Hiking in South Tyrol — Day 1

Meran/Merano, South Tyrol (Italy)(Very important! If this post is cut off at the bottom, reload the page. This usually solves the problem.) We head to the Dolomites and the surrounding mountains near Meran(o) at least once a year. I am a crazy hiker. I love trudging up a mountain–is it really “trudging” when you love […]

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The Post in which Christopher sort of Apologizes to the Nation of Italy for Thinking it Served Only Bad Food to Tourists

(Important! If this post is cut off by photos at the end, try reloading the page. This usually solves the problem.) Tale of La Mimosas Yes, I can eat my own words. I’m going to tell you two tales, both happening in the same city. Rome. Before I left Munich, I did a bit of […]

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You’ll Never Walk Alone — at the Vatican

They all just want out.(If this post is cut off at the bottom by photos, try reloading the page. This usually works.) I do not like crowds. When I’m in one, I can think of six thousand reasons why I don’t like them, and each one of those six thousand reasons has a mind of […]

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When in Rome?

The Trevi FountainOff to Rome for the weekend. I’ve been to Rome, but I don’t think I’ve ever done what Romans do when I’ve been in Rome. What do Romans do when they’re in Rome? If my ethnological instincts are perky and fit today, I’d be correct in assuming that the average Roman stays home […]

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BirthEasterDay in Italy

Christopher Allen on his ::coughs-th:: birthdayMy birthday always falls close to Easter, so we’re always on a trip when the clock strikes 12 and I turn another year younger. This year, it was my great fortune to turn ::coughs:: on Easter. Oddly, one of my many nicknames over my ::coughs:: years was “Bunny” (given to […]

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Free Photo Friday — Food

I can’t imagine anything in the world that excites me more than . . . food. What were you thinking? Food. I often go to restaurants alone so that I can enjoy the evening chewing and licking and swallowing food. And if you find that icky, well to each his own. If you say the […]

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Kimberly Menozzi — Expat Author Interview

Kimberly Menozzi’s Ask Me if I’m Happy is “a literary read with a strong romantic core” set mostly in northern Italy where Menozzi lives. She’s in Tennessee right now promoting her books. Allen: Hey, Kim! Welcome to I Must be Off! You’re going to be in Tennessee, my home state. When? Where? Give us the […]

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Naples. Why Doesn’t Italy Love Italy?

(Important! If this post is cut off at the bottom, reload the page. This usually solves the problem.) Italy remains one of the world’s most loved tourist destinations. And I have to ask myself every time I’m forced to go there…why? If you haven’t read my posts on Florence and Venice, do that and come […]

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The Glorious Guided Tour

The concept of the guided tour is simple—tell a throng of tourists the same thing at the same time and make more money. You’ve seen them: the groups of teenagers halfheartedly following a fusty old fart with a red umbrella, a gaggle of Japanese geriatrics huddling around a woman with a microphone . . . […]

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Venetian Jade and Ligurian Diamonds

Exactly one year ago, I vowed to myself and those around me that I would never ever ever return to the world’s largest, sinking tourist trap—Venice. Like the other Italian tourist meccas, Venice must have been beautiful once. Now, it’s a watery maze of trinket shops, bad restaurants and over-priced hotels. Who can we blame […]

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