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Three weeks in Italy

borromini.jpg

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.

Comments (11)

Congratulations! That really is a good price for June airfare. And having your lodging all set up is great too. I hope the luggage stays close too. :)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, your plans for three weeks in Italy sounds wonderful and what great deals you have on the airfare and apartment. And the B&B that Annie recommended in Venice and 6 nights to explore Venice. I'm green with envy.

Six hours to have a look around in Amsterdam sounds cool too. It would be nice if you have time in Amsterdam to visit "my" beautiful canal, but if time gets tight for you and you don't want to venture too far from the train station, right out in front of the Central Station you can walk straight and there are some shops and restaurants. Also, in front of the station instead of the trams there is the blue stop and go bus and for a euro it will take you on a route along Prinsengracht canal aka my beautiful canal. I used it several times during my stay. One of the places I liked was near the Anne Frank House there is a wonderful place called Pancake Bakery (I went there twice), but there are also little other cafes along that part of the canal with outdoor seating. If I remember correctly it wasn't too far from the station. Then to return to the Station stand on the opposite side of the canal for the bus to take you back. Here is the link to the Stop and Go bus: http://www.amsterdam.info/transport/stop-go-bus/

Happy planning and I am looking forward to reading more about your trip (and maybe if you have time during your trip).

sandrac:

Thanks, Annie! I think there are often better airfare deals to be had in the US because your population base is roughly ten times that of Canada, and so there is greater competition. So, by our standards, this is extremely good fare -- yay KLM!

Hi Kathy, thanks SO much for this great information and for the link to the stop-and-go bus. That could be just right for me -- if I became worried about the time, I could simply get off the bus, cross over, and return to the station and the airpot.

I'd also love to see your canal, it looked so beautiful in your photos.

Sounds like a great itinerary! You must be so excited!

I will be in Venice May 11-24, so I will just miss you by a couple of weeks. Darn!

sandrac:

Hi Nancy, it's too bad that we'll miss each other in Venice -- but I hope you'll have time to blog about your plans before you go (and maybe post while you're there!)

Your plans sound great - we stayed around the corner form that apartment during our first trip to Rome and LOVED the area. Sure itw as a hell of a hike to the Vatican but in retrospect there was mroe than enough in Monti to keep us busy . . .

Il tuo viaggio a Italia sarà meravigliosi!

Also, it's unfortunate you have only 6 hours in Amsterdam. I visited there last May. Really enjoyed it and the canals and architecture are so interesting.

sandrac:

Thanks Jerry -- that's what I'm thinking, too. There are places in and around Monti (like Santa Maria Maggiore) where I've spent very little time and now I can change that!

Hi Barbara, Amsterdam does sound so interesting, some day I'll stay for a week and really get to see the city.

ah Sandra, I can't wait to see you again!

Again, thank you thank you for your post and inspiring me to get my plan in action! Am so excited we will be in Venice for a few days together.

I was in Amsterdam back in 1999. Very fun city! I think it is great that you will have a few hours to get a taste of what it has to offer.

sandrac:

Anch'io, Letizia! I can't wait to see you, and relax on your beautiful terrace.

Hi Susan, I know we're going to have a great time in Venice (and Padova!) I hope all of your planning is going well, is there anything better than getting ready for a trip to Italy?

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