On the plane to Italy

So we’re about three and a half hours into our flight to Rome.  It’s dark outside the window, we’re in some wicket turbulence, and the map in front of me says we’ve left Newfoundland behind and have traveled 2016 miles from our point of origin.  I’m not quite ready to sleep yet (9:35pm at home, 3:35am in Rome), so I dug out the computer and decided to write my first Italy entry already, for cryin’ out loud!

I’m finally excited.  It’s been so strange, how this trip hasn’t sunk into me till only recently.  Maybe it was the fact that we planned it kind of last-minute…decided to make it a reality only about two weeks ago.  Even so, we have really planned it quite a bit.  We’ve booked several excursions…we know what we’re doing each day that we’re together (Mom and I), with only a few unplanned half-days here and there, scattered throughout.  Evenings are free at the moment.  Mornings are pretty much booked…along with most afternoons.  And we’re gonna do some COOL stuff.

When we land in Rome in the morning, we’ll get on a train right away and head for Naples, and from there to our hotel in Sorrento.  We stay three nights there.  Tomorrow (today?) is unplanned…we’ll take the ferry to Capri if we feel up to it, but if we’re bushed, we’ll just doze at the hotel and maybe hang out at the pool (the pictures show an AWESOME coastal view from the pool…hope they’re accurate!) to recuperate.  The next day, we’ll visit Pompeii, and hopefully track down this amazing pizza joint I heard about from a Neapolitan girl I met at Starbucks a few weeks ago.  Then we’ll do an all-day bus tour of the Amalfi coast that is supposed to let us visit some great little towns along the way and (hopefully) learn a lot about the region, too…because that always makes travel more meaningful, I find.

On Friday, we’ll head back up to Rome and do the Rome / Vatican City thing for a few days, and on Monday, we’ll go to Florence…from there, we’ll tour Tuscany (vino!!), Cinque Terre, and Florence itself.  I think I’m most excited to see David…I’ve been reading Rick Steves’s book on Florence, trying to learn as much as I can about the pieces that we’ll be seeing, and about the Renaissance artists who lived there as well.

After Mom flies home on Friday the 13th (!), my trip gets a bit amorphous, though I do have a loose plan.  I have three days in which I plan to hit Assisi and Verona.  Venice got booted off the itinerary the other day.  Everyone is telling me it’s a rotten time of year to try to enjoy Venice.  So I’ll just pass through the night of the 15th, I think, and take an overnight train to Vienna to spend some time with Christa on her days off from work.  She’ll be working each of the next five days I’m there, till the day I fly home, and Lord only knows what I’ll do with those days, but I’m sure it’ll be awesome.  I don’t think I’ll plan that in advance, though…see where the wind takes me. =)

If you followed my Camino trip two years ago, you’ll get what I mean when I say that packing for this trip was very disorienting for me!  I used some of the same packing methods…my same backpack (Mustang Sally herself), the space bags (I still swear by those, especially for backpackers), the REI organizational stuff (tube cubes, compression sacks, what-have-you).  But I didn’t have to be as Spartan on this trip.  Aside from Aug 13-15, I’ll be pretty much based out of either a hotel or Christa’s house.  I’m probably only going to be in hostels 2 or 3 nights the whole trip, and one night I plan to sleep on a train.  So I don’t anticipate having to pay too high a cost for a heavier-than-it-has-to-be pack.  The Camino so brainwashed me to weigh the worth of every item I put in my backpack that it was hard for me to believe that I’d really just packed a toiletry bag that (I’m guessing, amusedly) weighs about 5 pounds by itself.  Ha ha.  Screw it, I didn’t cut all my hair off for this trip, and I wanna look halfway-good in these photos!!  (Sigh…the Camino poof….)  I was still thrify on the clothes I brought…everything mixes and matches…but I did have to bring running clothes and stuff.  So packing was an odd mix of trying to be minimal, but reveling in my ability to splurge a bit on space, too.

And yes, I realize I will probably buy a duffel in the next week and a half to fill with Italian Stuff I Can’t Live Without.  Gonna be awesome if I can send it home with Mom, too. =)

Travel goldmine for this trip: Pacsafe!!  This company makes THE most AWESOME gear for traveling.  Their “thing” is security.  Their bags are meant to keep your stuff safe from thieves, pickpockets, and slash-and-grab Vespa thugs.  Mom and I both got the Pacsafe Metrosafe 200 shoulder bag, as well as the Pacsafe Toursafe wallet that chains into the bag (which made me feel kinda silly the past week around Woodbridge, but will have me feeling safe and smug in the Campo de Fiori in Rome).  This thing is MONEY.  Steel cables in the shoulder strap, steel mesh integrated into the bottom of the bag (to guard against slashers with box cutters and the like), and zipper clips and zipper guards everywhere.  I mean, it’s not like you can’t get into this thing in 5 seconds if it’s unattended, but no one’s gonna get something out of this bag on the metro without two hands and enough hassle to alert me the second he decides to go for it.  It’s just a really, really great bag.  Check out their website.  AAA sells Pacsafe stuff in their offices, too.

I can’t think of much else to talk about at this point.  I’ll hopefully be able to post this soon…I posted a new run entry, too, in case you missed it…and I guess I should probably try to get some sleep.  We’ll be landing in about 4 or 5 hours…I’ll be a zombie if I don’t get some shuteye.  The plane’s got a lot of empty seats, too…I’m in an all-mine twofer by the window, over the wing.  But the armrests don’t go all the way up…d’oh!  I’ll manage.  ‘Night…I’ll post again when I can.


About merlintoes

Amateur marathoner, constant wanderer, sometime teacher, and pilgrim for life. As of July 2012, I have picked up and moved my life to Colorado, a state where I know no one, have no job, and hear it is very beautiful. I don't understand it myself...but I'm gonna run with it.
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