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Northern Italy Road Trip Part I

Author: Jim and Donna C. (More Trip Reviews by Jim and Donna C.)
Date of Trip: October 2010

venice canal italyThis is a travel journal of Jim and Donna Cox touring Northern Italy in October of 2010.  Most of the journal was written by Donna with Jim filling in some spots and taking over on those days when Donna was too busy to the log. 

We live in the United States, between Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.  Jim is 64, having just retired from the Boeing Company as an IT architect.  Donna is quite a bit younger, and was a special education teacher and professional portrait photographer.  Our hobbies include travel, motorcycle touring and photography.  We just gave up scuba diving last year.

Our European trip consisted of two parts.  The first part covered by this journal, was a road tour of Northern Italy outlined by Jim's colleague who was raised in Verona and now lives and works in Rome.  Many town names in this journal are Italian spellings, such as Genova instead of Genoa.  Sorry we were not consistent.

The second part of the trip was a transatlantic cruise from Civitavecchia, the cruise port for Rome, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The cruise was on board the m/s Westerdam, of the Holland America Line.  The cruise stopped in Italy, Monaco; three ports in Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Funchal, Madeira.  The cruise trip will be covered in a separate journal.

Jim did a lot of preparation for this trip via the Internet.  At the end of this journal, we have included a list of companies and services we used along with some web sites and general information you may find helpful. 

By the way, there are several references to "Lola" in the journal.  Lola is our Gamin Nuvi 660 GPS system loaded with European maps.  We found this a "MUST HAVE" for driving in Europe.  There are also references to "Donna Days".  A Donna Day is a beautiful warm sunny day.  Donna seems to have a knack for getting these days on our vacations.  

For luggage we limited ourselves to one 21" soft side suitcase each for clothes.  Donna's bag weighed 35 pounds; Jim's bag weighed 36 pounds.  In addition we allowed ourselves a 21" roll aboard each.  Donna's was mostly empty except for camera gear.  Jim's contained his CPAP machine, camera and Lola.  Donna's would be used for souvenirs and mementos as the trip progressed.   BTW we found we over packed -- again.   We both use Canon Rebel digital SLR camera systems.  Jim also uses a JVC hard disk video camera to record sound and movement.

Travel Journal:

Wednesday October 6, 2010 -- Federal Way, WA.   Clear and cool.

Everything has been packed and we are ready to go on our five-week trip.  It all started by taking the birds over to the bird sitter in Seattle on Sunday.   Interesting experience as it felt like leaving the kids with grandma.  Monday we finished getting the house ready for us to go.  Watered the flowers, covered the patio furniture, mowed the lawn and put the snow tires on Jim's car.  DHL came by and picked up our formal clothes for the ship.  They will be waiting for us in Rome -- hopefully.

Tuesday was house-cleaning day, finishing that up to a tee. Now we just have bed laundry on Wednesday, trash pickup and getting ourselves to the airport. 

Shuttle express picked us up around 1600.  We were the only ones on the van.  Got to the airport in plenty of time.  Checked in with British Airways, and had time to run over to Ex-Officio in the airport concourse to check out the latest.  Bought a couple of rain / sun hats just in case -- or just because.

Headed over to the gate and were able to use the business class lounge on my BA executive status.  Won't have that next year so take advantage while we can.  Boarded the flight - all the way back in coach this time.  Days of business class are over with my retirement from Boeing. 

We were able to get into the last three rows of coach where they have the double seat arrangements.  This gives a little extra room on the window side where the plane curves in. 

Flight for the most part was uneventful but a little bumpy at times, but the tail always wags the most.  Donna was able to get a little sleep on the plane, Jim still can't.

Thursday October 7, 2010 -- London, Clear and Cool

Arrived in London on time, perhaps a little early. Taxied around the airport about 10 minutes until we could deplane to catch the bus for the terminal.  Immigration was no problem.  Picked up luggage and breezed through customs -- no one there as usual. 

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