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Nice review.
Couple Questions on yacht week

How old are you?
How much sex is had? With female boat members?
I'm 25 and feel like I'm too old to do a yacht week


LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7011 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
(no message)
This post was edited on 3/27 at 7:59 pm


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HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
17831 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Did you attend an AA meeting here?



LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7011 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
I'm not privy to the connection here. This I assume was some sort of landmark marker as it was at the peak next to a pile of rocks in which people took turns making the mountain taller.


Winston Cup
LSU Fan
San Antonio Spurs Fan
Member since May 2016
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re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
this ended up being a really cool travel review. one of the best ones yet. great job guy!



LSUsuperfresh
Michigan State Fan
Member since Oct 2010
7011 posts

re: Trip Review - Rome, Toarmina, Yacht Week Croatia
Thanks man . I can't recommend Taormina enough for anyone who wants to relax, eat good food, drink good wine, and experience the local culture. Conversely, if you're looking to party, it's hard to beat tyw Croatia as well.


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