"Italians are just like Mexicans...well...more like Arabs...with shoes."
Just getting out of the airport was tuff. Trying to communicate with the people on the other side of the desk about my lost luggage was a hassle. I had to leave baggage claim guarded by men with machine guns to get my brother's address and phone number in Germany for Alitalia Airlines to deliver my luggage if ever found. When I left to talk to my family, which was worried I never made the flight becuase it took me so long to emerge, I couldn't get back in. I had to wander through yet another security check and eventually made it back to baggage claim. The jist was that I'd be lucky if I ever saw my luggage again. I suspect I should have stapled my passport to my bag. It'd come back to me with more stamps that it would if it traveled with me.
When in the car, we found out that you have to park on the side of the road to a little pay place and block traffic before you can go the gate to leave the air port. My dad, being the optimistic that he is, was instianly complaining about the people, cost, traffic and every other person on the road. His main complaint was that everyone drove fast and went where they wanted. His problem was that as a result he couldn't get around. "I refuse to drive like that."
"Well, Dad, When in Rome...and I remind you that we actually are in Rome."
Rome wasn't built in a day, but I think the roads were. We got to our hotel and since I only had my carry on, unpacking was a cinch. Then we went out to eat at one of the many pizzareas that dot the landscape. Right when we first sit down the stereotypical italian chef yells out "Marco!" Instinctively, I yelled back, "Pollo!"
He found me.
The pizza is flat and missing some toppings. Many styles are even lacking the cheese. Still we ate till our hearts content and finnished off with the best part of Europe; the ice cream. Oh, to die for. If you are ever out this way, I highly recomend it.
The next day we were preparing to go visit the vatican. It was revealed to us the one cannot gain admission to the Vatican unless you are wearing pants. It was my luck that I only had on my shorts as all other clothes was probably visiting Burbah and would not be joining me for another week.
I discovered that most any other mans pants can fit you, as long as the belt can reach around you even if the pants button or zipper cannot. Thanks to both my brother-in-law and father for the clothes. I did wear, and still am wearing, my same pair of underwear since at least before the flight.
The Vatican was beautiful. A bit gaudy...I think I may have discovered the origin of that word now. When we were in the Cisteen chapel, they forbade anyone from taking any pictures. This was understood as flash can ruin the pain wtih time. The part I didn't understand was why no one cound take any film of it either. The guards would hunt you down if they caught you. My sister LaDawn makes a decent human shield for being so small.
The next day was our day in Venice. I had suspected that the old tales of the streets being all water and all the "cars" boats were myths. They are not. You must have a boat of your own or figure out the "bus" system to get from island to island, although most of the islands are now connected by small bridges. We took a gondilla ride. It was something else. It truly is a floating city. I saw my parents on one end, my father fell asleep from all the excitment. My sister and her husband were cuddling on the other end. My single brother and I made a poor couple. I never did find my wife in time for this event. And all the single girls out there knew this would be a free honeymoon. I had no actual takers...
We left Italy behind us the next day after brief sights of the Roman Colleseum and other ruins. I came to find out that my family had already seen the leaning tower of Piza and all of France including the Effiel Tower, the Arc De Le Trumph and the Luve. I will not get to see them, so I missed out of France. Sure makes me glad I was busy working on my history paper about the place instead. I have yet to really see Germany. I have been in 4 countrys so far and have 2 more weeks, mostly in the same place.
One thing I plan to do now is eat all of the German chocolate I can while the gettins good.