Italy in October - 2 weeks with senior

Sep 1st, 1997, 03:27 PM
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Italy in October - 2 weeks with senior

My mom (73 years old) and I are going to spend the last two weeks of October in Italy traveling by train. our tentative itinerary is Milan - Como - Mantua - Venice - Rome - Assisi - Siena/Florence - Cinqua Terre - Milan, but nothing is set in stone yet except the flight in and out of Milan. Any suggestions for our route, hotels (under $100/night), or traveling tips for seniors? My mom is worried about not being able to find WCs when we need them. Thanks much for any advice.
Sep 1st, 1997, 09:18 PM
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Hope you are flying first class. I can't imagine anyone of your mother's age going coach. I have a couple of websites for you: In Excite Search Engine go to I also E-mailed them to see if they could answer your question on W.C's. I have been to Germany, Holland and England but not Italy so expected W.C's to be ok but for the fun of it went in to Alta Vista Search Engine and typed in "toilet facilities and access in Italy" and up came "stalls of shame" with photographs of some (I hope-worst case senarios) for toilets in Italy. This is at Apparently there are some restrooms in this country where all you get is a porcelin fixture on the floor with a hole in it which you stand over. Yuck!! Maybe some experienced travelers of Italy can shed some light on this dilema!
Sep 3rd, 1997, 02:20 PM
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Forgot to mention the following website: It has lots of articles and another travel forum with specific topics including traveling with an elder.
Sep 13th, 1997, 01:45 PM
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Tricia's opening remark, that she can't imagine a 73-year-old woman travelling in coach, that she should go first class, is the most pompous, idiotic statement I have ever heard. Tricia obviously spends 90%25 of her time looking up absolutely every-
thing for everybody on the Net, but somehow she neglected to look up the cost of a first class ticket, round trip from LAX (I'm reasonably sure you are from So. Calif.) to Milan. I did, and it is $8,269. Of course, for the two of you, that would be "only" $16,538. My cousin, who is 70 and going economy, just got a round trip LAX-Milan for $563 from American. Granted it was a good deal but it can be done. Anyway, Tricia admits she has never been to Italy, and I feel she would do better to limit her comments, particularly negative ones, to places she has been. I have seen hole-in-the-floor facilities, which she seems to think are all that exist in Italy, in Macau, Yugoslavia and far flung spots in Greece, but never in Italy. I'm sure they probably do exist out in the boonies somewhere, but I have never encountered them in Rome, Florence, Milan, or any of the major cities. As someone with first-hand experience noted in your other listing, McDonald's always has good facilities, along with Wendy's, Burger King, and all of our fast food restaurants which are all over the globe. I would advise, though, that you always carry a day's supply of TP in a zip lock bag, as it is frequently missing from many of the WCs. I am happily heading for my fourth trip in Italy. I'll be writing to you privately on some other thoughts. I'm too mad right now to continue.
Sep 13th, 1997, 09:44 PM
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Can't add to Italy or anything for seniors, but about the toilet debate, yes, I've seen those in a bus station and in a cafe in Paris. Tricky for a 70 year old, but for the rest, that's what makes traverlling the world so interesting! You're brave travelling with a senior.
Sep 14th, 1997, 04:47 AM
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Debbie, I have travelled the world with my mother, who is going to 80 on 6 November, and have just returned from 2 weeks in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary with her. Italy has been one of our favorite destinations on previous trips (most recently last year). The trans-Atlantic flight will whack hell out of her for about 24 to 48 hours, so stick close to Milan for the first couple of days. After that you can travel well. I think, frankly, your itinerary is a bit ambitious for two weeks -- my question is are you passing by these places on a coach or actually planning to spend time VISITNG them and getting the feel of them? If so, cut a couple of places out so you can better enjoy the ambiance of the ones you retain. Keep Venice and Fierenza (Florence) on your list if you have never done them before, and Assisi also but try to pare down the others. Sidewalks/roadways in Italy are very often cobbled so be sure Mom brings walking shoes that are flat and comfortable and well worn in (one year my Mom brought brand new walking shoes which she then had to break it -- she was tortured by them!). Very few of the bathrooms you are likely to visit on your proposed itinerary are likely to be primitive, but in any case, aside of hotels which always provide toilet paper always bring packs of Kleenex for toiletry necessities (I bring 8 - 10 packs over with me). Many public toilets in Italy have a small fee for their use, or they have ladies whom I refer to universally as Anna Maria's who clean the place and who have a little saucer for "tips". Be prepared for this. Also be prepared for gypsy women and their children clustered in these frequently used sites. Be firm, so no clearly and give nothing to the kids and do not be persuaded by any of the ladies to "buy" the pieces of flowers they sometimes try to sell outside churches etc. Once distracted by this kind of activity you can be robbed without even knowing it. This aside, October in Italy is a wonderful time -- free of the hordes of tourists there in mid-summer. You should have a wonderful time. Lanny
Sep 14th, 1997, 11:48 AM
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On the subject of good walking shoes, I have broken my feet years ago and arthritis has set in. I was looking for running shoes when someone told me about Mephisto's. Made in Germany. They made my trip. They come men or womens, boot, oxford or sandle. If you wear orthotics you can throw them out as they are build into Mephisto's. They actually correct your posture. I paid $120 here in US and saw them in Holland for abouty $40 less so you might want to buy them there. There is no breaking in period. They fit like a glove. In southern calif they are at South Coast Plaza,Orange County and a little shoe shop on Balboa Island!!
Sep 14th, 1997, 04:36 PM
r bakhaus
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I would like to support the idea that the itinerary is a bit ambitious...for anyone, not just a senior. Unfortunately Milan is not a wonderful place to begin, but rest you must for a day anyway. You can probably book a hotel from the airport, if not then the train station. The bus transportation from the airport actually takes you to the train station (Centrale). For two weeks, you may be able to buy a train pass if you do so ahead of time..check travel agent. I've been to Italy many times...try Milan, Venice, Assisi, Florence, Siena....then if you're feeling rested and not too overwhelmed work your way north to the Cinque Terra for a day or two. Remember that you will need to spend the night in Milan the evening before your departure as the bus trip to the airport is 45-60 min and you must arrive 2 hours prior to your flight. Have a wonderful time......I have spent as many weeks as you're trying to do all those cities in Venice... and still returned 6 times (so far)....hope to return many more. You'll be exhausted and unfulfilled, believe me if you try to do so much. The weather should be cool and wonderful!
Sep 18th, 1997, 06:22 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I have heeded advise and simplified our itinerary. We will (immediately) train to Varenna and relax for two days, then to Venice for three nights, Rome for four nights, Florence for three nights, and Milan for the last three. If we feel like it we will take day trips to Assisi, Siena, Mantua. We have our Rail passes and our hotel reservations at all locations. I used Rick Steves and amazingly got reservations at the first hotels I called in each city except for Rome where I had to call three hotels before I found one with the availability. I have FAX confirmations from four of the five and had to mail two of them a cashier's check for the first night to reserve. The others took a credit card number via FAX. It was fun to make the calls and try to parle a little italiano. We will be on the lookout for McDonalds for facilities - a brilliant suggestion.

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