I’ve been to Italy.
It’s mid-November and I am sitting here in my bare living room writing as the bigs watch an FC Barcelona soccer game (GO MESSI!!) while Parker plays with a train set a friend loaned us to make the month of camping a bit more tolerable. As I face leaving Germany in a few short weeks I am so thankful I can reflect on that first sentence. I have been to Italy.
The pictures we took on the three cameras are finally compiled and organized by day. We only took one camera but we also took a lot of pictures on our iPhones because sometimes they were easier to get to and, at times, the only reasonable option in a quick moment.
In preparation for our 17-day-long trip we studied a few of the top artists from Italy, men who left an impression on Rome, Italy, and the world at large. To begin our studies I taped four long pieces of paper to the wall and, as we learned information about each artist, we’d add it to the paper. It broke my heart when we had to take those collages off our wall in preparation for our move.
As the time drew nearer for us to actually leave for Italy, I purchased, prepared, and packed over 100 snacks in snack-baggies so that when we needed a treat, it’d be easy to grab and go. (I want to admit here that by the end of the trip, the snacks had sort of lost their flavor. Honey roasted peanuts get bland when sitting in a zip-lock bag for 2 weeks. If you’re really concerned about flavor, buy the prepackaged treats if your trip is going to be that long. I was more concerned with saving money.)
I packed Slimfast for adult breakfasts and poptarts, cereal, and box-milks for kid breakfasts. I packed the small milks for us to carry around each day and the large ones to put in the refrigerator to use while we were in apartments and hotels. I packed all the diapers and wipes we would need as well as extra zip-lock bags. Those are super handy for various reasons.
I had iPods loaded with games, movies, and Rick Steves’ podcasts. I had purchased books at a used bookstore and kept them hidden from the boys until we left. They were chomping at the bits to get a hold of those books during the weeks leading up to the trip, but I held out! When they got in the car the morning we left they had 20 new-to-them books to read! I had a 3-ring binder with dividers separating each of our destinations, with printed tickets inside. This was our “Italy-in-a-binder” that we took extra good care of. It saved us money when the one hostel we stayed at tried to charge me more than we were quoted. I showed them the email confirmation I had printed and the lady apologized and I paid the agreed upon rate. In each section I had: the itinerary for the day, what time we were supposed to be at each destination, hotel and apartment receipts, contact information, and such. Anything I thought I might need, I had printed, hole-punched, and put in the binder.
The one thing I didn’t have prepared, and it seems like such a huge oversight in retrospect, were the GPS addresses for each place. We spent a little time each morning looking for the correct addresses for the day. I had looked them up in the early planning stages when I was figuring out how long it was going to take to get to each destination, but didn’t think to save them.
Other than the GPS issue, we were as prepared as we could be and most of the trip went smoothly.
I look forward to sharing with you the highlights of our trip. After this series is over, you’ll probably have one of three reactions:
- You’ll fall in love with the country and decide you must see it for yourself;
- You’ll feel like you went to Italy yourself and have no need to go;
- You’ll wonder how in the world I got that many blog-posts out of a single trip and wish I had condensed it into three. (About this one, the reason this series is going to be so long is three-fold: because I want to show you as many pictures as I can; because this blog is our family’s journal and I want to write about what we were experiencing; and finally, because I’m scheduling these posts to hit while we’re in the middle of moving overseas. I look forward to sharing what we’ve seen and done and having these hit while I don’t actually have time to sit and write allows me the best of both worlds: sharing our adventures and focusing on my family during our transition.)
What I think we’re doing today:
Today our unaccompanied baggage is picked up. Anything I can live without for a few months is going to be put in this shipment to reduce the amount of luggage we have to take with us on the flights. We will be doing any last-minute touch-up cleaning to the house that we need to do. In order to not mess up the work we’ve put into cleaning the house, we’re going to crash at the Jones B&B tonight. The thought of having to re-clean bathrooms that we had previously marked as “DONE” does not sound fun.