Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Am Alive!

Hey there space cowboys! I am alive and back from Italy, though really only sort of half alive, since for the second vacation in a row the universe has seen to bless me with some horrible food-poisoning-or-something-food-poisoning-ish malady before and/or during and/or after flying home. So instead of kicking off marathon training with a bang on Monday, I spent it mostly lying in bed whimpering, choking down whatever food my stomach didn't immediately reject (as of 5pm: a slice of bread & about 7 Triscuits), & desperately trying to stay hydrated with ginger ale & Gatorade.

Our trip was fantastic, and once I've had some time to go through the absurd quantity of pictures I took on my actual camera, I'll post a few here & there. Meanwhile, below are a few I took on my phone. (Facebook peeps, you've probably already seen most of them).

RELATED: Things I Learned In Italy

  • Don't believe anyone who tells you, "Oh, you don't really have to learn the language, everyone pretty much speaks English anyway." Not. True.
  • Splurge on the nice camera. You will thank yourself.
  • Business class is the *only* way to do international travel. (Thank you, credit card miles!)
  • Cash is king. Preferably in small bills.
  • Pay extra for a small-group tour of the Vatican Museums, Ufizzi, or Academia. Absolutely worth it. (I actually don't think we could have gotten into the Ufizzi at all otherwise.)
  • Don't try to drive in the cities. EVER.
  • Italians don't really do "breakfast" the way we do it here. Something is endearingly lost in translation when they try to do "American breakfast."
  • Bring the most comfortable walking shoes you can find & get your feet in shape before you go. (One word: Cobblestone.)
  • If you go in April/early May, be sure to bring All Teh Layerz.

PICTURES: The Wee-ist Tiniest Fraction:

The afore-mentioned #sexypants business class. Three-course meal from a Michelin chef, champagne/beer/wine/snacks on demand, all the movies/TV you can watch, outlets for all your toys, fully-adjustable, 180-degree lie-flat seats, and complimentary slippers. I am not kidding that I almost did not want to get off the plane.

Piazza Navona in Rome

One of about a thousand gorgeous ceilings in the Vatican Museum

The Colloseum

The House of the Vestals

The Temple of Apollo (or what's left of it)

View from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

Wine tasting in Chianti Classico, Tuscany

Assisi (see "Francis of," ie, the original St. Francis)

The Siena Cathedral, which is in no way done justice by this photo

I read basically no blogs in Italy, so in between laundry, going through the mail, & trying not to die of dehydration, I'm also doing my best to get caught up with all the amazing things you've been up to while I was gone.

That's all for now. I am absolutely DYING for a run, so hopefully my body will cooperate today or tomorrow & I will have something to blog about related to running.

19 comments:

  1. I am so jealous of your vacation! I went to Rome and Pompeii on a high school Latin class trip back in the day and while we got to see a lot of sites, we weren't allowed to do much wandering on our own (which was maybe for the best). And we definitely didn't get to fly business class!

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    1. Oh you MUST go as a grown up! Must must must.

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  2. Wow those are some great pics! That plane flight looked awesome haha. I've heard so many good things about Cinque Terra. Looks like you hit all the best places in Italy.

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    1. Heh, we tried. I think we did a fairly good job for three weeks. :)

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  3. My parents went to Rome, etc. last month, so between you and them and all of your pictures, I am having major travel envy. So amazing! Do you mind sharing which credit card you use to rack up those points. I'm looking into one for the sole purpose of getting to ride in the fancy section of an airplane to Europe. Hope you feel better soon!

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    1. Ah, yes....It was the Alaska Airlines card, but I do have to warn you that we've given up using it as the primary card specifically because it is just so much trouble to use the reward miles. To get these tickets, we had to book them a year in advance & spend 2 hours on the phone with AA to find two tickets there & back in business class, & as it was, they could only get us to London on the way there. (We had to buy our own cattle class tickets to Rome from there, though this was partly because apparently Rome is one of the hardest cities in the world to book reward travel into.) AND, about a month before the trip, they called to say that the route we were booked on for the return had been cancelled (SURPRISE!), so we had to re-book that flight for two days later. (So yay for 2 extra days in Italy; boo for having to go to work ~12 hours after a 19 hour travel day.) Now we're using the Barclay card for travel stuff, but we've only had it a few months, so we'll see how that one works out.

      All that said, the Alaska Airlines card actually *is* worth having just for the once-per-year $99 companion airfare ticket it comes with (ie, book a plane ticket & get another ticket on the same flight for $99 -- we used it for Hawaii last fall & typically use it for holiday travel otherwise).

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  4. Great pictures, must have been an awesome trip (except for the food poisoning). I love Italy, it's such a special place, so beautiful, interesting, and different than anywhere else.

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    1. It was so amazing. I'm so glad we did it. :)

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  5. Welcome back! More photos please! And get well soon.

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    1. Feeling much better now! :)

      I am slowly working my way through photos--I'll definitely post more in the future!

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  6. Dude, most of the people in Italy speak English; they just don't WANT to with tourists.

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    1. True for some; definitely not true for all. Especially once you get out of the big cities.

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  7. Welcome back - hope you feel better soon! T-14 hours till we take off for Rome - your pictures are making me ridiculously excited. Did you happen to get a prepaid phone/ data SIM card while you were there, and did it work as expected?

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    1. Definitely feeling much better now!

      For phone/data, we borrowed an unlocked smart phone & then bought a SIM card in Rome. We honestly didn't shop around much, but the one we got was like 40 Euro from Vodafone for unlimited data & enough phone time that it was functionally unlimited (we barely made any calls). Definitely MUCH cheaper than getting a month of international data on our regular phones through AT&T! It worked perfectly & the only issue we had was that apparently that the phone occasionally asks you to re-enter the SIM card code, & the first time it did that, we didn't have the code with us so we were stuck without a phone that day. After that we just carried it with us all the time.

      The greatest thing about the unlimited data through the SIM card is that you can use GPS & navigation for driving / walking, & use Trip Advisor on the fly for recommendations on restaurants, etc. We used it A LOT & it worked great!

      Have a great time!! I'm sure it will be awesome. :)

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    2. Thanks! The prepaid phone card is now basically essential for traveller sanity, and it's incredible how much easier life is with one!

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  8. Epic shots! May the return to training be a fruitful one !

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  9. Welcome back! Thanks for sharing the photos (both on FB and here) - and looking forward to seeing more! I haven't been in Italy in 15 years, but I totally agree with you on all of your "Things I learned in Italy". Well, except for the business class thing, because I had just graduated from college and we were totally doing budget style traveling.

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    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed them! I'm very slowly working my way through the rest, so hopefully you'll get to see them someday. ;)

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