18 Days in Italy

Old Mar 31st, 2010, 07:57 AM
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18 Days in Italy

We planned and researched this trip for so long and now that it is over I am thrilled that we did it and relieved that it is over. 18 days is a long time to travel from place to place and we are exhausted, but we saw some of the most amazing places and the people for the most part were wonderful! We started our trip on a Thursday, a day earlier than we were supposed to because Air France overbooked our flight. I am a high school counselor and at lunch on Wednesday March 10th, my husband called me and asked me if I wanted to go to Italy tomorrow. I thought he was trying to pull a fast one on me, however, he was telling the truth. He works shift work and Air France called as he was sleeping, he was working nights, and told him that they had to change planes and our Friday flight was overbooked by 30 or so people. He offered him vouchers if we could go on another date and as my halfway asleep husband lay there and let the man talk he heard the magic words "business class". Apparently if we left the next day, they would give us business class on the way to Venice and 300 euros. My husband tried very valiantly to get business on the awy home, but no go. So he told the man to call back in 10 minutes because he had to make sure I could get off. The man told him as they were hanging up that one way or another some people were flying on Friday. So after my disbelief I told him are you crazy I am so taking tomorrow off. The other counselors were so sweet and so excited for us. I spenf the next few hours getting packed and trying to remember everything we had to do. We left our 2 college age kids at home with the dogs, some money, some food and a credit card and off we went to the airport on Thursday.
On the way to the airport, we stopped at my sister-in law's home because she wanted us to bring something back from the Vatican for her. As we started our leisurely drive to Houston Intercontinental Airport, I looked in the back seat and said Wayne, did you pack your coat? He replied that he took it out and put it on the couch, but after stopping the car and lookin in the luggage, we called our son who told us that it was still sitting on the couch at home. We lost about an hour going back to get the coat. Wayne had to drive very fast, I won't say how fast, and we ended up parking in the airport parking instead of outside for cheaper rates, because we got to the airport with about 2 hours to spare. Little did I realize that business class can get there late and waltz right through. Security took a little time, but we were treated very well.
I have to mention here that Wayne and I have always said that if we ever win the lottery we are flying business for the rest of our lives. We walk through these seats every time we take a trip and we salivate at the room and the possibility of sleep. I know that sometimes you get lucky and you get upgraded but it has never even come close to happening to us before. Ironically, at the beauty shop the week before we left, one of the stylists was telling me about the time she got upgraded to 1st class to like Las Vegas. I told her that we always dream about that happening to us. Just wait till I get back to the beauty shop. First Class Las Vegas has nothing on Business Air France!!
The flight was absolutely fabulous to quote one of my favorite TV shows of all time. They fed us for what felt like the first 3 hours of the flight. The hot towells were fabulous, the beef and potatoes were fabulous, and the maccaroon for dessert was especially fabulous. In all of the times I have been to Paris (3 so far) how could I have missed maccaroons? Caramel maccaroons were the food highlight of my flight. We then watched a movie and went to sleep. I woke up when they turned on the cabin lights for breakfast.I was sleeping so well that it actually startled me and I bolted up in the seat. NEVER have I slept that much on an airplane.
The landing was fine and we spent the next few hours in the Air France lounge at CDG. Great. Even croissants at the airport are better in France. Go figure. We had a very short flight to Venice and landed around 2:20pm. We collected all of our luggage (yes it all made it ; apparently they put priority tags on business class luggage) and got some euros from the ATM and headed for the water bus to Venice. This is where we had a little bit of a problem.
The water bus let us off at the stop before St. Mark's. My husband looked at the map and said that he thought if we got off at the stop before we could just take the side street to the B&B. HA HA sidestreet! After walking over a few bridges with luggage and totally getting lost, we found the B&B and were miraculously still talking to each other. We stayed at Corte Compana Bed and Breakfast with Riccardo who lives with his girlfriend and rents out 3 bedrooms of his former family home. It was very nice and Riccardo is Mr. Personality. However, if you stay there be prepared for 4 sets of stairs up to the B&B. We ended up in the twin bedded room with a very lage bathroom attached. The room was huge and the beds were comfortable. It was Riccardo and his brother's room when they were growing up. Riccardo, gave us restaurant recommendation, made reservations for us and showed us a few places that actually make the Carnivale masks I wanted to buy. He is very gracious and very interested in his guests. The only suggestion I would have for him is breakfast. Breakfast is served from 8:30 to 9:30 every morning. He serves coffee, hot milk and orange juice with a croissant and a roll. He rings a bell when the food is ready, sort of like in the old west. Breakfast was fine except for the coffee. The cups he has are soooo small. They kind of look like cups for a doll. If you want a full cup of coffee, it might take about 3 or 4 tries to get one. Other than that it was fine and Riccardo was great.
I really don't know where to begin with Venice. It was terribly beautiful and really expensive. The small canals and bridges near St. Mark's were more beautiful to us than the Grand Canal or the Rialto Bridge. We loved walking in the square and coming "home". More to come
lrock is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2010, 08:43 AM
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Great start to your trip! Business class in wonderful...I got upgraded a couple years ago on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Rome (on Christmas Day...a nice gift!) and now everytime I walk through that section back to my economy seat I breathe a little sigh, and think..."I wish"!

If I could make one suggestion when posting your report it would be easier on weary eyes if there were a line break between paragraphs. I know this has happened to me in the past if I cut and paste my trip report into the post window sometimes a blank line gets removed.

Looking forward to more!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2010, 10:15 AM
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One more day of vacation AND business class--not a difficult choice!

Enjoying your report, though these old eyes agree with LCI about line breaks.
ellenem is online now  
Old Mar 31st, 2010, 10:33 AM
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I indented when I wrote the report, but it does not appear in the text. i totally see what you are saying. I will definitely use line breaks from now on.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 07:41 AM
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Waiting for more to the great start
klondike is offline  
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