Last night we arrived home from our two and a half weeks in Italy and this morning it is really setting in that I am heading back to work for the first time in 9 weeks.
We had a wonderful trip – all the big pieces fell into place – the flights were on time, the car rental was there, all of our rentals worked out, and the weather was absolutely perfect for the entire time. It really made going in September worthwhile, I cannot imagine touring around in the heat of the summer.
I hope to do a series of posts over the next couple of weeks about the four different areas we visited – Rome, Umbria, Tuscany and Cinque Terre.
Of course we experienced some hiccups along the way, not understanding the local way of doing things, not comprehending the language and generally just making silly mistakes that you do while traveling but none of these had any real consequences. However, it did lead us to come up with a few lessons from Italy.
1. Cash is king. You can never have enough cash to pay for things. Even if a restaurant or hotel says they take credit cards, more than likely their machine ‘just broke yesterday.’ It got to be comical how many times we heard this.
2. Make reservations. Some things in Italy seem so freewheeling but it is necessary to have reservations for any tours or for dinner. We had a couple of instances where we walked into completely empty restaurants to be told there were no seats because they were all reserved.
3. Buy train tickets in advance. You can always validate the tickets up to 60 days later for regional trains. The less times you have to use a Trenitalia ticket machine, the better your life will be. This is particularly true when standing in a line behind people who are seemingly baffled by a touchscreen.
4. Go with the flow. This is true on any trip but there were a few things that just made no sense (such as where to return our rental car, or why you can’t buy the amount of cheese you would want) but at a certain point there is nothing to do but shrug and move on.
Another great trip but it was equally great to be back in our own bed last night. Those little euro beds just don’t quite work for my frame!