Monday, June 22nd/Day of departure:
I was pretty much done with packing and only had a few minor things left to organize. Time flew by as I frantically went over my packing list one more time. I ended up not having enough time to print out all my train schedules. I also encountered some last minute iPod Touch problems due to loading the new OS3 system that just came out. Friday night, I realized that I lost all of my songs and videos. That took a big chunk of my time trying to redo all the playlists I made. YouTube also wasn’t working. I figured that one out after about an hour of research.
About an hour before I needed to leave for the airport, I realized that I was not able to connect to air sharing to transfer all of my documents. This freaked me out since I was depending on transferring a bunch of stuff onto my iPod Touch for my trip. I eventually resolved the issue but could not tell you how I did it now.
The one thing I did not have time to do was to print out all of the train schedules. I feel much more secure having all my train schedules in my hand when taking the train. Even though most of the train schedules are on my iPod, my trip will be interesting without having printed out schedules with all of the various options. I don’t think I mentioned that there is a scheduled strike on the day I will be traveling from Bologna to Stresa. I have not figured out what I am going to do if the strike does take place.
The other thing I forgot to do was to grab an English/Italian dictionary. I hope my Italian will carry me on this trip, especially if I end up at the train window without a printed out schedule to purchase a ticket. I will soon find out.
I did take a picture of my updated 3-3-1 bag (especially for Chiocciola), but I didn’t have time to post it before heading to the airport.
Heading to the airport/departing Honolulu:
I ate my dinner on the way to the airport while my dad drove. Eating in advance turned out to be a good thing because that meant I didn’t have to stay awake to wait for my dinner (or should I say snack) on the plane).
I did the pre-check in online but was not allowed to print my tickets because they had to do a passport check at the airport. No line at the kiosk. I breezed right through. My check in bag weighed 24.5 pounds an my carry on weighed 23.5 pounds.
The line at security was very short. New rule – shoes no longer go in the bin. One of the TSA guys was barking at everyone like an army sargeant. Power really goes to some poeple,s heads. I felt sorry for this older couple who were so confused.
The flight attendant helped me lift my bag up into the overhead bin, but not too enthusiastically. A cute young guy sat next to me (talking to his fiance on the phone). Cute guy turned into rude guy. He ignored the announcement to turn off cell phones and continued talking for another 10 minutes loudly for everyone to hear.
A young woman from japan (who was wearing a Yankees shirt) wagged her finger AT ME about him talking on the phone as if I could do anything. She then got out of her chair, marched down the aisle, and found the flight attendant to tell him to turn the phone off.
After he finally turned the phone off, very rude guy turned to the young girl sitting on his right amd introduced himself to her. He talked nonstop and flirted with her and did not even acknowledge that I existed. I had no desire to join in on the conversation, but a hello or even goodbye when we arrived in Newark the following morning would have been polite. The flight was pretty quiet (except for the guy gabbing away). I slept most of the flight for the first time in a long time.
Tuesday, June 23rd/Hanging out in Newark:
I spent the first few hours of my six hour layover walking around, checking out some of the stores, and enjoying my favorite raspberry and cream cheese croissant at Au Bon Pain. Because I was dozing off while eating my croissant, I walked around some more and then headed to the gate once it was finally announced.
The flight boarded on time. I was able to find a guy sitting near me to lift my bag up into the overhead compartment. A very polite young guy who said hello and introduced himself right away sat next to me on my second flight. We chatted briefly. I waited for dinner, which was surprisingly very good ( chicken & rice & veggies), and then went to sleep. I slept again for most of the flight.
Wednesday, June 24th/Arrival in Roma:
We arrived in Roma on time. The line was very reasonable at the passport control. I was worried that I would have a problem with my new passport because I signed it with my middle initial instead of my full middle name. No problems so far. I was thrilled to get my first passport stamp. My bag arrived shortly after I got to the baggage claim area. I was a little confused about the location of the train station since there were signs with train pictures pointing in two different directions. I stopped and asked someone who worked at the airport. I am getting much better at understanding directions. I understood just what he said and found the train station quite easily. After buying my train tickets to Roma Termini & Firenze, I stopped in a bar and had my first caffé macchiato and crema brioche. Soooooo good!!!
There was a big crowd waiting for the train. I headed down toward the other end and easily found a seat. A nice man helped me carry one of my bags on board. When we arrived in Roma, another nice man again helped me with one of my bags. It took me a few minutes, but I was able to figured out a way to get to the main area of the Termini train station without having to take any stairs.
My 10:30 AV Eurostar train was on time. These trains are so easy to board now because there are signs pointing to each carrozza or train car location along the way. When getting on the train, a nice woman helped me with one of my bags. I really am amazed with all of the help I have been offered so far.
I have a nice seat in first class (a little more money but not as crowded and plenty of room for luggage without having to lift anything overhead). We are traveling through the beautiful Tuscan countryside as I ‘peck’ on my iPot Touch. Once I have wireless access, I am able to cut and paste my draft email entry right into a new entry page on my blog.
**I am now in Florence at my wonderful B&B spell checking and editing my post. I am thrilled to be here but also crashing from the jetlag. I quit spell checking about half way down. I apologize for any glaring errors. I have not decided yet if it is easier to write the entry using my iPod Touch or if it is easier to type the entry using the Italian keyboard. I know it will all come back to my eventually, but right now it is pretty much a tie. I will need computer access though and not just wireless using my iPod Touch to write any entry that is longer than a few sentences because I can’t seem to scroll up or down in the little box where I paste my entry in the blog template.
*Edited to add – this trip report is all over the place! To best follow it, I made a link at the bottom of each trip report page to take you to the next day or days of my 2009 Italy trip.
Next up – 1st day in Firenze