Tag Archives: Italy

April 9-10 –Going home

Once at the CDG airport we were pretty tired. Our luggage had gone through to LAX so we only had our carry on’s and large purses, but that was plenty. Unwilling to search for the shuttle to the hotel we grabbed a cab. The travel agency said the Marriot was closest to the airport, but we passed several on the way, including a Sheraton which is actually attached to the airport. At least it was only a 20E ride and about 15 minutes. The Marriott was lovely with the softest beds and pillows, ever. When we checked in I realized my Visa card was gone, so I had Terry cancel it. I am pretty sure I left it in a machine at the Genoa Airport. We watched TV and caught the finale of Britain’s The Voice and then slept hard till morning.

We had coffee and caught the 8am bus for our 10:30 departure. The airport security was miles long and they decided my bag was too heavy. As Carolyn continued I had to go way back to turn in my bag. Good news, because it was a connecting flight there was no charge. Back at the first check point, they let me thru a shortcut and then I was on my way to find Carolyn. The lines were all moving so slow that I actually caught up to her. We boarded promptly and took off on time. Carolyn had bought some more gifts at the airport. On the plane, we were in the bulkhead with a man in the seat between us. Oh well, I am not sitting in the middle, so that’s the way it goes.

We had some ok food, chicken and cous cous and other stuff I ignored. I would really love a sweet right now, but have none.

My wonderful Bose ear buds ran out of charge and the noise on the plane seems so much more awful than normal, since I had a couple of hours of relative silence. I watched the Good Dinosaur, which I though was cute. It is a simple adventure story, no reason for the critics to be so harsh.

I ended up watching animated films all the way home. I did find ice cream bars when I walked around the planes kitchen. I got one each for me, Carolyn, and our seat partner. I also got coffee for all of us. Carolyn and I later spent some time in the kitchen stretching our legs and being entertained by a charming baby named Santiago.

Landing at LAX was quick but getting off the plane took a long time. Most people waited their turn, but some people shoved forward. We had to go thru customs, I was able to text Terry once before customs area blocked all cell use. The line was long but moved fairly quickly. It was interesting to see how the custom officers talked with some people a long time and just gave a quick nod to others. There was a large high school group on our plan and lots of overexcited parents waiting for them. The parents behaved as if the kids were being released from a kidnapping situation, lol. We finally got through and found all of our suitcases. Terry was waiting for us outside, he went to get the car while we waited curbside. The place was packed and it was frustrating for Terry to get to us. LAX is just too big and too messy.

We dropped Carolyn off and when we got home I managed to stay awake until 5:30, then I was out until morning.

All in all, a good trip, interesting sights cool souvenirs.

An Unexpected Outing

March 28 An Unexpected Outing

Savona, while charming, is small and we saw most of it yesterday so it was with relief that we made arrangements with Davide, our driver from the airport, to go on an excursion. Carolyn thought going to Milan and Lake Como would be great, so that’s what we did.

We set the alarm for 7 but woke up on our own. We went to the complimentary breakfast, wow! There was a hug assortment of food. Many different breads, muffins, hard boiled eggs, some fruit, sliced meats and cheese and lettuce and tomatoes. There were also many dessert type pastries. We both enjoyed ourselves. I had a hard boiled egg and several pieces of crusty French bread with jam. I also had coffee with hot milk. Carolyn made a little sandwich and also had some hard boiled egg. Our view was of the gardens and the sea, so lovely, even with rain coming down.

We went back to the room to gather everything we needed and met Davide in the lobby at 9am. Then we were off.

We decided to drive to Lake Como first and get to Milan on the way back. We drove for almost 4 hours. Along the way there was an accident. Davide slowed to ask the people if they were ok, they said yes, and then as we drove along he called the police to report it. Chances are they were tourists and I am sure that was helpful. He is a very kind man.

Soon after we and arrived at Lake Como in a drizzling rain.

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Davide showed us where to go and also where he would be. He sat happily in his car watching a movie on his ipad while we strolled around.

First thing was a trip to the bathroom and a coffee. This was accomplished at a small, outdoor café. No toilet paper. Oh well.

Then we took pictures of the Caduti Monument on the edge of the lake. It is a modern looking monument commemorating Como’s fallen of WW1, constructed in 1931 in a futuristic style and at 33 metres high is an imposing monument. We took some pictures and then walked over to the lakes edge.

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It occurred to Carolyn that perhaps we could get a boat tour of the homes on the lake. We walked along the harbor and asked around and then found a water taxi that would take us on a 30 minute tour. The cost was 50E each, and we were fine with that. The tour was very nice and we saw many of the beautiful homes. Unfortunately George and the others live far away on the lake on a private road and were too far for the boat to go. We enjoyed our ride anyway.

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Back on shore we headed back to the car, stopping to look at anything that caught our interest. There was a very well done European Resistance Memorial. This monument to the European Resistance Movement is dedicated to the many Europeans who were condemned to death – it comprises stones from the Nazi extermination camps and the tragedy of Hiroshima. We got several pictures but could find nothing in English.

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We walked and took pictures and ended up at a beautiful little building called the Volta Temple. The entire building is dedicated to the life and works of Alessandro Volta. He died in 1827 and the temple was built in 1928 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of his death. Volta was a great physicist and invented many things most notably the electric battery. It is a lovely building with excellent displays.

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We next returned to Davide and headed for Milan.

When we arrived in Milan, we were a little disappointed. It was not much to look at. Davide took us to the big shopping area known as Corso Venezia. We wandered about, but honestly, we could see the same, perhaps better, at South Coast Plaza. We did get gelatos, I got chocolate and Carolyn got chocolate chip. It was very cold, but so worth it. We stopped at a restroom in a place where the lower floor, known here as -1 level was like some odd hipster version of a Parisian Club without the smoke and booze, instead there were fraps and gelatos. Crazy man, crazy.

We next found a store called the HIGHLINE outlet. It was pretty cool, with designer seconds at very low prices. Carolyn tried very hard to love one of the Valentino purses (80E) but they just did not suit. I found that there is a designer who designs purses, shoes and wallets just for me. Each is inscribed “RB”. I bought a pretty Robin’s egg blue wallet with my initials on it.

We were pretty much done by now, so we stopped at an ATM to get more Euros. It was difficult to get into the locked ATM building, but we somehow figured it out. Once inside we each got 250E on our debit cards. Then we went to find David, waiting and watching his movie. He suggested we might want to eat before we left and we agreed. We went to a charming Panini Restaurant. Carolyn had a Madrus Panini which had turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese and curry sauce and almonds. The roll was warm and crusty. I had smoked salmon on warm crusty bread. I also took one look at someone’s table with French fries and ordered them. The sandwiches were awesome and the fries were delicious and shaped to make a little boat for scooping ketchup. YUM!!!! Lunch was about 35E with tip.

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Davide was parked nearby and we were more than ready to come to the hotel. We got back about 6:20. We took some pictures with Davide, who we had become very fond of. We paid Davide 210E each, and well worth it. All together we spent 260E on a faboulous day! (Food does not count, one must eat). We were sorry to say goodbye to Davide, he was wonderful!

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We are now back in our room, in our PJ’s, tired and happy and looking forward to boarding the ship tomorrow.

Carolyn says; “I finally checked Lake Como and Milan off my bucket list, hooray hooray, it was a fantastic day. Rain, fog and all.”

A Day In Savona

March 27 Adventures

Once we were all dressed and ready we went to find food. Out the back of the hotel (we are on the street side) we were directed to a small building on the beach side where we could order food. We had a tasty gnocchi and more breadsticks than we needed. We also had coffee and water. The service and view were terrific, a pretty, windowed room and a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean Sea. This hotel is pretty spectacular and the price is so reasonable. In the US it would easily be $500 a night, but here we are paying 119E. A quick trip back to the room and then with coats and cameras, we were ready to go out. It was about 1:30.

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Our room with pretty blue lights. Nice and big!

We decided to take a cab to the center of town. It was 15E. Once there, we were able to visit the small Sistine Chaple. It is very pretty, not very small. We each lit a candle and then strolled around admiring the art and the sculptures. Because of the holiday, the entire  chapel area was not all open, but we enjoyed what we did see.

Then we walked to the huge, ancient Priamar Fortress. It was built in 1542 and is an amazing place, crumbling façade and stone walkways. It is also a museum, but today is Easter Sunday and the museum, and almost the entire town was closed. We walked all around the fortress and up on a few of the higher towers. Once we were back outside we also took pictures of the ruins of the monastery that used to be there as well as a few modern sculptures on the lawn. We enjoyed this very much, the oldness of the area is wonderful. We also saw, from the top of the fortress a COSTA cruise ship, so we now know that our ship will be very close when the hotel takes us on Tuesday.

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Carolyn’s hand pointing at a COSTA ship docked nearby.

 

Once we had looked to our hearts content, we crossed the street to have a coffee in Pizzeria Restorante, which must get many tourists but they speak no English. Of course, that’s fine, this is their country after all. I had an espresso, OMG, never again! Carolyn ordered the lemon gelato and we shared it. It was light and creamy and for a bowl they used an actual lemon. We also shared some water.

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We wanted to take a bus back, save a bit of money but were not sure where to catch the bus. I approached a table to ask if anyone spoke English. There were 6 people at the table and the young couple said they spoke a little. Carolyn took photos as they all gathered around the table, looked at our (useless map) and began a very long discussion in Italian with much disagreement. I finally said maybe we should taxi. The young man, who was somewhat bemused by his 5 female companions and their desire to talk about a bus for a long time, said, “good idea!” It was all not much help, but seriously fun.

We paid for our snack, it was 10E and tipped 2E. Then we began to walk in a suggested direction. We were worried about it getting dark and when we passed by an emergency ambulance place, we asked if they could get us a taxi and they were very nice and did so. When the cab came we told him our hotel and off we went. Though we were much closer this one cost 20E. We knew we were being ripped off, but by now did not care.

We stopped at the desk to get our key (we leave it when we go out) and are relaxing in our room with coffee. The balcony door is open to cool off this room and we are content. Later we will eat in the hotel restaurant. Much later because it does not open until 8pm. Our choices are limited because though we are on a nice beach, there is nothing nearby. In California the road by the beach and hotels would be filled with restaurants!

At about 7:55 we went to the Hotel Bistro to eat. They asked us is we had a reservation, we said no, after a long discussion in Italian they sat us at one of the “fish tables”. We were offered a menu in English and took it. The prices were extremely reasonable. Carolyn got a vegetable soup and I had stuffed anchovies. We also had a large plate of delicious bread. The soup was the best she has had in a long time.  My anchovies were fried and yummy, but tasted like any random fish, not salty at all. We also had sparkling water. It was 16E for the meal.Turns out the regular restaurant, which we did not think was open due to language confusion, had prices well beyond 16E, so we are glad we missed it.

(photos coming)

We are back in our pretty room, in our jammies, comfortable and ready for our exciting day tomorrow. We will leave for Lake Como at 9 in the morning. We plan on having breakfast first.

Carolyn says “beautiful city, so nice being back in Italy again.” Hope everyone enjoyed Easter. I did, I am licking chocolate off my fingers right now.”

More tomorrow……………….

Sovana Italy – March 27

March 26-27

The flight to Genoa was quick and easy, the plane had about 100 passengers. The attendant brought us a sandwich, I did not take one. Carolyn had one, she said the flavor was crap and cheese. Also, we were not seated together, that was odd but ok. Carolyn was next to a nice young man and I sat next to a young college student doing math homework! The horror.

I called Davide, our driver when we got to luggage and he assured me he was waiting outside. Our luggage, which Carolyn was sure would never arrive since it had not stayed with us, but gone straight thru from LA. However, it was all safely on the carrousel. We rented a cart (1 E here, $5 in US) and went to find our ride, but first customs.Going through customs was like being checked as you leave Costco, no real scrutany.

Davide was indeed waiting for us, holding a ipad that said O’Dell on it. He was very nice and drove a shiny, black Mercedes van. We talked about our time here and have arranged to have him take us to Milan and Lake Como on Monday. Carolyn is wildly excited to see Lake Como, I’m just hoping to run into George.

We checked in and were welcomed in a lovely manner by Diego. He helped us to the room with our luggage and after explaining a few things we were on our own.

The room is large and lovely, with two big beds, a big window and balcony with a view of a parking lot. The bathroom is huge and it has a bidet! There is a TV and cupboards and closet space. Our only complaint is the room is too warm and Carolyn feels the light is bad for makeup.

We slept hard and deep. Carolyn was reading when I got up.  Blankets were not needed and we both went to sleep pretty quickly.

Morning now, after showering, finally, and getting a bit more organized we are ready to go. It is Sunday the 27th and it is 12:20 and we are up and dressed and about to hit the road for food, coffee and sights.

Our Trip Begins

March 25: On our way

Terry drove us to the airport. We picked up Carolyn at 6pm. We had a brief visit with Carl and then were on our way. We were able to car pool on the way over and then Terry luckily had no traffic on the way home. Terry wanted to park and help us with our luggage, but that proved impossible. So we just stopped in the Bradley lot and got a luggage cart and said our goodbyes.

We looked into a seat change at the airport but nothing better was available. We had already paid $32 to switch to a row with only 2 seats, so that’s what we kept.

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At Bradley Intl.

In the terminal we quickly went through security, though Carolyn had her luggage searched. Back in our shoes we had coffee and I had a cookie while we chatted and waited. There was a wonderful art installation in sight and it was so fun to watch. It was a series of posts with screens on them and each country that used the airport had a few minutes of decoration on the screens. My favorite was the one from Santiago, it was the neck and a bit of the body of a guitar and the strings vibrated each time a note played.

At about 9:15 we went to our gate, visited the ladies room a few times and watched a huge growing line of passengers standing, but for no apparent reason. Finally I checked at the desk, and we did need to line up, but in a much less crowded section. In less than 5 minutes we boarded.

We sat in seats 44K and when I got there a lady was there. I told her it was my seat, she said she was using it to find stuff for her little girl, and nicely asked if I would wait. I did. When she finally moved. We stowed our luggage and I sat by the window. Carolyn got the aisle seat and had an entire seats worth of room next to her. Having only 2 seats is great.

We both took something to help us sleep and then played around with the various movies and other things available on our seat screens when, to our amazement, they served us dinner at midnight local time. Carolyn had chicken with rice, she got the last one. I got pasta in lobster sauce which I did not eat. There was also a grain salad of some sort that was good. The bread was good and the applesauce was tolerable. I ignored the brownie, bleh.

After they cleared all the dishes, they dimmed the lights and we went to sleep, sort of. Carolyn slept fairly well, I am not sure if I slept or not. I felt like I was awake the entire time, but it’s hard to tell.

We both got up at about 5:30am California time. We went to freshen up a bit and I got suddenly so cold I was shaking. The steward (our section has all men) gave me some coffee and worriedly checked the temp, but I told him I was ok, just reacting to being tired.

Back at our seats we sipped coffee and tried to play solitare on the screen, but it required more button pushing that either of us could stand, so we gave up. Carolyn played a game on her ipad for a while and I am typing.

We had breakfast on the plane, some sort of egg sandwich, but there were mushrooms in the same container, I did not eat them. The orange juice was yummy and the coffee was decent.

Once on the ground we got off the plane fairly quickly. The lady in the row in front of us was searching for a lost ring, so she was still there when we left.

Our luggage is going to Genoa without us, but even so, security made me throw my water away, even though I had to have been through security to get to where the next one was. Oh well.

We took a shuttle a long way to terminal 2-G and are not waiting for our 90 min. flight to Genova on HOP Regional. Once there a driver will pick us up (we hope) and take us to the hotel.

We are tired, but happy and excited.

Carolyn says she is very tired but it is well worth it.