We're in Sienna!

So far we've been to Rome, Naples, Sorrento, and Siena. We have Florence, Venice, and Milan to go, and, time permitting, Parma and Modena. Not everywhere has internet cafes, so only the Shadow knows when I will next be able to post.

We saw the ruins of two cities that were burried by Vesuvius: Herculaneum and Pompeii. Herculaneum was much smaller, but a higher-class neighborhood, and was better preserved. Pompeii was lower class, but HUGE. It was eerie to walk along the same streets that people did 2000 years ago. It also brought home how dark the Dark Ages really were in comparison.

Naples had some reasonable areas, but has realy earned its reputation as a dirty, seedy city. The main attraction was the archaeological museum which held all the artifacts found in Herculaneum and Pompeii, but those exhibits were closed. :(

In Sorrento they have a special drink called Limoncello, which is a lemon-flavored liquer. We bought some from a restaurant owner who only makes it to sell at his restaurant, but made some especially for us.

My new favorite sandwich consists of a small, round loaf of bread cut in half, with a hot dog and french fries in the middle. I suppose it's more my favorite sandwich to mock, since I haven't actually had one.

Italian keyboards are weird. Double quotes are above the 2, while the apostrophe is next to the 0. And the question mark is above the apostrophe.

Last night we both had truffles for the first time. Crostini (toast) with cheese and olive oil on top and thinly-sliced truffle flakes on top of that. Truffles are the best mushrooms I've ever had, but in the end they're still mushrooms. Very good, though. Cathy had gnocci with a delicious meat sauce, and I had spaghetti with bits of bacon, with a sauce of olive oil and egg, also very good. For the second plate we split some thinly-sliced roast beef in an excellent rosemary sauce. We had the house wine, Chianti, since that's where we are, and the waiter (who never smiled) brought out some sparkling white wine (Prosecco) with the bread at the beginning. For desert we had a fruit salad with chunks of orange, kiwi, and excellent pear. The restaurant was really cute, too, an old-timey bistro kind of place, with a couple of tables of Italians talking and laughing and having a great time. It was a very nice evening.

Ciao! Arrivaderci!

The miracles of science

We got a SIM card for our cell phone, and we get free incoming calls, so if you want to reach us, here's how: Our number is 328-434-6951. Italy's ountry code is 39. I think you dial 00-39-328-434-6951 to reach us, but check first.

Greetings from Roma, earthlings

The Turtles made it to Italy just fine. The leg we flew on British airways was horrible, with the plane falling apart, no windowshade as the setting sun streamed directly in my window, and for our "meal", a coleslaw and cheese sandwich with mushy white bread. :P

The United leg was great, since we got to sit in Economy plus with both a window and an aisle seat as the plane had a 2-5-2 arrangement. I felt sorry for the people in the middle of the 5.

The toilet I used at Heathrow was possessed, and when I flushed it spat water in all directions. I wasn't drenched, but I ran to the other end of the stall and felt a couple of drops hit my forearms, so I'm pretty sure it got a bunch of direct hits on the back of my jeans and shirt. Luckily, the hotel we're at has laundry service. It's kind of a shame to have to use it on the first day, but that's taking "eau de toilette" a little too far.

After all the stress about getting our baggage to be under 6 kg, they didn't even weight it. In fact, a bunch of people had 2 bags, each of which was obviously too heavy. *sigh* At least the rest of the trip will be easier since we don't have as much to lug around. It already paid off as we ended up walking for about an hour around Heathrow airport, up and down stairs, and we could just zoom by everyone else. I took a moment to stop and laugh at everyone at baggage claim, too.

Stay tuned, loyal readers (reader?), I'll keep you posted on the further adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Turtle.


I managed to find some boots that fit me today. I generally can't wear shoes with lots of leather on top, because it tends to press against my bunions and hurt a lot. I found some nice ones today with leather that's soft enough to be comfortable. I've been wearing them for the past 8 or 9 hours and my feet feel fine. Plus they're waterproof so I won't have to worry about splashing around in Italian puddles.

Italia II!

The turtles leave for Italy in 10 hours. It's about time for me to get some sleep.

The travel agent scheduled a pretty tight connection between our United flight and our British Airways flight, especially since BA doesn't play nice and won't check through bags from non-partner airlines. I told her we'll be traveling with all carryons, so it shouldn't be a problem. That was before I found out that British Airways only allows a single carryon per person, with a weight limit of 13 pounds (actually, 6 kilos). So now the challenge is to get everything in at around 12 pounds... Not an easy task.

Mrs. Turtle is allowed to bring a purse, which helps a lot. We can also wear all of our cold-weather gear, and fill said gear with all the heavy items. Right now I'm at about 5.5 kilos, with 3 or so pounds of stuff carried. I think we'll be able to pull it off!

For men!

Apparently men also need to perform self-examinations. But please, wash your hands when you're done.


It's official: the Turtles will be honeymooning in Italy. We're going to try to go with all carry-ons, which should be interesting. It would be simple in the summer, but in the middle of winter it'll be a challenge.

A common bit of wisdom says that the best time to pack for a trip is when you return from one. With that in mind, I did a run-through (pack-through?) when I returned from my back-to-back Japan and Australia trips, which happened not too long after the soon-to-be Mrs. Turtle and I went to Spain. I realized that I needed much less than I had been bringing, and I'm pretty sure I can get everything to fit into my backpack now.

Also, after all that travel I ended up as a Premier on United, so on this trip we got the Premier economy seats, which are 3 or 4 inches further apart than normal economy seats. It doesn't seem like much, but I had those seats on my Japan trip and the extra few inches made a huge difference.

And yes, you read correctly. I'm not a Premier Member or a Premier Flier, I'm simply a Premier. For example: "As a Premier(R), your options include..." I'm not sure which genius marketer thought that up, but they should not have their job.