So I decided I would go through with my plan to try out a travel guide whilst in Italy. Here are the results!
Mission 1: Lucca
Ok, I’m going to admit here right at the start – Lucca is not the best place to test out guide books. It’s a small town, so it is pretty hard to get lost. And. Well. The guide book basically just pointed us in the direction of the huge honking cathedral that we could see at all times anyway.
It did have some good tips, such as where to eat, although many of the restaurants were vastly out of my budget. Having the prices of the museums would have been helpful though. Often we arrived at a museum only to realise that it was absolutely extortionate. I realise that rates change depending on the time of year, but having a general number would have saved a lot of walking.
Mission 2: Siena
This is where things got interesting. We deliberately put away our phones, took deep breaths, and delved deep into the guide book.
And immediately got lost. Maybe this is a generational thing again, but there is something deeply embarrassing about whipping out a map, for some reason. However, we did it, and the map was surprisingly helpful. Normally I struggle with useful skills such as these, but we did alright, and found ourselves at the truly magnificent cathedral in Siena. Again, the guide book proved useful, as it pointed out exactly what was worth seeing, and what wasn’t, really. I especially liked the use of lists – we tended to stick to the top 5 of everything, and I think that worked pretty well.
Once again, however, the food in particular was just wayyyy above our price range, so we ventured into a cafe not mentioned in the guide (!!) which I think was the best decision we had all day. I should have taken a picture of the food, but it was so damn tasty that I just couldn’t control myself. Also, I noticed that the restaurants and cafes mentioned in the guide were all extremely busy. I’d love to compare my one (‘DK Top 10 in Tuscany’) to others, to see if they match. I bet they do.
I was glad I bought it, because it made my days in Lucca and Siena particularly memorable, and it’s a nice memento of my trip as a whole. But overall, I’m still not convinced.