the gioia odessey

i have so many pictures i dont know where to start!

but in the 14 days, we visited the following cities:

Arezzo, Siena, Florence, Bologna, Venice, Bolzano, Rome & Pisa,

we stayed longer in some cities, like Arezzo (which is where the competition was held) and only stayed in some cities for less than a day (like Bolzano & Pisa), and i dont think i’d ever get around to editing all the 3k over pictures, so i’m just gonna pick and choose photos to put up πŸ™‚

i suppose we should start with part 1 of the trip, which was our competition tour!

held in Arezzo, which is a lovely little town. we only started to appreciate Arezzo after we experienced the slummyness of the big cities. hahahaha. ok it’s not that bad, but Arezzo is just nice and the food is cheap and everyone is friendly. the whole city knows about the competition and people on the streets know that we’re from Singapore (because there’s 15 choirs participating in the competition and just 2 choirs are asian) and they’re all generally really nice πŸ˜€

as for the competition itself, i think we actually did really well even though we didnt get prized.

i’ll just share one of my favourite pieces from the competition πŸ™‚

gioia means joy πŸ™‚ i think that pretty much sums up the experience from this trip!

& moving on to the pictures!

there’s really too many so we’ll start off with 100 first. loll. ok huh, no words because too many πŸ™

my cute sleeping mask thingy.

the plane served pretty decent food actually!

view over the Alps

super adorable shaggy old english sheepdog at the Florence airport!

our first meal upon touch down: a bowl of instant noodles (we brought a huge stash to last us the 2 weeks) kindly sponsored by hot water from the cafe. you can’t get instant noodles in italy! D: or at least we didnt see any in the supermarkets. such blasphemy.

this very innovative nutella snack had us fascinated, it’s a dip (like Yan Yan!) along with a drink (lemon tea or something) all in a little cylindrical container. cute! quite rather expensive though.

the hotel that we stayed in during the competition part of the trip was awesome, we had pasta & meat for every meal πŸ˜› apparently in italy, pasta is just the 1st dish, followed up by a (usually) meat and lastly dessert/fruit. D: so you cannot imagine how much we ate while over there. proabably x3 the amount we do in singapore, even after minus-ing our gelato expeditions.

we arrived in the late afternoon and basically just had dinner, went exploring around the town we were staying in, and went to bed.

breakfast time!

already all made up in anticipation of the first competition round. oh i ate ALOT of ham every breakfast. love ham.

our old skool-looking train ticket!

no pictures of the competition itself, so fast foward to after competition that day, when we climbed up a pretty steep path to the old castle of castiglion florentino (where we stayed for week 1)

this is rocky, the adorable elderly old dog we often find in the hotel lobby. dogs can go almost anywhere in italy, including shops, on the trains and buses, and some of them even roam the streets with their owners without being on a leash D:

my checkered leggings, i’m surprised i didnt get a checkered suntan on my legs :S

next day,

Jean the SIA girl doing our pseudo SIA hair-dos for us! πŸ˜€ hehehe. she’s really good at it!!

acting SIA. hahahah fakers.

there were a surprising amount of Asians on the streets actually! we ran into a chinese girl and her baby brother. he’s so adorable with the longest and lushest eyelashes i’ve seen on a boy!

make-up in transit.

all the trains and train stations there are all madly vandalised. but it’s very colorful and looks great actually πŸ˜€


we had to walk rather far after alighting at Arezzo to the competition arena, and Italian cobbled walkways are not made for walking on with high heels. i dont know how all those italian women do it :/ i was smart on day 2 and brought along my concert heels in a bag while i walked in flat. ahh. never took out any heels again for the rest of the trip (after competition ended)

we passed by an old man selling his produce on the streets, figs, peaches, mushrooms (!!!!) and other greens πŸ™‚

love this picture of Fish, she really looks like an SIA girl here! haha

next morning, we attempted the climb up to the old castle again! the view is magnificent, (and it’s the first of the many steep slopes and steps we climbed during the next 10 days. i’m pretty sure i developed nice muscular thighs after all that hard work already)

then we had a morning free in Arezzo before the next part of the day, rehearsal at the church we’d be singing for Mass at and the awards ceremony for the competition

guess what these reminded me of πŸ˜›

the coffee and pastries in italy are so good and (generally) cheap, starbucks and coffee bean have become madly overpriced in my eyes.

jumpshot fun (the first of many too!)

this looks like a camera ad. “Canon, delighting you always”

we had our lunch at a non-descript looking little pizza place, the pizza man was sooo nice, he couldn’t really speak english but tried so hard because we had to order a non-pork item for Aini, and we still had not learnt what pork is (just say NO Maiyale, this equated to our most useful phrase in Italy apart from the usual greetings and thanks)

1 humongous size of pizza only cost like 1.80 euros?

omg the mushroomsssss there are sooo good. salivate. they’re juice and succulent and super tasty!!!

spotted a singaporean flag on the streets!

colorful balloons for sale

spices hanging outside a shop

we sang for a Mass in this church πŸ™‚

our lovely LO (liaison officer) saying her goodbyes to us

it rained intermittently while we were there, mostly at night so we didnt get the worse of it, save for chilly nights and mornings

and we went on a day trip to Siena!

the Duomo there is a magnificant piece of architecture, and the first of the many Duomos we visited as well πŸ˜›

we had lunch at a pasta bar: ordered 6 different types of pasta and one pizza to share! damn yummyyyy. i miss italian food already.

the men trying to be funny.

our last day in Castiglion Florentino!

we had breakfast at the hotel,

followed by breakfast at a cafe.

i know right. i could eat breakfast there the whole day man.

little maggoty looking pastries that are filled with nutella and custard respectively. nutella/hazelhut was our next favourite on this trip, apart from the porcini mushrooms. we overdosed on nutella pastries and hazelnut ice cream everyday! but SO good.

part 1 ends here!

i’ll be back with more, but now it’s time to do up a preview for the next collection ;D teehee


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