Friday, April 29, 2011

Our trip to Italy and first day in Rome


What a journey that was.  Jim received an injection in his back the morning we left, and had to have a wheel chair throughout the airports.   That left me running behind!  The airport in Paris is huge, so it was a good thing we had someone else guiding the way.  The flight from LAX to Paris was long and tiresome, but we made it!  The flight from Paris to Rome was not so bad.  Only a few hours.  We landed and once we got our luggage, a driver from the hotel met us and took us straight to our hotel.  It was located right in the center of Rome, and she gave us some guided pointers along the way.  A lot to take in after such a long journey.

We slept the first night like babies, and awoke to the knock on our door at 11:00am.   Unheard of!  We must have needed it badly.

Our first day in Rome was jampacked!  We took a guided bus tour all around the city which gave us a good overview.  That lasted about 2 hours.

We were on our own for a few more hours, and stumbled upon a very quaint and lovely Ristorante for a very late dinner.

All in all a very wonderful day.

I'll post some pictures on Facebook.

A Domani!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Countdown begins... One week to go!

Wow!  One week till we leave, and I can't believe it!

So much has happened, that my head is spinning.  The move was kind of rough and Jim injured his back!  So, still surrounded by boxes!  

He's seen several doctors, and has been taking it pretty easy.  It's effecting his sciatica nerve in his hip and is not doing well.  The bottom line is he is in much pain and can barely walk!  Not good for long air travel, traveling throughout Italy for 3 weeks and South Africa for 2.  He is determined to still go, so he will be getting a shot this Friday to see if that will give him some relief.  We can only hope and pray!

That's life isn't it?  You hope and dream about something for years, then finally it seems you will actually get to live it and BAM!  

By the time I will actually post this, it will  be Thursday, so actually one week from tonight we will be in Rome, Italy.  Or should I say Lord willing we will be.

I thought it would be nice to kind of fill in how we got here.

About 7 years ago, I became interested in my genealogy.  If you have ever gone down this road, you know it can be a long and timely endeavor.  I decided to start with my mom's Italian roots.  I began reaching out to family members, although not many were still around.  I located a distant cousin, who had done some work in this area, and he was able to share a bit with me.  I found out that both my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather's families came to American from a small little mountain village outside of Rome.  Patrica, Italy.   

Patrica, Italy

I knew I would one day want to go there.  My mom got to go to Italy before she passed, but never made it to Patrica.  Even though it seems that there is no living connection, it still seemed like something I wanted to do in honor of her.

Jim and I have taken a few trips here and there to celebrate our Anniversary.  Mostly just weekend trips up the coast of California which we love!  However, I thought for our 25th it would be fantastic to do an Italy trip.  Neither of us had been to Europe, and It was a big deal.  

However, it just didn't work out.  That was five years ago.  I began putting it down as a 1 year goal.  Five years later, and here we are.  

During that five year period, I have taken up Italian.  Mostly studying on my own and listening to tapes.  I've taken a few Italian for travel classes.  By no means can I carry on a long conversation in Italian, but I am more familiar with it and understand a little bit!  

Our 30th Wedding Anniversary is actually on October 10, 2011, but October is usually  a tough time for Jim to leave studio work for more than a weekend.  I knew I wanted to go either in Spring or Fall.  Since I didn't want to wait until next spring, it meant going now!  When I found out that Jim's commitment in Detroit was ending in March, I knew it was time!  

We began investigating airfare, talking to people, and as it turns out, the wife of one of the guys Jim worked with in the studios is from Milan.  We met with them, and got some ideas.  Jim also met a guy, Richard Roe, who's business is taking small groups on trips around the world.  As it turned out, Italy is his specialty.  So, we met with him and got the ball rolling as they say.  It was kind of stressful booking the flights, because we didn't know exact dates and we knew we had to throw the move in the mix.  

However, we finally got the flights booked on March 14, and my dream was becoming real!!!
I stopped saying some day I want to go, to now I am going!  

As some of you know, our son Jason is over in South Africa for a year, so we talked about how amazing it would be to visit him as well!  So we are.

Here's our trip Itinerary:

4/28 -5/1 -  Rome, Italy - 4 days.  We will rent a car on the 1st and drive to Patrica and check it out.  
5/2 - 5/4 - Positano - 3 days. - From Rome we will drive down and spend some time in Pompeii, and then visit the Amalfi coastal areas.  This will include a day trip to the Island of Capri and the Blue Grotto.  My mom and dad loved this, and my dad still talks about how wonderful it was.
5/5 - 5/6 - Orvietto - 2 days
5/7 - 5/9 - Castellini/Chianti - 3 days
5/10 - 5/11 - Florence - 2 days
5/12 - 5/17 - Lerici - 6 days.  It is here, that we will join Richard Roe and his small group of  women.  He lived here for a few years and it is by far his favorite area in Italy.  We will be visiting Cinque Terre, which I have heard so much about.
5/18 - 5/20 - Venice - 3 days
5/21 - 5/22 - Cortona - 2 days
5/23 - Back to Rome to fly to Johannesburg
5/24 - Fly into Johannesburg, where we will meet up with Lorrie's mom and fly up to Richard's Bay.  Rent a car and drive to the farm where Lorrie and Jason are staying.
5/25 - St. Lucia, day trip to the beach
5/26 - Go visit one of the schools where the Mpilonhle units are. (Part of Charlize Theron's South Africa Outreach Project)
5/27 - 5/28 - Stay at the bush lodge in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi
5/29 - 5/30 - Hang out at the Farm
5/31 - Fly to Cape Town.
6/1 - Wine tasting around Paarl area.  More wine!  Woo Hoo!
6/2 - Hanging out in Cape Town, depending on Jim's back, we may hike or take the tram to top of Table Mountain.
6/3 - Stellenbosch, another wine town for some more wine tasting.  As if we didn't get enough in Italy! :)
6/4 - Cape Town, visit the Old Biscuit Mill Farmer's Market and explore the rest of Cape Town.
6/5 - Fly back to Johannesburg and back to Rome
6/6 - Rome - 1 day
6/7 - Fly home
6/8 - Home Sweet Home!

My next post will most likely be on packing!  Lord help me on that one!!!  I've been checking on line for  ideas, and many sites, say pack just one pair of shoes.  OK, maybe two for woman.  One pair of shoes?  Are they serious?  Any expert travelers out there, that care to comment, I'd love some ideas!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting Ready For Our New Adventure!

First, a bit of background..
Jim and I have been married since October 10, 1981.  We are getting ready to soon celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary together!  Reason to celebrate, is it not?  

I have been wanting to visit Italy for years now, and for what ever reason, life has gotten in the way.  I decided to put it down as an actual goal about 5 years ago.  It has taken 5 years, but it is becoming a reality.  There is something very powerful in putting things down in writing and with a time frame.  It may not happen exactly how or when you picture it, but I do believe it has a way of moving you in that direction!

Because of work schedules, it worked out better for us to go this spring instead of waiting until the fall, so the plans have begun!  It just so happens, that our son is in South Africa for a year, so we have decided to add visiting him to our trip.  An added bonus for sure!

We are getting ready to set off on our big adventure to Italy and South Africa. But, before we leave, we have decided to also make a move! As if planning a Big Trip of a Lifetime is not enough to take on right? Well, we never seem to do things the simple way. Life is never boring for us that is for sure.

It is my hope that with this Blog, I will be able to Journal, post pictures and post videos of our trip, but will also be letting you in on the planning of the trip as we go. So stay tuned!!