Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Random Observations

We’ve been home for 4 days now and I still can’t get myself back to CDT. Going to bed at 9 PM is a little early…and waking up at 5 AM is ridiculous! I’m sure we’ll get there eventually :)

Our plane landed in Houston at 2:30 PM last Friday afternoon. The sun was shining and it was 73°. It felt like heaven after the previous cold, rainy days we’d had in Vietri sul Mare. Italy had been fabulous but it was nice being back home. We didn’t even spend all our money! We came home with €6,95! I meant to spend those last Euros at the airport but I guess we’ll just have to call them a souvenir. We had a 200 mile drive ahead of us to get back to Rockport but that was OK. We were looking forward to sleeping in our own bed that night :)

This post will be my last about anything Italy :) I just had some random observations rattling around in my head hat I wanted to put down on paper. I also wanted to answer some questions I’d been asked.


  • The vast majority of Italians in the northern part of Italy are thin. The further south you go, the heavier the population. I have no idea why. It’s just an observation. There is no comparison to how overweight American’s are though. If you saw a large person, it was undoubtedly a tourist. On that note, I am happy to report that, although we ate and drank our way through that country, we did not gain any weight! Yeah!

  • Phillip Morris is alive and well in Italy! Everywhere you looked, people were smoking. There were cigarette machines on the sidewalks. There were also cigarette butts all over the sidewalks. The “enlightenment” hasn’t made it to Italy yet. Although I had read that Europeans smoked a lot, it was still surprising to see.

  • They apparently also take their birth control seriously. Along with the cigarette machines, there were condom machines on the sidewalks. That one probably isn’t a bad idea :)

  • Italians are aggressive drivers. Let me say that again. Italians are aggressive drivers! Scary. They are also aggressive walkers. They hold their ground on the sidewalks/streets and you move if necessary. It’s the same way they’ll look drivers in the eye and cross the street right in front of them, always holding their ground.

  • If you’re not very careful, you will become a victim of a pickpocket. Pick pocketing is a national past-time in Italy. Mothers teach their small children how to do it. Seriously. Rick had a small child try to get his wallet out of his back pocket. Unfortunately for the kid, his wallet wasn’t even in the country, just the indentation from wearing it in that pocket forever. He felt the little hands and whipped around to see a mother and her 2 small kids duck into the closest store. Do your research before traveling. Don’t be a target.

  • There is no bad wine in Italy. Really :)

  • The further south you get, the more expensive the wine. For the best bargains, Venice and Florence have wonderful prices.

  • There are more Gelato shops than restaurants…I think.

  • Italian women are born with 5” stiletto’s on their feet and they learn to walk on the cobblestone streets before they can crawl! Seriously, these women can give you a complex. It’s almost impossible to walk on these things in flats; they make it look like child’s play :)

The good cobblestone (large and easier to walk on) vs. the bad cobblestone. I ask you, how can anyone walk on that in stiletto’s?


Q & A

  • Sherry (Direction of our Dreams) asked what the unemployment rate was in the rest of Italy after I mentioned Naples having a 30% rate. As of November 2012, it was 11.1% overall with young people under the age of 25 experiencing the highest level. Most young people continue to live at home with their parents.

  • Several people suggested we go to Pompeii and I must report that we did not make it. I have to blame that on Mother Nature again.

  • Bob (The Caretaker Chronicles) wanted to know if we were going to stay for Easter. Bob, we intentionally flew back to the States on Good Friday. I read about how crazy it can get there! :)

  • Several people asked me how we managed to stay in homes and apartments much of our trip, rather than hotel rooms. I can highly recommend Airbnb.com This website gives the traveler lodging alternatives and it operates world wide. It’s possible to stay in a private home, an apartment, even a room in someone’s home if you should desire. Because we were 2 couples traveling together, we could book a 2 bedroom apartment and split the cost for far less than 2 hotel rooms. My daughter Nicole was the first person to recommend them and I’m very happy she did. I know we’ll definitely look at that option again for any trip that we can’t take Lucy :)

  • Finally, this was not a question but a suggestion from Chuck (Goldenshoe RV Trip). He mentioned that he had gotten compensation from KLM for a cancelled flight that his wife Anneke had booked recently. He just politely asked for some sort of adjustment and they were very prompt in making an offer. I waited to write until we were safely home, in case we experienced the same craziness that we did flying out. (Our return was quite uneventful). Over Easter weekend, I emailed their customer service outlining our cancelled flight etc. and asking for some sort of relief. I stuck to the facts and asked nicely :) First thing Monday morning, they responded with the appropriate apologies and the promise of 2 checks to be mailed to us (one for each of us) totaling approximately 2/3 of the cost of our tickets! I was beyond happy. So, Chuck, if we ever actually meet in person, the drinks are on us! :) I probably would not have followed up if it had not been for your comment. Thank you!

I think that about wraps it up. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


  1. What a great wrap-up. The refund from KLM is icing on the Italian cake! I sure enjoyed the postings as you traveled around :)

  2. Glad to hear you're being compensated for your troubles ... makes those problems seem much smaller than they were at the time ;-) I'm going to make note of the site you used to book your accommodations; won't need them for our upcoming time in Italy, but we plan to start sneaking long-stay Europe "vacations" into our gypsy lifestyle in the years to come.

  3. Great wrap up and kudos to Chuck for suggesting, you for doing and KLM for stepping up to the plate. Wonder if a US airline would have?? You must have written a great letter. If I ever need to do one, I'll copy yours. :-)). Good advertising for KLM.

  4. Interesting observations and wrap-up!! How great that KLM is going to reimburse you for your troubles!! Welcome Home and see you this summer:o))

  5. Oh, I forgot to mention there is nothing ridiculous about waking up at 5am...doncha'know;o))

  6. We enjoyed all your posts about Italy and look forward to hearing about it from you in person one day. :+)

  7. Wow!! That's GREAT that you'll be receiving a refund from KLM!! I thought all airlines pretty much figured that's just your tough luck.

    Really interesting wrap-up. Pretty sad that mothers teach their children how to pick pocket. Hooray to you guys for not gaining any weight! Practically impossible to do when on vacation. All that walking really paid off!

  8. Sounds like a great trip. Thanks for the tip on airbnb

  9. What a cool wrap-up on your observations! Glad you are home and see you this summer! Yippee!!

  10. So, did you bring home any stilettos? I think they'd be great hiking shoes for you.

    Great score on the airline tickets! Good for you. :c)


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