Well, it’s all over and my feet are, more or less, firmly planted back in “reality” again. We had a fabulous time and took a ton of pictures which I will be sprinkling into my posts for the next few weeks.
Two weeks is a long time to be on vacation and for me, it was the longest I’d been away from home for a long time. Two weeks is enough time to break out of your routine and your old habits. It’s enough time to “clear your head” and maybe reassess your priorities while you step a little out of your comfort zone and experience a new culture for a while.
It’s also plenty of time to learn a few new things so I thought I’d share a few lessons.
“Hostel” is not a bad word. When you say “hostel”, most people thing of a small room, jam-packed with young people sleeping on bunk beds. I know I did. But we stayed in a few hostels and really, they can be just like a hotel. We had our own room and a private bathroom so it was really no different than a traditional hotel except for the price!
Stick with the house wine. Our first meal in Rome, we ordered a bottle of wine which sounded good but it wasn’t on the wine list so we didn’t know how much it was. It was silly, I know, and it ended up being the most expensive bottle we have ever purchased. From then on, we stuck to the half liter of the house red.
I seriously love pizza. I already knew this but I didn’t realize how deep my love of pizza ran until I had the chance to eat it everywhere we went. Italian pizza is different than American pizza but damn is it ever delicious!
Jellyfish #!@$ing hurt. I guess I might not have mentioned it until now but the Mrs and I are both certified scuba divers. When we were in Sorrento, Italy, we planned to do two dives but ended up only doing one, as the place was overrun with the slimy, stinging bastards. We both got stung during the first dive and that put a damper on the whole experience. The one dive we did was still one of the best dives ever (and our first cave dive).
Give yourself some “off” days. The temptation is to cram your limited vacation days with as much activity as possible, to make the most of them. But you’re there to enjoy yourself and too much activity will wear you out! Who wants to set an alarm every morning of your vacation? I know I don’t! Give yourself a few days with no concrete plans and just enjoy your surroundings.
I’m a real home-body. I really enjoy traveling, but by the time we were done, I was ready to be home. In fact, the only reason I didn’t get homesick sooner was all the moving around we did.
Your American debit card will work in Europe. I mentioned previously that we had a bit of a cash crunch when we ran out of Euros on our pre-paid European credit card. We were under the assumption that our American cards wouldn’t work in most places in Europe because they have a chip instead of a magnetic strip. This assumption was just plain false and our debit card worked at every ATM we tried. In fact, our bank gave us a better exchange rate than the company who sold us the pre-paid card.
And finally: Human nature has remain unchanged for thousands of years. This was the underlying theme of our trip through ancient Rome and the ruins of Pompeii. We’re the same as we were then. Our hopes, desires, fears are all the same, even after all this time.
I’m sure I could go on for a while but my jet-lagged brain is telling me it needs a rest. We had an absolute blast during the last two weeks but I’m looking forward to some normalcy and a renewed focus on the ultimate goal and purpose of this blog: financial independence!