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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Italy: Disengaging for Vacation

It is amazing how quickly one can disengage from everything for a vacation. Even though I still have a few emails that I need to finish up before we land in Washington, DC on our way to Rome, Italy – I really feel like we are on vacation. That in itself is peculiar to me – it was as late yesterday afternoon that this whole two week vacation to Italy felt surreal. Perhaps that was because we planned this trip last December or perhaps because I finished my packing a few days early and do not have to scramble at the last minute forgetting things. (Except for that all-important iPod charger, oops!)

Regardless, here at 37,000 feet somewhere above Colorado on the way to Rome it is real. I sit here staring out the window watching the clouds and the American landscape fly by and it is relaxing. I sit here and type out this post and it is relaxing. I have an opportunity to catch up on a number of posts I have queued up (posted a pathetic 4 so far this month) and it feels good. All of that and we will be landing in Rome in just over 15 hours.

This may be one of the most anticipated vacations we have taken – ever. The only one that comes close in my mind is our trip to Germany back in 2006 that included a college reunion for both of us in Heidelberg – where both Ashley and I studied for a summer while we were at Pepperdine. We almost made the trip last to Italy summer, but somehow the $1900 price tag in coach for each of us was more than made sense. Here we are a year later with the good fortune of abundance of frequent flier miles and a United 1k status that put the total cost for Business Class seats for both us at only 160,000 miles and less than $100 taxes. That is just impossible to beat.

But the real reason for the excitement is the opportunity to see the Italian side of our family. Of which I have never met our Uncle Luigi (Ashley’s), and have not seen our cousins since before Ashley and I were married. That was 10 years ago and now at 19 years old, I am not going to be throwing them around the pool like the last time. They live near Florence, making Florence the underpinnings of our trip.

We land in Rome at 10:00am Sunday morning – head directly to the Roma Termini station to catch a train up to Florence to visit the family. Once in Florence, we will spend the better part of the next week and a half in and around the city except for a brief two day trip to see Venice. After the week and a half, we will head down to Rome for the last 5 days of the trip.

It will be refreshing to be able to “experience” Italy rather than running around like a chicken with my head cutoff as I did on my last visit. Back in 1996, I spent a total 3 days in Rome, Florence, and then squarely missed a 3-hour window I had to see the city when my friends and I got off at the first Venice train station. That last one was a huge oops -- at least I will finally be able to see Venice.

While I am sure we will have plenty of activities in our schedule – we will also have a good amount of time to relax. Something we are both looking forward to. Now we just need to get on our flight from Dulles to Rome!