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We were picked up at 7:30 by our driver and Mary--she arrived promptly at 7:15 to pick up the phone.  We had used it a few times for reservations etc, and tour bookings so it did come in handy.  Thanks, Untours!  We got to the Rome airport in plenty of time and managed to check in with Alitalia.  Somehow in the online process we had lost our seats that had been booked, but still got seats together in the middle of the plane, so no problem.  We were about half and hour late leaving Rome, which worried me some since we only had 1 hour 40 minutes in Boston.  We arrived the half hour late, went through customs and immigration (where thankfully they waved us on through without a suitcase check; if they had not, we would have missed our flight.)  So we rechecked the one bag and literally started running to get to the departure gate.  We had to take a bus to another terminal and then ran more--and as they were announcing our departure and making last call we got on board the flight to Atlanta. Some nice folks took backpacks out of the overhead so we could cram our (very small international sized) carry-on in the compartment.  Then we had an uneventful ride to the South.  From there, we ran again to catch our final connection and arrived at the gate with five whole minutes to spare.  Because I had bought the tickets with AMEX, we had priority boarding so didn't have to worry about getting out carry on bags in the compartment for that one.  Another hour long uneventful flight (the best kind) and we arrived home, to be met by my brother, bless his heart.  He took us to get a burger and it was great!  Then we arrived home, took a deep breath, called the cat, (who came inside with a look like 'where have you been?) and relaxed for the first time in twenty three hours.  We were so tired!  It is days later that I finish this blog...

Here are things we learned on this trip related to travel:

  • Take a backpack for Amalfi.  Even if you don't usually carry one, you will be glad you did.  And it can be a piece of checked baggage if you buy too much lemoncello!
  • Be sure your shoes are comfortable, not new.  Non slip soles too, will help.  I threw in a knee brace and an ace bandage.  We used both.  Rhea tripped on a Pompeii rock and twisted his ankle somewhat, so he used the bandage. I used the brace because I did something to my knee before we left.  Just sayin...
  • Unless you are a glutton for punishment, don't schedule more than two flights per day.  We did three out and three back and will not do that again.  Even if we spend more money.
  • You can lighten your load on return by taking old comfy shoes and ditching them, along with old sleep shirts, curling irons, even underwear!  You were gonna ditch it at home anyway, right?  And there is no law that says you must buy all new things for a trip.  You are never gonna look like an Italian anyway.  They will always pick you out as a tourist. Sure, look nice (we never wore jeans, logo t-shirts, white tennis shoes, fanny packs, or sleeveless tops) but you are not going to be able to ship enough luggage to dress like they do!  
  • Be kind and courteous.  You are the guest.  Learn some language.  Try it out--if you don't pronounce it correctly, they will tell you how!  Be patient.
  • Guard your money by wearing a necklace type money belt.  Or get some of those pants with zip pocket inside the main pocket.  Only take enough for the day, and take one credit card.  Leave your passport in your apartment.  Carry a copy of it if you must. we had absolutely no problems in Rome, but wouldn't know if they had tried either.  Pickpockets are quite adept.

OK, that's it.  We are already talking about our next adventure and think it will be a cruise next time.  We shall see!  Happy travels to all of you!


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