Archive for February 20th, 2011
Hey look! It’s been seven months since my trip and I’m finally finished blogging about it. I’m actually closer to my next trip than I am to this trip. More on that later. Today we fly back to the great states of America and remember how grateful we are for all the things that seem normal to us. The company that rented us the apartment arranged for a car and driver to take us to the airport. We arrived at the airport fairly early, which was good, because the security lines were long, and we had to take this little bus to the gate area.
They had a store at the airport, so I made some last minute purchases. One of them was a kinder egg. These are chocolate eggs from Germany with a toy inside. I don’t remember what the toy was, but the egg was good.
The airport bathroom also sold disposable toothbrushes from this gum ball like machine. I was fascinated, so I had to buy one. I tried it out, and it worked okay, but nothing like a real toothbrush, and yes, I know what it looks like.
At the airport store, I also bought chocolate hazelnut bars and Pepsi. It’s hard to find Pepsi in Europe, but they always seem to have it at the airport. They make their soda with real sugar in the rest of the World (rather than high fructose corn syrup). Some people think it taste better this way. I think it taste good, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t tell the difference in a blind taste test. Notice the guy on the Pepsi bottle, that had something to do with the World Cup, which was going on in Africa at the time. A quick tip, if you buy soda in a foreign airport and then take it back to the US with you, you need to remember to put it in your checked bags before you recheck your bags in the US, since you have to go through security again, and they won’t let you carry on liquids.
Here is my view on the plane. Economy is cramped, I wish more US airlines had a premium economy class.
Here are my left over Euros. I love the €2 coin, it makes carrying change worth it.
And there you have it, the Roseyland Italy adventure of 2010 is complete. A few final notes:
- The total cost of the trip was about $3000 per person for three people. I was surprised it was so low actually. This is about $1300 for airfare, $500 per person for the apartment, each context tour was about $100 per person, and the train tickets to Florence were about $100 per person. We saved the most money by renting the apartment instead of staying in a Hotel.
- I have mixed feelings about renting the apartment. It saved us a lot of money, and we had more space, but there is a certain sense of security that comes with staying in a hotel, and having a front desk with people to ask questions of. I’m not sure which way I would go again, but if I did rent an apartment, I’d spend a little more for one in the center of the city. Our apartment was on the edge of central Rome, which led to lots of long walks home.
- If you want to learn a bit of the language before you go, seriously consider trying Fluenz. I tried Rosetta Stone before I went to France last year, and it was okay, but not great. Everything in Rosetta Stone is in the foreign language, no english at all, which works okay for building vocabulary, but horrible for understanding grammar. Also, Rosetta stone teaches you words you will never use. I could say “the cat is on the table” in French, but shockingly, that never came up. Fluenz explains the foreign language to you in English, which greatly speeds up the learning process. Also Fluenz teaches you words you will actually use, and they have a fun audio component to help drill the information into your head. The audio component of Rosetta Stone was insanely boring. Trust me, go with Fluenz. I made my way through Fluenz Italian 1&2 before my trip, and while I wasn’t having any conversations in Italian, I could tell what the waitress meant when she said “Posso?”, I knew how to tell the taxi driver we were tired, and I even asked if could take the elevator (Posso usare l’ascensore?). Hey, I still remember it. Woo Hoo!
- It looks like my next trip is going to be a week in Bavaria, with a quick stop in Paris first. I’m really hoping to fly Air France in their Premium Voyageur class. For some reason, I want the experience of flying Air France, and their premium economy class is not that much more expensive than regular economy, but it looks way more comfortable. Finding the flights I want for a reasonable price has been a challenge though. I’m not looking again until March, then I’ll decide.