Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Let's jump ahead a few years and travel to Europe!

I must definitely be the worst blogger in history!  It's not that I don't think about blogging, I do.  And I enjoy posting and sharing as well!  I love posting our journeys - about our trips, my pics and our tales!  But somehow life gets in the way doesn't it?  It's unreal to me that my last post was years ago!  Not to mention TRIPS ago!  So, I'm going to skip some of the past few trips and I really do plan to come back to them.  They were fabulous and deserve their own posts!  But for now....

We're going to jump to the present and live my most recent trip of a lifetime! What we've come to call our Amazing European Adventure!  For those that want to follow along, a "little" trip to Italy to find our family roots, became a three week adventure that took us on two cruises which allowed us to see five countries!  We also spent time in Italy both between the cruises and after and most importantly, YES, we found our roots!

So, let's begin!  My parents decided about a year ago that they wanted to go to Italy.  Mainly this was my mom’s dream.  Of course, who doesn't dream of going to Italy? I know I do! But anyway, both of her grandfather’s came to America in the early 1900’s and she has wanted to go to see where her family came from for years.  Things began to fall into place so that her dream could come true this summer!  And not only did she want to go to Italy, but she wanted to bring me and my husband, and our two kids!    So it looks like we’d be heading to Italy!  It would be Mimi and Grandpop, both in their late 60’s, myself – the obsessive trip planner (Shelley) and Keith– we’re in our mid-40’s.  And our two kids, Alex and Megan, who are 13 and 11.

The thought of planning a trip like this was both overwhelming and exhilarating for me!  This was a dream come true – but where to begin?  We knew a cruise was the best way to see as much of Italy as we could in a short time, and also give the kids some time to be kids on the ship.  A break from the cathedrals and ruins and history.  Even if they loved every minute of every day, it would be a long trip and who doesn't love a waterslide, rock wall or ice rink after a good ruin?  Both of my parents had their wish list items, not to mention the criteria of the kids being out of school and not interfering with work schedules.  We couldn't find one cruise to check all of the boxes.  So – instead of trying to make one longer cruise work for us, we figured out a way to sail on RCL’s Navigator of the Seas Eastern Mediterranean Itinerary first, after which we had a quick whirlwind through Venice and Florence…. Then zip back to Civitavecchia to pick up the Norwegian Epic for a Western Mediterranean cruise!  Of course we couldn't leave Italy without a few days in Rome and then the all-important purpose of the entire trip finding my mom’s roots – trek to her grandfather’s hometown!  Simple right? 

So here we go!  We left for the airport on Friday, June 7th, It was raining HARD all day long.  I just kept thinking, please don’t let our flight be delayed or cancelled!  We had a direct flight out of PHL to FCO. It was a slow ride to the airport because of the rain, but we got there right on time and check in went smoothly.  And we waited….

We chose 3 rows of 2 seats on the right side towards the back of the plane and we settled in for our nearly 8 hour direct flight which is scheduled to arrive at 8:50 am Rome time! 

We all watched some movies on our personal seat entertainment systems.  What a great thing!  Dinner was served.  I had the pasta, can’t really complain.  Even came with a complimentary wine!  Alex ate nothing and I don’t think he even slept.  Around 9 pm they dimmed the lights and Megan was out.  We all tried to sleep – but at least she did.  One potentially happy child!  Whew!  I slept off and on for a few hours.  Mimi couldn't sleep at all.  G-pop dozed.  We woke around 6:00 am Rome time, that’s midnight our time!  So strange!  We were served a muffin top and I had coffee, Megan got tea as we flew over a breathtaking view of the French Alps.  This was going to be a good day! 

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