London, Rome, & Heart of Europe

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May 9th 2019
Published: May 9th 2019
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So this will be our last post for this trip. It has been an awesome trip and feels like we have been gone forever......this is day 25 away from home!! We are at JFK awaiting our flight to PIT at 9:30 We land there at 11:00 and then head for WV. No matter hw much I love to travel, my favorite part is coming home. While it may sound trite "There's no place like home!!"

This post will be a wrap up of the trip.....the things we loved, hated, laughed at, & found challenging. So, as Shealyn says, lets start at the very beginning....a very fine pace to start(obviously we watched The Sound of Music on the flight home). First of all we liked that we exchanged some money before we arrived. It helped us with transportation to our hotels.

In London we loved our hotel and Flavio (hotel worker). We LOVED breakfast was the best breakfast of the entire trip! Shealyn learned to eat catsup there. The London Pass was a waste of time and money for us but we loved the Hop on Hop off bus. It was easy to navigate. Bathrooms were free! Mamma Mia was awesome and we couldn't have asked for better treatment there with our ticket mishap. We couldn't have asked for better weather but we wish we would have thought about Good Friday being a holiday for some attractions and shops. One of the highlights was the high tea we had at the Bailey House Hotel! Shealyn's highlight was TK Maxx (TJ Maxx) and we had fun there. We loved that we went to a Good Friday church service there!

Next up was Rome. It started out a little rough when our driver pulled up to our apartment and it wasn't where I thought it should be!!! However, it turned out much better and it was our favorite accommodations of the entire trip. We were so glad we went to see the Vatican the first night there and did a skip the line tour. It was not very crowded but we were surprised by the irreverence of the crowd and the workers! Some of our challenges were the language barrier. ...we found less people spoke English there. We had to walk a lot more to catch the hop on hop off bus. Gelato was amazing! Shealynn found the electric difficult..this is where she got shocked. We thought Italian food was the best we had anywhere!

Next up we joined the guided tour. For some reason the tour guide didn't like us right off the bat! It was all because of our carry on (hand luggage). She didn't want to let us put it under the bus and there wasn't room for it on the bus. We worked around her by sweet talking the bus drive. As it turned out many people had "hand luggage" and put it under the bus....not sure why she singled us out. It was still evident the next day when she put us in the back of the bus where we remained for much of the trip. We did finally work our way up to the front for a couple days and then it was straight to the back for the rest of the trip! Needless to say her tip was a little sparse. The bus driver, however, got rewarded greatly for treating us so good.

Challenges were being on a time limit (we were used to doing our own thing at our own pace). We felt rushed as in some cities we only had a half hour to look around. That was a waste of time for us. Electric continued to be a challenge....not enough outlets, had to use your keycard to turn the electric on in the rooms. They seem not to believe in air conditioning. We were always hot and had to open windows to cool the rooms. There were the half shower doors and adjusting the water for showers was difficult. The water seemed very, very soft and made it hard on our hair. Many bad hair days there. German and French food were our least favorite. We hated the 1 night hotel stays because you felt you couldn't unpack as your suitcase had to be in the hall by 6:30 or 7:00 am.

We had many things to laugh about but probably the best was when Marsha bought hand and facial wipes in Germany and used them as such. Turns out they were toilet wipes! We are still laughing! Marsha really had difficulty making food purchases. She bought a breakfast sandwich that she thought had eggs and tomatoes....turns out it was smoked salmon and eggs! UCK!! She lao had a terrible time buying water. Europeans like carbonated (sparkling, fizzy, gassed) and Marsha invariably bought that instead of the natural water. It was nasty stuff!! Shealyn and Marsha had the incident with Marsha not being able to get up from a picture pose in Keukenhof. An older lady helped her up while Shealyn fell apart laughing!!

My favorite laughing matter happened in Frankfurt. Shealyn wanted to get something for her students so we decided candy was the way to go. We loved Kinder Bueno bars so we decided to take the train to Frankfurt and find a Muller Store ( like a crisis between a pharmacy and a KMart). We walked about twenty minutes only to learn there was a subway right across the street. We bought the candy and headed back to the airport hotel. As we got off the train we spied a grocery store. Right inside the door....a big candy display!! You guessed it...the same candy we chased around Frankfurt for, right at the airport for the same price!!! We laughed and laughed!

We’ve learned that airports don’t have enough signage and it’s even worse when it’s in a foreign language. We were lost a couple of times. The best one was when I asked the cop where was Terminal 1 and he looked at me weird and said “You’re standing in it!” Of course my worst airport issue was packing my batteries in my checked bag and having to retrieve it once it had already gone to cargo hold!! While none of us look anything out of the ordinary you do become a suspect when X-ray reveals you have something hidden in your bra!! As we got off the plane I grabbed my earplugs and iPod and stuck them in my bra. I forget they were there but X-ray caught it!! I got the complete pat and luggage check!! Live and learn.

Probably my favorite thing was having dinner with Hans Logeman! Hans was our German exchange student 1994-1995. I hadn’t seen him in nine years. He took the train from his home in Cologne, Germany to the Frankfurt airport. We had a great time reliving old memories and talking about people in our lives during that time. Hans was a lawyer and is now a judge. Quite appropriate as he always liked to argue. It was a very special evening although my memory is much better than his!!

It was a great trip and we’d do it again in a heartbeat. We met some great new people and really hope to remain connected with some of them. Most of all we are glad to be home.

Picture on this post will be from our favorites!! Enjoy!

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