Saturday, March 24, 2007

Arrivederci From Italy

I don't know whether I'll ever end up being a blogger because I really don't like to write. But I'll make one more stab at it before I come home. Observation about this area of Italy--it is not easy to get anywhere from here. Hours of travel by car, bus, train, subway and ferry may get you where you want to be. There is no need to be impatient, you'll eventually get there.

Tuesday was rainy, we stayed in and did laundry--I'd bought several new books and enjoyed laying around and reading. Tuesday night we went out for excellent Chinese with Dan's Boeing workmates.

I started this entry from Italy, but lost connections. I'm home now so will finish it up from here. Dan dropped us off at the central train station at 7 on Wednesday morning and we caught the train to Florence. It took about three and a half hours to get there. We walked from the train station to the hotel. We stayed at the Michelangelo Hotel, one of the Star Hotel chain. It was really fancy and included a comfy bed with the Pillow Mania promotion--whatever that was! The hand towels in the bathroom were linen and the bidet came with "intimate wash"--which Dan had picked up at his original hotel and was using for shampoo! I guess it would work!

After we got checked in we took the bus to the Duomo, a beautiful cathedral. There were lots of people around and hundreds of teens in school groups from countries all over the world. But everybody we talked to said the crowds were small compared to the summer. We looked around the Duomo and went to the Duomo Museum. It was really neat and I took a lot of pictures, which I'll try to organize and share. We ate at a local restaurant and I had wonderful four cheese penne and Paul had pesto stuffed ravioli with mushrooms. We fell into bed about 10.

We got up the next morning and ate breakfast at the hotel, they had eggs! Italians don't eat eggs for breakfast--they eat meat and cheese (some of the meats are ugly looking) We took the bus to the city center and walked to the Uffizi Museum. The line was a mile long and someone told us we could get reservations for a few euros more. We had about an hour to kill so we walked to the Ponte Vecchio. It is the only bridge across the river that wasn't bombed in the war. It's covered and has jewelry shops across it.

We went back to the Museum and stayed about three hours. It was really neat and we saw some very famous works of art including The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. We took a city bus around town, nice place to sit down! I think we might have done something else but right now I can't remember what it was--oh yeah, we are dinner and waited for the train. We got back to Naples about 10:30 and Dan and Ray picked us up at the train station.

Will continue the last two days later.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ciao from Italy!

Sunday Paul and Dan took a 3 hour walk while I sat at the pool and read. It was funny to watch the resort fill up with the locals who came for a dip in the hot pool. The women had on wool suits and coats then changed to swim suits and terry cloth robes. They hung their suits and coats over the lounge chairs and went for a swim.

Monday Dan took Paul and I to the train station and we went to Rome again, it takes about an hour and a half to get there. Some of the museum were closed on Monday and when we got there we found out that St Peter's was closed because of a holy day. We went on a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Palintine Hills. It was overcast with a few sprinkles. We took the metro back to the train station and had baked pasta and tarts for lunch. We got on the metro again and went to Vatican City. By the time we got off the metro and came up from underground it was pouring rain, we bought cheap umbrellas and walked about eight blocks to St Peters. There were people roaming around but the place was virtually empty. The only area we were able to enter was the Tomb of the Popes. I think 16 popes are buried there including Pope John Paul. St. Peter is also buried there and seeing that was a moving experience.

We took the metro back to the central station and by that time we were pretty WET! We then took the Eurostar back to Naples and a bus to the bungalow. By the time we got back it was about 10:00 and to say the least we were pooped.

Today we are doing laundry and resting. It is much cooler here now and it looks like it'll be like this through the rest of my stay. I'm glad I got to enjoy a few warm days. Tonight we are going to eat Chines with Dan and Ray and friends. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we are going to Florence and will stay overnight so I will write more after that. Ciao. N

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Wonderful Start!!

You can imagine my surprise when I opened the blogger site and it was all in Italian! Luckily it seems I am able to write in English or you would never hear from us!

My flight went smoothly and after leaving KC a little late all my other flights arrived early. Alitalia Airlines to Milan left at midnight from Newark and I was exhausted by that time so after dinner I was able to sleep for 5 hours. When I woke up we were over the Alps and it was beautiful. By the time I arrived in Naples it was late afternoon and I only had to stay awake another few hours before I could sleep again. So all in all it was the best overseas flight schedule I've had.

On Friday Paul and I took the train to Pompeii. Nothing is easy here. Dan dropped us off at the train station at 6:30. We took the train to one train station in Naples and then walked through the city. We stopped and had a croissant filled with custard, a good find, and then took the bus to the main train station. We waited a while at got the train to Pompeii which was incredible. We stayed there all day, took the train back to Naples and took the bus to Averno which takes about an hour. NOTHING is easy, transportation wise. Even if you had a car you wouldn't drive. The traffic is awful with one way streets, construction and road blocks everywhere. Center lines and stop signs are optional and it is nothing to see 5 cars side by side on a two lane road. Here's one of the traffic rules: If you cannot see the cars behind you in your rear view mirror and you hit them it is their fault.

Friday night we went to a Boeing party here where we are staying. I was tired so went to bed early. Got up Saturday at 4:30!!

Saturday Paul, Dan, Ray and I went on the Euro Star (200 miles an hour-only took 1 1/2 hours) to Roma. Ray is a friend of Dan's who is well traveled and it was great for him to make the arrangements and lead us through the train station and around Roma. We took the doubledecker bus to see the highlights, ate a wonderful lunch. I had Carbanora and Paul had a seafood antipasto (with odd looking creatures of the sea) and some red pasta dish. Ray waited at the train station while Paul Dan and I walked to the Colosseum. Dan had been there 30 years before and said it was a 15 minute walk--it was a 45 minute walk!! So you walked down there and literally turned around and came back. We caught the train back and finally got home around 10. To say the least we were pooped and went to bed.

It's now Sunday morning and Paul and Dan are getting ready to walk, I'm going to sit by the pool. We are going to Ray's house for dinner.

Even though I'm world's best packer, I forgot the charger to my camera battery. I'm going to a big electronics store today to see if I can find a replacement.

The weather is beautiful here, about 70 during the day. We take off jackets and are in short sleeves but the Italians still have on their winter coats with fur collars!! Must be a metabolism thing?

Friday, March 2, 2007

T minus 3

Paul is starting his pretrip snit-where the least little thing becomes an issue. This is the time where technology is out to get him. He'll relax on the plane.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Italy--Here We Come

Paul leaves March 5 and Nancy leaves March 14 for a visit to Italy. We will be staying with Paul's brother Dan in Averno, a town outside of Naples. We're going to trying to blog about our trip for family and friends. My guess is we'll be either too busy or too relaxed but we'll see. Picture is of our hotel--nice huh?