Published: June 18th 2010June 17th 2010
From the Monastery where The English Patient was filmed ;-)
Dear Blog Readers, time to answer a few questions...
1) In some of the pictures, I see "dots" on your shirts, what are they?
A) Those are the stickers that you must wear when you are on a "tour". This way the guide knows who's in their group.
2)In Barcelona, you are wearing something around your neck, what is it?
A) These are called "Whispers" and they have earpieces like on an IPOD. The leader of a tour group talks into a microphone and you can hear them. They are really great as you can wander a little way from the group to take pictures, or whatever, and still hear the leader and not get lost ;-)
3)Is it hard to get your train reservations?
A) Good question. It is sometimes hard to figure out who can help you. Not all agents speak English (in fact on our trip I would say that about 30% speak some English, 60% hardly any and 10% you are so relieved as they understand you. So knowing some Italian like, "I need a ticket to Rome", "When does the train to Venice leave?" really helps.Of course they answer you in Itaian It also helps to know the Italian words for ticket, platform, station, etc. If you're thinking of coming let me know and I'll give you a list. All the Italian books that we had were helpful but... in the end never seemed to have the phrase we needed I thank my lucky stars everyday that I lived with my Italian grandparents for 5 years when I was little, amazing how much is still stored somewhere in the brain ;-)
4) Is it hard to drive in Italy?
A) Not at all...you do need to be able to drive a stick shift as an automatic will cost you an arm and a leg. The roads are clearly marked but get a little confusing at crossings as the signs will point to your town but sometimes it is unclear whether that means straight ahead or turn. Italians drive on the same side of the street we do... so pretty easy.
5) How were you able to pack for 10 weeks in a 21" duffle?
A) AH we get asked this all the time... I'll be glad to give you a list if you're thinking of doing it. A few hints, think BLACK, roll clothes tightly, bring "quick dry clothes", wash in hotel sinks whenever you can, don't try to be a fashionista.
Hope this helps...keep sending those questions along!!! ;-)