Staying inside during these cold winter days and nights has given me plenty of time to think about our upcoming trip. Most of the thinking has been: “Will we be able to go and safely enjoy ourselves ?”, but other thoughts about where we’re staying and what flights will be available have also crept in. So I have been trying to focus on that which I can control.
With our itinerary confirmed, we have the dates locked in to book our flights. As you may know or might have surmised, there are not as many flight options as there used to be. The airlines have cut back the number of flights on many of their routes – our routes included. We are spoiled and picky (it’s a fact) when it comes to flights; we prefer direct flights from and to the US.
After looking at many fare compare tools and airline websites, we narrowed the list down to Delta and United. Most of the others that were eliminated were due to multiple stops on the way over, with short layovers. After comparing flight times and layovers, we decided on the friendly skies of United!
We were able to book Buffalo to Newark to Venice on the way over, with reasonable layovers and flight times. On the way home it will be Rome to Washington DC to Buffalo, again with reasonable layovers. Not quite the Holy Grail, but we were glad to book now and save a few dollars.
We’ve also been in contact with our travel consultant in Piedmont to help organize some activities while we’re staying in Alba. Valerie Quintinella, proprietor of the Girl’s Gotta Drink website, helped when we were last in Piedmont to coordinate winery visits and tastings, a cooking class and made suggestions for dining choices. We’re looking forward to seeing and working with her again.
While in the midst of a house renovation, my desk papers are scattered between numerous boxes. Some days, just trying to find my folders is a challenge. However, my real challenge is searching through Italian websites looking for some entertainment while we are there. Their system of listing things like concerts, operas or shows is confusing, at least to me, in that they typically list by venue. I’m searching for the magic website that is all inclusive, but so far it has proved elusive.
We are also looking at the offerings from Daytrip. They provide transportation between locations and provide opportunities to stop for some sightseeing along the way. We have a couple of longer train journeys that we can replace with Daytrip rides. It would save us a few hours and also allow us to stop and see some things that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to see, since they are not near train stations. I also like the idea of sitting in a comfortable vehicle and not having to haul luggage on and off trains multiple times. It’s definitely more expensive than taking the train. However, there is a significant time savings, backache-saving and door-to-door factors to consider. And, the ability to stop for a little sightseeing along the way.
Currently, Italy is open to vaccinated travelers. There is no quarantine necessary upon arrival or in any of the locations we will be visiting – but that can change quickly. To fly home, we’ll have to get a Covid test in Rome, but my understanding is that they are easily available.
Our fingers are crossed as we watch the updates.