Hello from Eindhoven - where we are just now getting temperatures over 60 - spring has arrived! The tree outside my window is getting little buds on the limbs and are sure to be full of leaves when we return from Italy. Seeing some sunshine and warmer weather has definitely improved our family's morale. We have not experienced the suntan-worthy, 80+ degree spring in Indiana but, after weeks of gray, wet weather, we are really welcoming this "balmy" 62!
Tomorrow we leave at 5:30am to board a plane for Milan Italy. (would you like to help me get 2 teens out of bed at that hour? Didn't think so) We will go by train from Milan to Lucca, a small, historic city outside of Florence. I can not wait to fly on the airline here. It is a bare-bones operation and I am hoping that the seat they give me comes with a seat belt. Speaking of seating, it is unassigned seating so I guess there will be a mad rush across the tarmac to see who gets to the best seats first. I'd better wear my tennis shoes for all that sprinting.
It is also interesting that all passengers are required to print off their boarding pass ahead of time. If you fail to do this and you make the ticket counter clerk do that nasty job for you, it costs 55 Euros. Also, you may bring one piece of carry-on luggage and that one piece includes a briefcase, a purse, a small dog or paperback book. If you dare to bring any of those extra things, you'd better be able to stuff them in the carry-on luggage. (poke holes for the dog) Wait! It gets even better! The carry-on must not be any bigger than 22"x16"x8". Check those dimensions on your home yard stick - that is one itty-bitty suitcase to hold everything for 9 days of travel. Can you say disposable underwear? Looking for the humor in these international traveling situations, I continued reading the 2 pages of rules that the airline sent us. I was so amused that the airline stipulates that, not only do you have to fit everything into a suitcase the size of a purse, the rules demand of passengers that "there will be NO pooling of luggage contents!" That means that if Jim miraculously has a bit of space in his backpack, I can't put any of my belongings in that space. Will there be Pooling Police at the gate? I thought about putting a pair of heels in Jim's backpack but I knew we would be busted on that one. The Pooling Police would probably force him to attempt to get the shoes on to prove he was innocent of pooling. That would be so humiliating and not a good way to start a vacation. Plus, Jim just does not look good in heels.
After 3 days in Lucca, we will travel by train to Venice (the most absolutely, best, most beautiful city in the world) for 3 days. We will actually be in Venice for Grace's 16th birthday - we anticipate a wonderful celebration for her that she will always remember. (gondolas anyone?) Then, we travel by train from Venice to Verona for our last 2 days. We plan on taking a Shakespeare tour while we are in Verona so that should be super special for this die hard fan of Romeo and Juliet.
Since Katie could live on spaghetti, she was quite excited when we informed her that she will be in the pasta capital of the world, where spaghetti is eaten at just about every meal as an appetizer. Her idea of heaven. We may be rolling her out to the plane at the end of the trip. Hope I can manage that as well as run for a seat on the plane.
Arrivederci! (That's Italian for, "I never pool belongings.")