Send To Kindle all your travel documents

When traveling light with carryons I hate to have too much paper for my trips. I use the Send To Kindle app and keep a copy of plans and dates on it.

The boarding pass was sent as a back up in cases something happened.

This was done on my iPad, I keep itineraries and spread sheets here just in case.

It is a simple and secure way to handle paper which can get out of control.

All the documents appear in the library of my Kindle app. You can send man types of files to your Kindle. Can be done from desktop computer or i devices.

MILAN, ROME, LAKE COMO AND MORE ONE MONTH FOR TWO $4500

In five days my wife and I leave for a month in Italy. The cost is about $4500 which includes airfare, car rental for fifteen days, Airbnb apartments with wifi, ac, and kitchens, one extra night in Miami on return.  A similar tour from Globus costs $5,400 and does not include airfare. And it  is for 10 days, not 30.    I have not included meals in my trip, and Globus usually does include some meals. Globus states it’s meals as follows “Full buffet breakfast daily; 2 lunches in Gabiano and Vercelli; 2 three-course dinners at a local restaurant in Milan”  So that is two lunches, two dinners, and breakfast each day.   

If we were t compare the Globus tour to mine, it would cost approximately $15.000 plus AIRFARE to get close to mine. PS, I purchased my tickets from AirItaly in February. I flew with them last year and it was a perfect trip. 

The best way to travel so inexpensively is shoulder season,  We fly out of Miami on Sept 19th and got airfare for $780 round trip non stop for two people.  Flying into Milan less expensive than going to Rome. You can get rail or air transit to Rome at very reasonable prices. So why not see more, do more and enjoy more with the $10,000 you can save by doing it on your own.

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Our Airbnb in Milano. Elevator service and lots of windows. 

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Our Airbnb in Vicenza

Each of our reservations has reasonable rates. Rome was the most expensive costing $120 a night for a first floor apartment in the Campo Dei Fiori neighborhood. We like this area as you can walk to the Vatican, the Ghetto, Piazza Navona, and many more locations. Bust stops are just a block away. 

IMG 1714Vicenza, Italy last fall.

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Milano, trams are the best way to travel.

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Prada, Milano

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II , Milano

Prada, Versace, Pasticceria Marchesi, Luisa Spagnoli. Tod’s , Giorgio Armani, Gobbi 1842, all these and more await you at the Galleria 

Follow the blog next week as I report on our trip. Airbnb review, dining, shopping, and doing it on a budget.

VENICE PHOTOS, JUST PHOTOS

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Venice is picture perfect. From laundry to the canals. 

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The Jewish Ghetto on a peaceful Sunday afternoon. 

IMG 2129Tranquil on the canal.

 

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The church of San Giorgio Maggiore. Located on the small island viewed from the across the canals. It has much to offer and is worth the vaporetto trip.

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The campanile viewed from San Georgio Maggiore.

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A large ship disrupts the canal and causes damage to the buildings.  Several were in port on this day.

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A watercolor rendition of the Ghetto.

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The Rialto.

Our next trip to Italy will last 30 days and cover a lot of area

il prossimo viaggio in Italia our next trip to Italy.

In addition to the places on the map, we will travel from Treviso to Roma where we will spend 10 days. Our plans include arriving on 20 September when temperatures have moderated. September and October are comfortable times to be in Italy. Of course, airfare is much lower in these months and places are less crowded.

Milan is a wonderful city to visit and easy to get around with buses, subways, and trams all over. Google maps works were well with mass transit. Gives numbers, and times. Can not travel without it.

More to follow in next post.

How to find a great Airbnb in Rome

We have visited Rome several times and always enjoyed our visits. Location is one of the most important factors. If you have a favorite neighborhood such as Trastevere, Testaccio, or Campo Dei Fiore base yourself there. Save time and money by being able to walk the areas. In 2017 we stayed near Campo Dei Fiore.  It was a perfect place to explore the neighborhoods and walk to some many places. The Vatican and St. Peters was walkable. Restaurants abounded and shopping for food was close by.

When we booked it, the description looked great. The fact that it was on the Second Floor sounded doable.  Keep in mind the Italian way of numbering floors is quite different from ours. The ground floor or piano terra which is what we in the US would call the first floor. The next floor is the first floor, or primo piano, then on to the second floor which piano second but you are really on the third floor.

Keep this in mind as elevators in the older ( but beautiful) buildings are not prevalent. This is a time lapse of the descent which makes it look easy

52 Steps each time you go in or out

 

 

 

Here are photos from Rome in 2017. Not bad, reasonable space and would return if not for the steps ( 52) 

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This year I began my search by indicating the dates I needed, the number or people and I specifically searched °Campo Dei Fiore°. This reduced the number of locations and I then searched from the map.

 

Airbnb map rome

Viewing each listing VERY carefully, I looked for WIFI, KITCHEN, A/C, and NO SMOKING. When I found all of these I looked at all the photos, and at least the first four pages of reviews. It is important to evaluate a review.  As some one who has stayed in Airbnb in the US and Italy I check carefully and recheck with my wife. One bad review does not make a place unworthy of staying. Keep in mind that the map prices shown do not show what the prices really are if you did not fill in your dates of travel. The time of year makes a big difference.

 

This is a review I posited after a stay in Rome for 18 days in 2017″

“Overall we enjoyed our stay with Marzia. She was very quick to respond to our requests. The location is amazing. Walk out the door to restaurants, shops, a wine bar, and Campo de Fiore. Vatican is about 7-minute walk, save with Piazza Navona. Bus stops on Via Vittorio Emanuele. There is a restaurant on the other side of the building is excellent, Polese, we spent several evenings there. Also,check out the Suplizo on the same street as you head to Campo de Fiore. Great for take out. Kitchen is small but fully stocked with pots pans etc. Small frig but grocery store and the market are so close you will always have fresh food. The bed is comfortable. Hot water works well. WiFi good for browsing and email. AC works, but we arrived in mid September and found building comfortable with out it. The rear has a small terrace which was nice for dinner and wine. It does not have a view, but it was very pleasant. This is an older building and you have 52 steps to get to the room. It was not a bother to me at 74 years old, but my wife took a break going up the stairs. Neighborhood is good and safe. Only problem was major construction going on next to us and loud banging on walls starting at 7 am. I believe this is now finished as far as the wall banging goes. My wife and I enjoyed our stay.”

 

I would add that I was give a refund of 300 Euros to compensate me for the noise.  I would return there again, if I could not find something on a lower floor.

 

For this years trip, we found a great place on the Primo Piano which will make things much easier. Located steps from the Campo Dei Fiore, I look forward to walking to so many sights and attractions. The bus stops are close by and the neighborhood is very safe.

The photos below are of our Airbnb for this year.

 

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This is a decent sized apartment and we are looking forward to it. I will review it in full when we return from Italy in October.

 

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When to go to Italy

It sure is not July or August. In July everyone goes to Italy. Everything is HOT. Unless you can take the heat, wait a bit. August has many shutdowns. Italian shops close for vacation. You may consider a beach vacation, but temperatures will still be sweltering. We spent 10 days in Cefalù several years ago, but our day times were submerged in refreshing water.

The top photo shows Rome hovering near 100 degrees for the week.

Below Cefalù on a hot August day. Evenings were very pleasant.

September through November bring cheaper airfares. We leave for Milan on September 19 and fly nonstop from Miami for the ridiculously low fare of $369 round trip. Carryon is the only way to fly when you will be schlepping your bags. Keep it simple and light.

Last year I arrived in Milan on September 29th and returned on October 8th. No crowds and great weather.

Back in 2014 we went with family to Sicily and arrived in late April. Some days were great and others cool and some rain. It never stopped our enjoyment of the uncrowded streets in Palermo and Siracusa. Later we spend 10 days in Paris but rain and cold temperatures sent us to the shops to buy some extra clothing.

Mt Etna snow covered from the previous day. April 2014 Taken from Taormina

Save money and time. When possible travel the shoulder and off season times. Use Google Flights to see how much you can save on flights. Buon viaggio.

MAPS FOR TRAVELERS

Lonely Planet who publishes a number of very good travel books has made the map sections available on line. These are a free download.

A partial view of the Lonely Planet map of Roma.

You can save these to your tablet or smart phone, or do a screen shot like the one above to help you in your travels. There are hundreds of maps.

Here is the link

http://media.lonelyplanet.com/ebookmaps/

Here is a link to the Lonely Planet guide books.

https://shop.lonelyplanet.com/?gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=CjwKCAjwx_boBRA9EiwA4kIELlU24QnYPhodYK4oJ7LLXikOfSajupEYmmR4cksBK8fJKqs1QXUl7BoCcZAQAvD_BwE

Food, Cibo, it makes Italy special.

it Italy it is all about food. The calamari above brings back fond memories. In 2017 we spend 18 days in Rome and ate at ristoranti about 14 times. Our days were highlighted by going to the various markets.

We had an apartment in the Campo di Fiore which is not too far from Piazza Navona. This was a great area with shops, markets, restaurants everywhere.

Fresh produce was all over. You can see this is not Stop and Shop , or Kroger. This is fresh as fresh can be. We loved the market in Campo dei Fiore (Field of Flowers) and the indoor Testaccio Market. The Campo dei Fiore is a bit commercialized, but still a great place if you live in the neighborhood. The new Testaccio Market has many vendors of fresh produce and meats as well as clothing and assorted other items. Sandwiches made to order are amazing and watching the show is well worth the time.

Roscioli is a well known bakery , fornaio , with all kinds of baked goods and an aroma to encourage buying.

Volpetti is a pasticciera with outdoor seating so you can watch the Roman world go by.

The sheet pizza is priced by the pound in this little pizzeria neat the Campo dei Fiore. It is located very close to the “tiny” church Santa Barbara dei Librai which is a must see if you are in the area.

Pizza is everywhere and Roman pizza is buona. Wood fired pizza is typically ready in 3-4 minutes. No twenty minute wait.

A boar “cinghiale”, La trippa tripe below. I have tasted the sauce made with boars meet and it is great. I am not a fan of tripe, but my wife loves is.

La Bella lingua, or how I learn Italian.

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Learning Italian is an ongoing project of mine, The first time we visited Italy was in the mid 1980’s.  My wife and I spoke little of no Italian. My mother inlaw spoke well, but with a Sicilian dialect which some Romans resented and preceded not to understand, These days my wife and I can manage fairly well. I am better than she, by choice and hard work. She can grasp the language more quickly than I, but has many other interests that keep here occupied.  That said I have used several different methods  to learn Italian.

 

Pimlseur is one of the best methods if you commute or do not have time to sit down and practice writing and reading.  

https://offers.pimsleur.com/free-trial-1401-brand?utm_source=google&utm_term=pimsleur%20italian&utm_campaign=G_Pim_Brand_Italian_Tier%201_Exact&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=Cj0KCQjwov3nBRDFARIsANgsdoEmamrfEcunNu16hAzWBRkNogmzOpMUg9l32B92XosiZ-PvYLZptP8aAj3ZEALw_wcB

Now it is an online subscription, but you can still find lessons as MP3 or audio book on Amazon, Ebay, or Audible.  Levels go from 1 to 5 and do a good job on basic conversation.   Problem with the recordings is that you get no spelling exercises  and that does not help reading comprehension. Their accompanying booklets do not use vocabulary from the lessons. 

 

 

Rosetta Stone never did it for me  I tried and now my DVD is out of date for the next operating systems.  My feeling is do not waste your  money. They are also on a subscription program.

 

DuoLingo is a great way to learn using your tablet, phone, or PC.  It is free, but there are options to learn  without ads or being interrupted because you made too may errors and the program will not allow you to continue (with the exception of practice sessions) until the next day. You learn with written and audible lessons. One listens and is asked to translate as well as read and translate English to Italian and Italian to English.   There is a lot of repetition and that helps learning. Here are some examples from various lessons, 

 

 

https://www.duolingo.com/

 

        

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Yes, I really love DuoLingo.  But there is no one on one with a teacher.  I always have questions and Googling does not always get the correct one,

 

 

Italian Pod 101 has extensive resources for learning.  Hundreds of lessons from beginner to advanced.  It has good grammar instruction and various resources.  Those include Video, Audio, flash cards etc.   

https://www.italianpod101.com/index.php

The differentiating factor is the you can get your own teacher.  I find this very helpful and it has made me renew my membership for another year.

 

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Sample screen shots

The one on one instructions read like a book, You send a message back and forth and it continues so you always have a record of your instruction. You are able to send audio clips, photos, 

 

 

My teacher, Valentina, is very helpful and instructive. She is what makes Italian Pod 101 so effective.

 

Sample correspondence:

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SAT, JUN 01

Teacher
Ciao Greg, come stai? Spero bene! Ecco un nuovo esercizio per te. (Fammi sapere se questo l’hai già fatto in passato, non mi ricordo) youtube.com/watch?v=_hnPAciqG_U&list=PL71wtqaYwBCJXAzxWhq44UQzlHhvw0-Ru&index=3 La casa Feng Shui 1. Perché Laura è stupita quando torna a casa? 2. Cos’è il Feng Shui? Qual è il suo scopo? 3. Fai un elenco dei cambiamenti che ha fatto Marcello, facendo un confronto prima/dopo. Divano: Prima il divano era… Adesso è… Parete: Comodino: Tavolino: Mobile con giradischi: Poltrona della nonna:
01:49
4. Scrivi tutti i commenti positivi che ricordi di Laura sul nuovo arredamento. 5. Perché Laura preferiva il tavolino di plastica? 6. Completa le regole del Feng Shui che spiega Marcello. (1 o più parole) “Il divano deve favorire la ……… e dare un …….. di ………. Per questo non deve trovarsi vicino ad ……… come porte e finestre e deve ……….. a una parete.” “La parete del divano deve essere libera: niente …… , …….. o …….” “I mobili e gli oggetti di plastica bloccano il ……. …. …….. I materiali migliori sono quelli ……. : legno, …… e ……. 7. Secondo te, qual è la vera ragione per cui Marcello ha tolto la poltrona della nonna?
01:49
SUN, JUN 02 My answer to questions 

Ho riso. Lui è come mia moglia]
EDIT
04:12
TUE, JUN 04

Teacher 
Davvero? Ahah
02:22
WED, JUN 05 My answers to questions 
1 1 Laura è stupita quando torna a casa perchè lui ha cambiato I mobili, i quadri, i colori. Niente è lo stesso.
EDIT
02:53
2 Feng Shui è un modo di organizare una stanza e una casa. Il suo obiettivo è massimizzare la vita, l’energia, e il fluso della casa.
EDIT
03:01
La lista di cose cambiati: Il divano era vicino della finestra. Adesso è accanto la parete. la parete era gianca e adesso è roso le mensole mancano anche i libri Adesso sono spostati. Perchè il divano dovrebbe libera. il tavalo di camera da letto è in in sogiorno adesso. Gli incensi è sopra il tavolo (il comodino) il tavolo era plastica adesso é fatto di legno I mobolie con grandischi da il toco vintage. Non sono certo che era li prima. La sedia della nonna no è qui, Sembra che era molto grande. Ma adesso ćè una sedia moderna, senza le bracia

 

 

To sum up, no one method will suit everyone.  I am able to hold a reasonable conversation when in Italy, ask directions and order a pizza without anchovies vorrei una pizza senza acciughe

 

Buona fortuna a tutti. 

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