Trip to a slower pace

Trip to a slower pace

Monday, May 31, 2004

I continue to look into tours for the Vatican & Christian Catacombs in Rome. Now, I'm also thinking an Ancient Rome walking tour would be just the thing for the kid. We have been to the ancient sites but did not have a tour guide the last two times we were there and the kid always has alot of questions, so ask away.

The kid really enjoyed Pompeii and the Ancient Greece trip, so Rome should be of equal interest, I believe.

Decided my Ecco walking shoes are broken in enough to wear this year and decided to buy a good pair of walking sandals...Clarks, Mephissos (sp), Ecco or something like that... I don't shop in town much...went to the mall...which I detest doing...and the store was gone! So on the weekend we needed to go to Toronto to look at a condo and I searched luck! I can't wear the sandals I bought last year, as they were the ones I was wearing when I twisted my ankle on my way to the Sorrento webcam. The Italian ladies were just shaking their heads at me...wearing those kind of sandals on cobblestones...they were Reider (sp) made in Germany walking sandals.
Maybe I'll try again this weekend.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Arranging a tour through the Vatican & Christian Catacombs in Rome....

Well it hasn't been easy...trying to do this. I read other people's thoughts and suggestions on tours through various sites in Rome and came to the conclusion that since it is the kid's first time in Rome a tour is a must.

So, I researched some possibilities and emailed one.

I really haven't done much else except read message boards and trip reports since I made my "to do" list. I have an is very, very busy and I had to go to Toronto last weekend to put the air conditioner in my son's apartment...well, actually my husband did that part, while I shopped and visited. This weekend I have to go to Toronto again to look at condos with the other kid, and do some more shopping if there is time. Then home to do more work for work in the evening.

I've been reading my new Eyewitness book to Rome and the one to Tuscany and picturing myself sitting on that red lounge chair at La Costa in Montefollonico sipping red wine.

Well, I understand La Costa has reduced rates for July and August, so I'm off to compare, as I booked it in February.....wonder if the price went down???

Saturday, May 22, 2004


We would like to arrange for a walking tour of the Vatican and Christian Catacombs. I'm getting ready to look into this.

Also, we will call to reconfirm our hotels/apartments and make sure they are guaranteed with the right credit card. We had a similar problem again this spring where we had to have the credit card cancelled and reissued because there were charges on it that were not ours. This happened right after booking our hotels/apartments in Italy. The same thing happened to us last year after booking our hotels in Italy. We had German Casino charges on it! Visa was right on top of it. They recognized that it was something we would not be using our Visa for.

Another thing we will arrange this weekend is our transportation from the Rome airport to our apartment at the Spanish Steps. We'll try the apartment's service.

Friday, May 14, 2004

I've just been browsing through my favourites...saved when I started planning this trip to Italy for July 2004.

The apartments and hotels we've chosen still look appealing to me and I've started the count down...7 weeks tomorrow is when we leave for Rome!

We will contact all the apartment and hotels again before the trip to make sure everything is as expected...we definately want air conditioning in the cities and I believe the place in Tuscany has ceiling fans.

It is cooler in Italy than it is here in Canada at the moment...we went from winter to hot, humid, summer-like weather this week.

Even though I have several guides for each area we are visiting, I'm planning a very flexible schedule that we can easily change to our liking. I don't expect to see and do everything, as we initially considered. We are going to enjoy our time just being there, but of course the ancient sites in Rome are a must again.

Oh, a cooking class was one of the things I wanted to do for a day, but that isn't working out so I'll do it next time. July is not the month I want to be in a kitchen anyway. Maybe I'll get to go to Italy in the spring or fall in two years when I retire and that would be a better time for it.

More later...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Other things to do before we go:

1) Reconfirm the hotels and apartments

2) Reconfirm the car pick up and drop off locations

3) Renew the International Driver's License

4) Book a walking tour/guide for Rome sites

5) Arrange airport transportation

6) Research each area we know what we want to see and how to get there

7) Reconfirm flights and seats

8) Narrow down our choices on what hilltowns we will go to in Tuscany

9) Research which wine tour we would like to take

10) Organize notes I printed out for restaurant and site recommendations
The next thing we need to do is find out our flight times and arrange airport transportation for Toronto and for Rome. Last year we used and were pleased with it. A person holding a sign with our name on it outside the baggage claim area in Rome took us to the van. We were the only ones in it, but there could have been other passengers. It worked out well and was reasonable.

This year the apartment manager has told us to let him know our flight details and he will send a driver to pick us up. We are considering this. It sounds okay to us and this year we know where we are going.

Well, I guess it is 7 weeks before we leave for Italy!

It's coming up pretty fast, since we are so busy at work. This is the same for both of us. The kid however, is taking a summer session course before we go, starting next week and ending the last week of June.

I actually start my holidays a week before we leave for Italy, so I'll have plenty of time to pack......planning on packing light this year and taking that huge duffle bag I bought at the Mountain Coop store last year, rolled up in my husband's suitcase so we will have space to bring back beautiful things from Italy.

Well the look of the blog has changed tonight! What a surprise. I'll write a little bit and see if it publishes.


The next job we have to do is decide on what specific sites we want to see in Rome, our first destination. We also need to decide if we want to book a guide for walking tours of the Vatican and maybe some of the ancient sites/catacombs. I think this would be a good idea.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Resources: Travel Guides....

National Geographic Traveler Italy
Frommer's Italy
Tuscany & Umbria's Best-Loved Driving Tours
Fodor's City Packs: Venice
Rome's Best
Florence's Best
Eyewitness Top 10 Tuscany
Born to Shop Italy
In Tuscany
The Most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany
Chow! Venice Restaurant Guide

Travel Notes....

Zak from recommendation list
TuscanWomenCook....notes on what to see in the area surrounding Montefollonico
La Costa Hotel & Gourmet Restaurant....notes on area and small towns to visit
Slow Travel Notes by Pauline and members on what to see and do in Tuscany
Diva's notes about dining in Florence
My Journal from last year's trip to Italy including Rome, Florence and Venice.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


We leave for Rome in 8 weeks!!!

I have moved my travel blog from the previous site to write only about Italy...2004.

Our kids have travelled with us pretty well twice a year since they were born until just recently when their schedules did not suit our travel arrangements.

This July we are taking one of our kids to Italy. This will be the kid's second trip to Italy ... as all of us went to Naples and Pompeii on a previous trip, a few years ago.

The flight was booked in December with Skyservice out of Toronto. Into Rome, out of Venice...first class seats!

No stops.

We still need to make arrangements for transportation from the Rome airport to the apartment by the Spanish Steps. We are staying at an apartment I saw on the Slow Travel Venere site...
This apartment is in the same building we stayed at last year, but occupies a different floor. It is air conditioned and suitable for 3 adults. It has a small kitchen which we'll use a bit, I suppose.

We will stay in Rome first, hoping to show the kid everything possible. Well, we thought we'd take a much slower pace this year and enjoy the Italian culture.