03.01.2014 - 12.01.2014 13 °C
Seven weeks into our European holiday and we are now in Italy; Parma to be precise. Parma? I hear you ask. Parma is in the north of Italy, between Milan and Florence, it is part of the Emilia-Romagna region, famous for food such as proscuitto, parmigiano cheese and vinegar. Some of the biggest Italian food brands originate from the area such as Barilla Pasta and Parmalat milk products.
We also knew the area through football, Marco Bresciano and Vince Grella both played for F.C. Parma in the Serie A. So coming to stay in Parma for three weeks sounded pretty good. It was to be the place that we would get to know the Italian way and familiarise ourselves with the language before we hit the tourist hotspots.
Our first week has been a little slow, which is okay as the previous six weeks had been full on with not a lot of opportunity to just relax. We are living just near the Parco Ducale gardens, which connects the old town. Each day we walk through these gardens with many of the locals, a relaxing way to start the day.
Our daily walks into the old town take us near the 1000-year-old baptistery and churches, which are truly amazing, and on most days there seems to be a market somewhere.
We have managed to get out to a football game where Parma beat Torino 3:1, and in passing through the town we stumbled upon an expo about the 100 years of FC Parma. The old men were very welcoming and even though it was all in Italian, we managed to enjoy it.
The biggest challenge has been to apply for the ‘Permesso di Soggiorno’, the permit to stay in Italy. We had discovered our visa was just the first step to stay in Italy for longer than 3 months. This permit has quite a reputation and our next few weeks will see if we are to be in Italy legally or illegally for the last three months of our trip.
We have also found that as Parma is not a tourist hotspot, English is not common, so we are all focusing on our Italian language skills, which can only be a good thing.
We have ventured out of Parma, one day to visit the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, this was okay but a little over priced for what it was but what do you expect with the name ‘Ferrari’ in it.
Today we visited the hill town, Castell'Arquato, a beautiful town that unfortunately did not show its best side due to the fog. Still a great day trip with another glimpse into the past.
Of course these trips have warts as well. As four travellers we all have our annoying habits and there has been a few arguments, which can normally be put into 3 categories:
2. Tidiness and personal space
3. Decision making
They say after six weeks on a long-term travel trip relations improve as everyone learns what is expected and how to deal with each other in all the scenarios. So far we have not had any reasons to pack up and call it quits so if it only gets better from here on we won’t have any complaints.