Saturday, September 21, 2013

Italy, Day 1 and 2

It has proven to be much more difficult than I had anticipated to blog.  In my head I was blogging everyday or two, dutifully keeping those who care updated on our progress and experiences here in beautiful Italia.  Alas, all I have trip-to-date are snags and excuses....but I press on!  These photos are a bit scattered, but they are finally loaded, so we're going with it.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly on our travel day:

Day One I'll begin in Italy, as opposed to Day -One, which began at home, slowing getting rid of one child at a time, throwing items into a suitcase and doing last minute work and cleaning before being on our way to the airport at 3 pm, for our 6:30 flight out of Boston.

Upon landing in Italy, after getting our passports stamped, the first order of business was to collect our luggage and get some euros. Avery and I went for the luggage, while Shaun went to get some cash. We had success with the luggage (yay!) but Shaun reported some trouble with the cash. Our Amex was not accepted and our MasterCard debit card was denied.

Ah...we should have told bank we'd be traveling. No problem, we'll just call them now here at the airport. Wait, our phone is not working. But I called and added international to it before we left. Hmmm...well, we have to call from a pay phone. But wait...we have no money.

So, we are minutes into a foreign country, with no money and no working phone....on very little sleep and in need of food.

Fortunately, the airport had a trial half hour of Internet that we got onto with our laptop. I chatted online with the phone company and was able to get the right settings combination for international use. Meanwhile, Shaun paid for our rental car with the Amex, which they did accept.

We were on our way!  Except Shaun's phone charger had an issue.  It would not stay plugged in unless we were holding the cord just right.  The phone that we needed for GPS and the phone we needed to use to get our credit card working.

When I finally got in tough with the bank, they told me Italy is a blocked country. Because of all the fraud that's originated from here, they just put a block on any transactions....including upstanding people trying to buy  a little water!

We were worried about covering the tolls along our route.  We stopped and I used Spanish to speak to the non-English speaking woman at the rest area.  She assured me it would not cost more than 3 or 4 Euro.

Finally we arrived, after getting lost just minutes from the hotel.  We were tired, smelly, frazzled.  Dinner was just being served, so we downed some food, Avery drank all the water she'd been hoping for earlier in the day and then we fell into bed, hopeful that tomorrow would be a new day.

I know what you're thinking:

Why didn't you....?
I would have....
You could have.... 
You should have...

And you are right.  These first day troubles just point to one thing....clearly we have not done enough traveling lately and are a little rusty.  Clearly.  We'll have to fix that.  :)

Avery was tickled with our rental car.  She had a nice cozy seat in the back squished next to our luggage.

A few country side pictures on our drive from Rome to Bellaria (roughly four hours).

Day 2 ~ After a nice buffet breakfast, the crew hauled steel pipes the half mile from the hotel to the convention center and got to work.
The strip of beach and hotels seems to go on forever along the Adriatic Sea, though its off season so we have the beach to ourselves other than the faithful local walkers.

Breakfast.  Its so rare to find good fruit available while traveling.  Its in abundance here and I've been grateful!
Doing 3rd and 11th grade work together.  :)
That little white hotel is ours...Hotel Principe

Toes in the is good today!

Sweet surprise in our room.

We walk through this wonderful town square several times a day to and from the convention center.  I love everything about it and it reminds me a bit of the outer court of Quincy Market in Boston, but on a much more intimate, quaint scale.

At the convention center, trying to sort through the rental equipment....ours and the band's, what works, what doesn't.  As one might expect, a mess!

Shaun and the worship leader getting down to business.
Random pictures along our walk...

I don't know what this sign means, but it looks suspiciously like the girls and I doing a mad, almost late dash to school some mornings.  :)


Meg A. said...

YAY for an update with photos! Can't wait to see more!!

sara said...

Lisa! I have missed something!!! what are you doing in Italy?!!!! the pictures are beautiful!!

Ashley Beth said...

Looks amazing, despite the little bumps in the road! We have some friends who are involved in "Fire Choir" which is a somewhat similar outreach ministry in the Netherlands that focuses on bringing the Gospel to European countries through entertainment. Exciting work indeed!

Amy Joy said...

Hooray! Loved seeing a little bit of what's going on. Thank you for the update! Keep up the good work!

The Bug said...

How exciting! I'm glad you made it to the hotel so Avery could get some water :)

Melody said...

What a lovely town!
Sorry about your first day troubles.I feel like no matter how much you plan in advance there's always some challenge that comes up with international travel. Awesome job making it work :)