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Travel stuff

Our passports arrived in the mail over the weekend, so now we can legally move from country to country. It's nice to have them in our hands so we don't have to worry any more. Our flight leaves Logan six weeks from today. Wow.

I looked up our seats for the various flights. For three of the legs - Boston to Toronto, Toronto to Rome, and then, on the way back, Toronto to Boston, Sarah and I are sitting in a pair of side seats, which is great. For the return Rome to Toronto flight, though, we're stuck in the center of the plane separated by a seat. I imagine whoever's in that seat won't mind trading with one of us, so at least we'll be sitting together, but we won't get the delicious window views. Oh well.

In a few weeks I have to remember to go to the bank and get some Euros so that we won't have to worry about hunting down an ATM for the first day or two we're there.

A while ago I asked here for suggestions on good walking shoes, and after trying on a bunch of different ones (thanks, everyone!) settled on a pair of Naot shoes that are very comfortable and have good arch support. I've spent plenty of time walking around in them and they feel quite nice, with no chafing or soreness like other (cheaper) shoes I've had.

I also asked for suggestions on good travel jackets, but most people said having lots of pockets is just a good way to invite lots of pickpockets, so I've decided against that. I have been trying to, uh, nice-up my wardrobe a bit. Visiting Italy, the land of high fashion, makes me want to be able to dress nicely. Working from home as I do isn't conducive to having a classy wardrobe.

My friend ghira from the U.K. is a fluent Italian speaker, and he's been incredibly helpful in providing me with material for my studies. I have a pile about a foot high of various books, newspapers, magazines and DVDs he's sent for me to practice with. Someday, when I'm fluent, I'll have to send these things along to someone else who's just getting started. I still have lots of trouble understanding spoken Italian, but I expect if people speak slowly and use simple words I'll be able to follow them. My reading comprehension is a better, and I'll probably be able to decipher most signs, menus, etc.

Sarah and I have a giant list of all the things we want to do, but we have yet to sit down and orrganize them into actual itineraries. She's been really busy with her student librarianship, but that'll be over in another two weeks, and then we'll have lots of time to work out all the details.

Google Maps doesn't have roadmap information for Italy, but it does have really nice satellite photography. Here are some pretty things to look at that we will be visiting:
Lucca, Italy
That green border is the city walls, which are covered by and surrounded with beautiful gardens. You can walk or bike along the walls, which are about two miles around.
Il Campo, Pisa
Il Campo is the big open field containing the Leaning Tower of Pisa (on the left there). It's pretty much the only thing we're interested in seeing in Pisa.
Hotel Caravaggio, Florence
Dead-center in this image is the hotel we'll be staying at, on the south corner of the Piazza Dell'Independenza.
Il Duomo, Florence
This is Il Duomo, which dominates the Florentine skyline and is pretty much the biggest landmark in Florence.

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
markm
Mar. 20th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
> Il Campo is the big open field containing the Leaning Tower of Pisa (on the left there). It's pretty much the only thing we're interested in seeing in Pisa.
Aw man. There's lots of stuff to see in Pisa. Yeah, if you've only got a few hours, that should be top on your list. But if you've got time to spend, at least go see the Medici Palace or at least at least one of the museums that's right in the Piazza dei Miracoli where the leaning tower is.
rfreebern
Mar. 20th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
I was basing our "short visit to Pisa" on Rick Steves' advice, although nothing's set in stone. If we feel like spending more time there, we might take you up on one of your suggestions. But right now, we were just kind of considering Pisa as a nice stop on the way to spend most of the day in Lucca.
pididdle
Mar. 20th, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
Getting a passport is great. There is just this realization that you are free to go pretty much anywhere in the world with a simple little book.

I hope your trip is great.
rfreebern
Mar. 20th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah! I've never had a passport before. I've been to Canada, but that doesn't (right now) require one. I'm excited!
isquiesque
Mar. 20th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an incredible trip. I can't wait to make it myself one of these days... I might be the person who prods you for all those Italian study guides! Have a great time, and we look forward to hearing ALL about it!
rfreebern
Mar. 20th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
I'll gladly share study materials with you. Eventually, everyone on the mud can become fluent in Italian.

We're bringing the laptop along, so hopefully we'll be able to provide regular photo-dumps and perhaps brief posts keeping everyone updated while we're there. But there will definitely be a lot more to tell when we get back!
allypopsicle
Mar. 20th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
my mom gave me this little travel booklet thing that had stuff about numbers and places (like types of stores, etc.) be confident! most of the stuff we needed to know we picked up by signs and knowing une and dua (one and two) to order things. hehe. :) also, specify which water or they will give you gross fizzy water. hehe.


XOXO
rfreebern
Mar. 20th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about what it's like to travel there. I think I'm ready to deal with just about anything now! And I think at this point I can probably ask for directions, order food, etc. without too much trouble, which will most likely be enough to get us by for now.

Sarah likes fizzy water! I think she's weird. I will order acqua del rubinetto, which is tap water.
rringram
Mar. 20th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
Hey! Are you in Toronto for long? When? Maybe we can meet up for lunch or something.
rfreebern
Mar. 20th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
I think the layover's only an hour or two at most... not really enough time for us to get out of the airport and back in afterwards. Too bad! It would be neat to meet up with you.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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