Travel Light – Backpack It To Italy


My husband and I just got back from ten glorious days in Rome. We’ve been there before, but only for half that time and really didn’t get to see half of the things we wanted to see.

With careful planning that started in March, we made plans to leave on August 31st and return on September 9th. We had a couple of things to think about though. First: What do we do with three dogs? We certainly didn’t want to kennel them, and all three kids were in school/college. Being empty nesters, we had to either call a dog sitting service to come to the house at least three times a day, or ask someone crazy enough to live in our house for ten days tending to our “babies.”

We found that crazy person in our friend, Nancy. She graciously offered to dog/house sit for us while we were away. If it weren’t for her, we probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere. The second thing we needed to think about was the awful idea of baggage. Dave and I hate hauling suitcases around. Suitcases are the equivalent of hauling an elephant over a ton of rocks and rubble. We have always traveled light, so Dave found these awesome backpacks which are slightly bigger than your average backpack. I was able to pack all my clothes with accessories and toiletries in it with room to spare. Let’s put this baby on and get on with the trip!

Our goal of our trip was to reconnect. The last vacation Dave and I took ALONE was when we got married in 2007. Pity. We’ve taken the boys with us on vacations to Maui, but we’ve never gone anywhere with just the two of us since then. With my health issues and his job with the government and the military, our dates were limited to dinners out and cuddling on the couch.

We wanted more.

We also wanted to disconnect from technology. We made a pact to not bring any laptops, ipads or blackberry’s. We only brought one notech.jpegphone which was meant to stay in communication with Nancy in case there was an emergency with one of the dogs (or all three).

Lastly, we wanted to take magnificent pictures. The last time we were in Rome in 2006, I was just learning how to use the camera properly. Well, I think the pictures we took this time around are far better than the ones we took in 2006! Aside from the pictures, our mouth was watering for delicious Italian food and wine. Intoxicating wine. Bottle by delicious bottle.

We’ll enjoy the exploring, as we do everything on our own. The weather reports for Rome show that we will have nothing but clear skies and mid 80’s for temperature. There will be many observations – some absurd, while others a genuine query. I downloaded an app that can give you simple phrases in Italian. Although I am getting better at understanding the words, my recollection of all of them may be a bit rusty.

We got through customs with a guy who had a heavy Russian accent.

“Name.”

“Sign.”

Apparently, I didn’t sign my passport. Stripped off my jewelry, went through the scanner and got patted down for explosive devices. None were found.

WIN.

While sitting at Wolfgang Puck’s drinking some wine and waiting for Dave to make our money exchange, I found it amazing how people think they can stuff 100 pounds of crap in a carry on only meant to carry 40 pounds. It’s like a woman who wears her pants two sizes too small. And, what’s with soccer on T.V? I’m still in the states. It’s a Saturday. It’s the FIRST day of college football!!!!!!

It’s not bad being off the grid. I even removed my Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. Like I said before, the phone was for emergencies like murder or suspicion of murder, drug cartels and mafia abductions of the dogs.

I’m certainly not worried about the dogs. They are in good hands thanks to my angel friend, Nancy. Yes, we have the same name. I’m not as angelic as she is. I wish I were, but then I wouldn’t be me, would I?

When Dave returned with the euros, I was disappointed to discover that my $900 was converted to about $600 in euro. WTF? How many espressos can I buy with $600 euros??? Dave and I have a list of things to get on our trip for others:

Jill – Rosary

Nancy – Rosary

Mike at Muldoons – Soccer Scarf

Dave said I’m not allowed to touch the rosary’s since he thinks they will burn my hands.

We are also going to try to get a “selfie” with the Pope.

————————————————————————————————————

We just started our flight – $80 for drinks and mixed “Gourmet Snack Mix” consisting of mini pretzel twists, a bunch of shit I can’t pronounce and of course, no nuts. Then, I witness the obvious: A woman, at least 60 years young, waddling back towards me wearing a Disney t-shirt. Really??? You’re going to Rome, not Orlando, FL. Are you on the right flight, lady?

The flight attendants are kind, but stern. They remind me of my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Hernandez. If there was a procedure to enhance anyone’s rear end, Mrs. Hernandez would be a prime candidate. Also, as I sit as a sardine in my comfy quarters for the next 9 hours, I am really quite comfortable one hour into our flight.

I had ravioli, which for airplane food, wasn’t bad. Dave had chicken with rice. Bad choice. Never order chicken on an airplane. That just spells disaster from a gastronomic point of view. I also taught Dave how to play gin rummy. Yes, not only has he never eaten a PB&J sandwich or a banana, he has never learned how to play gin rummy. He went right from “go fish” to “Go Army.”

We finally arrive in Rome. It’s now September 1st about 9:30 in the morning. Once we get off the plane, the hotel’s instructions were to take the subway. This subway was a sub, sub, sub, subway. We witnessed a girl fighting with a guy right in front of us. I’m not talking yelling here. She was punching and kicking him before she got off the subway before the doors closed. If I had understood her quick Italian, perhaps I could have interpreted. But, me thinks it had something to do with his groping her.

We notice a lot of matching outfits. Men and women in Rome like to dress the same. Not sure why that is, but we saw one couple with black and white striped shirts with alternate color pants. pantomimes? I don’t think so.

Men also wear bright colored pants around here. I told Dave we have them back in the states, it’s just that he hasn’t been out in civilization to go to a freaking mall. But pink? Pink pants? That’s where I draw the line for guys wearing colored pants.

So, this is where the backpacks came in handy. As usual, the directions the hotel gave us sucked. We were walking in circles trying to find the hotel. Everyone we asked for directions said the same thing, “Down two blocks and make a left.” It was hot. The sun was beating down, but we had our backpacks!!!!!

Everyone smokes here. Period.

wineglassesonbarFinally got to our hotel and the room is cool. Very contemporary. Windows open up to a beautiful view of the city. Everything is wireless including the lights. Yes, I clapped to get them to turn on. (kidding). AND, I found our favorite restaurant, Al Cuppolone. I found it in no time flat. Bring on the vino!!!!!!!

 

 

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