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Today, we fly to the Eternal City.
There's not much of a plan, honestly. We have an odd and wandering flight to Rome (through Raleigh, oddly), and then three nights of hotel reservations. After that, who knows. We'll be gone a little more than a week.
I've been to Italy before; way back in college, I think it was my sophomore year, I flew over to meet two friends who were taking Italian language classes in Siena. I caught up with them at the end of their stay, and we spent ten days trekking through "must-see" cities.
Ten days, seven cities/towns. Terrible idea.
It was a great trip, don't get me wrong. I just never want to do anything like it again. Just enough time to unpack and see the biggest monument or museum, not enough time to breathe or sleep in or spend a lazy day doing nothing in a foreign city.
Honestly, I can't stress the extent to which this will be an entirely different trip. Pacing, planning, food, wine, intent and hopes.
When I went to Italy last — about ten years ago — I was the pickiest eater imaginable. If the pasta didn't have red sauce on it, I was leery. Now I'm going over with a list of restaurants and dishes I want to try. Food and wine is what I'm most looking forward to.
The last time, I didn't know anything about the cities we visited -- Rome, Milan, Bologna, Siena, Verona, Venice and Florence. Now I've spent some time reading about the places, deciding what I want to do, but mostly opting not to plan.
We may end up in Rome the entire time. We may take the train to Florence for the Uffizi, or Siena for a quieter few days. We may rent a car and drive through Chianti. Honestly, I don't care.
I just want to relax. I want to concentrate more on lunch and dinner than on works of art and itineraries. I want to take some decent pictures, drink some great coffee and maybe read a book. I just want to enjoy being somewhere else for a while.
So TeamWetDog is Italian-bound. I'll be on break for a week or so - check back in on Dec. 26 for photos and stories from the trip. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, however and whenever you spend it...
All Images Copyright 2006 -- Robert Walton