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Trip Report "We are not in the States anymore, y'all." An Italian trip report.

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We returned - just last night - from another trip to Italy. Jet lag has me awake and thinking that time's a wastin' this morning. I was absolutely, positively not going to write another report because this was a fairly typical trip to Rome, Tuscany, and Venice.

However, we went with friends and I had this vacation super organized and chock-full (perhaps too full) of tours and activities - perhaps if I focus on those it will be helpful for someone else.

My typical trip report uses a lot of statements such as, "we wandered around all afternoon", or "we sat and watched the world go by." Not so much this time because I was planning not only for myself and family, but also for two of our friends who had never been to Europe before, I felt as if I couldn't just let the days plan themselves the way I tend to do!

It ended up being a great trip. Busy, but fun. The players were my husband and me and our two friends who I will call D and P. We are all southerners from the US, but from different states - they have quite a thick drawl and this was noticed at times by the Italians. My husband and I are in our early 50's. D and P are in their early to mid 40's. We are all in the same empty nest life stage.

I wish I could tell you about all the troubles we had getting along because that would make for a much more interesting report, but it would also be a fabrication. As D said the last night, "there aren't many friends who could spend this much time together and not get sideways with each other even once." True. We just knew when we had had enough togetherness and would go our seperate ways. It worked well.

I speak Italian fairly well. Definitely into an intermediate level. I studied quite a lot before this trip and studied via Skype with an Italian woman. This helped tremendously to train my ear. Comprehension has been my bugaboo. I can memorize and use verb tenses all the day long but not have a clue what is being said in response to my nicely complicated sentence. Haha. After all that studying - it seemed as if I needed Italian less than ever while there.

Once in Venice the group asked me to ask a shop proprietor how late his store would be open. I walked over and asked in English! My group laughed at me, "um, we could have done that." I responded that no matter how well I asked the question in Italian he was going to respond in danged English so I might as well cut to the chase.

Our agenda was simple: fly into Rome (we all arranged our own transport) and spend 4 nights there. Drive to Tuscany and spend 4 nights near Pienza. Drive to and drop the car in Venice and spend 3 nights there and fly home from Venice.

As far as the title of the report? It became our group saying whenever something just so wonderful and out of our realm of normal was happening. We used it while sipping an aperitivo alongside the Grand Canal, or when stepping back in time in a completely untouristed medieval walled village, or when the restaurateur in rome showed us the Roman baths they had discovered while renovating his restaurant...and then there was that one time...that day when things didn't go so well. But, I'll get to that.

Thanks for listening. Hope I'm not driving you crazy with another one of these. Be back soon with the things we did in Rome.

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