We had wanted to vacation together in Italy for years. We had each been there, but not together. Chris had gone on business, and she hadnít really had any time to see sights. Dale had been there for five weeks in December 1984 and January 1985. After almost twenty years, he was sure the place had changed. Besides, it would be nice to stay in nice hotels and see it in better weather than the bitter winter he had experienced.
We started making plans in February 2004. We thought about spending three weeks in a country villa outside Florence, but we were afraid we would run out of things to do. Additionally, Chris really wanted to see the museums in Florence, so we decided it would be better to stay in the city. We contacted a travel agent to recommend hotels and itineraries. She suggested a cruise, and Chris brought home a catalogue of cruise routes and schedules. We decided a cruise that went from Rome to Venice would be good. Once we knew the date of the cruise, we planned the rest of the trip. We would fly into Venice and take a train to Florence the next day. After five days in Florence, we would take a train to Rome and stay there two nights. That would get us to our cruise departure point on time. After the one-week cruise, we would spend another two days in Venice.
The travel agent took care of the cruise arrangements, but we were able to find better hotel deals on Expedia.com.
Dale's sister, Theresa, and her husband, Christian, were planning a trip to Europe about the same time as us. We sent them our itinerary, and they planned their trip so that we would overlap in Venice, Florence, and Rome. We would find out later (through Theresa) that Orbitz.com has better hotel deals than Expedia.
During our trip, Mike, a friend of ours, stayed at our house.
For communication ease, Dale purchased a pre-paid cellular account from Telestial before we left home. The account was with an Italian carrier, and it gave us decent rates for calls within Italy and back to the United States. The account came in the form of a SIM chip that we put into a GSM phone (a
Handspring PalmOne Treo) that also contained our address book and calendar data. The account cost $50, and Dale expected most of that to be in the form of airtime. It turned out to be mostly not. When he activated the phone in Italy, it had only €5 (about $6.15) of credit on it.
While we were traveling, Dale kept a journal. Click on the dates below to see the journal for that day.
|4 September 2004||In Transit|
|5 September 2004||In flight and Venice|
|6 September 2004||Venice and Florence|
|7 September 2004||Florence|
|8 September 2004||Florence|
|9 September 2004||Florence|
|10 September 2004||Florence|
|10 September 2004||Florence|
|11 September 2004||Florence to Rome|
|12 September 2004||Rome|
|13 September 2004||Rome, Civitavecchia, Cruise|
|14 September 2004||Sorrento|
|15 September 2004||Sorrento|
|16 September 2004||Naxos|
|17 September 2004||At sea|
|18 September 2004||Dubrovnik, Croatia|
|19 September 2004||At sea, Arrival in Venice|
|20 September 2004||Venice|
|21 September 2004||Venice|
|22 September 2004||Venice to San Francisco|