Sunday, June 25, 2017

Italy-Day 1-2--Getting there

Epic Italy Trip--2017
How did this epic trip come about? Well, you may recall that we essentially promised each of our kids a Senior trip. Lissa really wanted to go to Italy, despite me dangling Japan in front of her, and when our friend Star bought herself and Sophie tickets to Italy during an awesome Black Friday sale, we all piled on. Our group consisted of: Casey, Lissa, and me (Songers), Rex, Jenny, and Megan (Harrises), Star and Sophie (Primms), and Jan and Hannah (Hubbards).

I will skip over the meetings and the hours of pre-planning and planning. In the end Casey basically had to cut through our mob-think to do the organizing and he bought all the tickets for venues, etc. When you travel it's nice to have someone like Casey along.

We left Utah Monday morning and got to Rome Tuesday night. Why does it take so long to get from here to Italy? Well it's 5,748 miles away. And we had to go to Los Angeles first, which is in the wrong direction. And we stopped in Dusseldorf on the way. So yeah, getting there is not half the fun. It's a pain.
But did these girls have fun anyway? Yes they did.

And Star bought them Kinder Eggs. The kind that are illegal in the U.S. (Because children in the U.S. cannot be trusted not to choke on the toy inside the egg, apparently.)

We left the morning of May 29, after giving Rosalie her traditional birthday breakfast in bed.

Yes, we left on her birthday. Did we hear about it from her, despite taking her on a birthday date on Saturday and giving her all her presents plus cake and ice cream and grandparents on Sunday? Yes we did.

I don't sleep well on planes. Except that one time we were in business class seats that turned into beds. Those would have cost around a $1000 dollars more and were just not worth it. Especially considering that we'd be getting to Rome around 10 pm Tuesday and going to bed again.
I did try a new thing that worked better than anything else I've tried: I tied my head to the headrest with a scarf. Yeah, it looked awesome. But no head falling forward to snap me awake every few minutes. Those travel neck pillows never worked so well for me.

We had arranged for a company to pick us up at the airport so that we wouldn't have to hassle with inflated taxi fares. It took a few minutes to connect with them but then we divided into two vans and drove through the city to our two flats. The driver pointed out sights to us as we passed (the lit-up dome of St. Peter's, the Castello San Marco) but it honestly meant little to me at that point. The vans had to let us off a few hundred feet away from our doors because they were in a pedestrian zone. It was dark and disorienting for me that night, but by day we realized what a cool little corner we were in.

Our rental manager led us through the smaller flat first. We went through a street door and then down a hallway toward an open courtyard with (am I remembering this right?) statuary(!). But before we reached that we turned (and ducked) left through another door, down a couple of steps, and then up more steps and through a final door. Hubbards and Primms stayed there. Above is a view of their window from the street.
Our flat was around the corner to the left of this through an outside door, then a hallway and stairs and then the flat door which opened by turning the key around 5 full rotations, with a heavy click on each turn.
This is a view of our other flat, by daylight.

Beginning a theme for us in Italy, the air conditioning didn't work. When we tried to turn it higher, the fuse would blow. But the windows cooled us pretty well for the three nights we were there. (I think Casey would disagree with me on this.) Casey wore ear plugs after the seagull mewling in the air shaft woke us up several times that first night. I relied on my old trick of sleeping on one ear while an audio book played in the other. It was a non-fiction account of the men who worked to save the art of Italy during World War 2. Put me right out.