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Report 149: Doru's Notebook, Italy. Three weeks visiting the Lakes, Venice, Tuscany, and Milan

By doru from Toronto, Canada, Summer 2002

Trip Description: Doru & Josette on a 3 week adventure.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Lake Region, Milan, Tuscany, Venice

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Art Trip; Foodie Trip; Opera; Shopping; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 22: Preface and Departure

Sometime in December 2001, with the spring 2002 trip to Spain all planned out and committed, I became antsy again. It was a funny kind of winter; not very cold but still gray and depressing and thoughts about sun started crowding me. I knew I had a lot of unfinished business in Italy, and with this is mind, I approached my two bosses, at home and at work, to try to obtain from them a travel window within which I could then start dreaming.

What follows is the result of this antsy ness, which grabs travellers when nothing definite is on the horizon or as soon as they return home from their latest trip.

Sunday, September 8, 2002, Toronto I am trying to sleep in, in order to gain some time on the expected change of time clock, but at 7 a.m. I am all ready for the day, and in due course I awaken Josette too. The first item of the day is taking Frasier, our sweet standard poodle, to Mavis and Bill, up in Newmarket, Ont. Frasier loves Mavis and she loves him, so our guilt feelings are somewhat tempered. We load the car with Frasier's stuff and off we go. Mavis has a few other dogs under her care at this time, so Frasier will have some good company.

Back home for last preparations. Since through the kindness of my boss we have passes for the Air Canada lounge, we arrive at the airport a bit early. I use the time for a last call to my father and then pull out the Berlitz Italian phrase dictionary and start marking the most important sections with Post-it notes and go through some refreshing. My Italian is rudimentary to the extreme. Since my mother tongue, Romanian, is also a derivative of Latin, one would think it would be easier for me to switch to Italian. But I am thinking in English and I live with my personal Tower of Babel. For some strange reason, Spanish seemed to be easier. Maybe I should try Portuguese…

The flight is uneventful, except that, as usual, I don't sleep even a minute but, unusually, I have a tough time reading. Morton's "A Traveller to Italy" stays for most of the time in the pouch in front of me and I watch the forgettable movies. Josette and I spend some time with routing directions printed out off Via Michelin, Mappy and Mapquest. As usual, I have overdone things and I have too many print-outs. We compare these with a map of Lombardy, obtained from the Italian Consulate in Toronto. Josette, as the navigator, is inclined for the simplest of the formats, which is Mappy's, and over the next three weeks she will prove right.

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