My plans to return to Italy are falling into place very nicely, thanks to a good airline sale. This is very heartening. I'm taking it as a sign that this trip is well-favoured by the gods.
A part of me thinks a trip to Europe this year is maybe not so wise; I was (blissfully) unemployed for a few months last fall; I've since taken a job that doesn't pay as well as my last position; and I just had to buy new winter boots AND snow tires for the car.
But, whatever. Visiting Italy is essential to me, so I'll just have to cut back somewhere else. Priorities, right? I didn't even need to sacrifice a goat and read the entrails to learn that.
Okay, I'll try to focus: airline ticket. To my amazement, first Air France and then KLM offered very good ticket prices for June (high season) during the past week.
I just snapped up a KLM seat for $900 to Rome, and I can't remember the last time I paid under $1,000 for this route. Now, this isn't perfect: my journey will begin and end with a bus ride to the Montreal airport for the overseas leg of the trip. AND I must change planes in Amsterdam (it was either that, or face Charles de Gaulle with Air France.) So, essentially two transfers. With Air Canada, it's usually just one transfer.
However, to save $400, I'm willing to endure the extra hassle and the risk of lost luggage. Famous last words!
As an aside, I think it will be very fun to see a little of Amsterdam. Never been, not even through Schiphol airport (which my Dutch friends tell me is pronounced something like SKE-pole.) With a six-hour layover, I should have time to train into Amsterdam proper and at least have a coffee by a canal and wander a bit. Ah, European coffee. That will be the first order of business. And I'm going to be studying Kathy's recent entries from Amsterdam for more ideas!
Then, a week in Rome at Natalia's wonderful apartment in Monti. This neighborhood is very new to me. It's just on the edges of Rome's historic centre, near the Colosseum and more residential than my usual Campo de' Fiori haunts.
But I think I'll like it. I saw the apartment 3 years ago when I last rented from Natalia in the Campo area. We stopped by the Monti apartment after shopping one afternoon, and it really is lovely. With a 15 per cent discount, the price is also right!
From Rome, six nights in Venice at the B+B discovered by Annie, so I can do some research for my next novel; then, a week in Umbria because I can't go to Italy without going "home." This will be fantastic: a few nights above Assisi, then a few nights at Genius Loci with dear friends.
Let's just hope my luggage enjoys the entire journey along with me, and doesn't get lost during one of the many transfers.