So much research goes into self guided travel…

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I spend hours upon hours pouring over the old Lonely Planet Italy guide book and days  on the internet.

My initial website search on train travel form Venice to Naples led me to believe that I had to wait till 30 days out before booking the midnight train, sleeper car accommodations.  So I did just that.  Now it seems that the midnight direct train no longer exists.   Crap.  Our lodgings in Venice, Ischia and Rome are already booked and there is a gap of July 3rd with no place to stay.  What to do?  Do we try to extend our stay in Venice if possible, spend a night in Naples or see if we can arrive a day earlier at our hotel in Ischia? I went  into scramble mode.  First Jene said he would try to book Ischia for the additional day yesterday, but weary from working 14 hour days, it completely slipped his mind.   Back and forth on whether to stay in Venice an extra day or book an overnight in Naples.  We opted for Naples (since that’s where we must go to tour Pompeii, etc).  So that’s done, phew!  Next: I booked our train travel:Venice to Naples/ Naples to Rome

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unknown photographer

In my www perusing, I came upon a more economical way to get from Naples to Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius and Herculaneum – by commuter train (Circumvesuivian) from the Stazione Centrale.  I’ve read reviews from other travelers.  It’s a graffiti clad old train full of pocket- picking gypsies so traveler beware.  Other than being a little seedy,  I’m sure  it’s fine.  One traveler’s review said that descending the stairs at the station to the Circumvesuivian’s lower platform was like going from heaven to hell.   Pick-pocketers are everywhere and yes befuddled tourists are their main targets.  (Jene’s wallet was lifted in an internet cafe in St. Petersburg).  We certainly won’t put the girls in harm’s way.  Spending 400-500 Euro for a private tour ride plus entrance fees seems like highway robbery to me.  I’d rather take my chances with the pickpockets, at least they entertain you with music as they steal from you.

Because we waited on line for 2 hours without moving up to see the David when we were in Florence in Oct. 2006, we never got in to see the David, group tours were allowed access with a short wait).  We believe that it has become necessary to book tours in the eternal city in the height of the summer tourist season.  So which one?  More hours on the internet reading about different guided tour companies and reviews, comparing prices.  Most of which don’t include the price of admission to the attractions.  (Please let me hit the lottery for big bucks).  But in reading recent reviews about “fast trak” tickets, people were saying that the “fast trak” line was longer than the regular ticket line.  So, I/m a bit perplexed.  I’d hate to spend additional money just to wait in a longer line

So what have I done so far:  Not much!  Flights, all accommodations are booked, train travel between Venice /Naples and Naples/Rome.  I have ferry schedules and early morning check-outs to make our connections.  In the process of booking a 2 hour painting mini course for me and the girls at Ca’Macana .

_MG_0114Me, I’m looking forward to my morning coffee in Venice.  I can almost taste the robust (but not bitter) taste of it’s richness.

Aside from the mask making course and hand painting, we will do the touristy things:  St. Mark’s, a gondola ride on the Grand Canal, glass making tour on Murano Island.  Jene and I had been to Venice once before and I hope we can find the little local restaurant that we ate at twice.

It is a glorious world and I want them to know that it is open to them.  12 days and counting…






About maryduranteyoutt

Necessity is the mother of invention... I parlayed my work experience into my personal endeavors of photography and print- making. At the age of 56, I retired and pursued my dreams once again. Photography is my passion; I want you, the viewer to come into my world. My images will connect to you and touch each of you differently and they will have you walk away with your own version of the story I started…I try to capture the feel, the essence - the very being of my subject, whether it's a portrait of a child, a friend or a stranger. In my cityscapes, I want you to hear the footsteps on a quiet street or to look closely at the ordinary moments that we all tend to rush past without stopping to notice. This is how I look at life, at the intimate details that sometimes go unnoticed: the bright smile of a child, the hardships that some people have witnessed, the sheer joy of a dancer or the beauty of nature when you take a closer look. This is what I want to share and that is why I will continue on my path.
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