Italy’s Travel Restrictions, What Does It Mean?

The blog The Points Guys starts out there post with a line from the Kenny Rogers song

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run”

 

 

With all the headlines it is difficult to figure out what is happening and what to do for your international trip planning. Yesterday I said I was canceling my trip to Spain for the Camino de Santiago. My age group is more susceptible to flu and coronavirus. For detailed and good non panic advice on Italy I always go to my favorite Italy Blog. An American in Rome by Natalie. To quote her blog “-If you are a citizen of another country and not a resident of Italy, you can freely leave the country. You are not “stuck” here. Just be prepared for screenings at the airport departure and requests to self isolate when you return home.”

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This is the link to her blog 

https://anamericaninrome.com/wp/2020/03/thank-you-for-thinking-of-us-italy-on-lockdown/

I have followed her advice for many years, she even directed my wife to a great hairdresser in Rome when we were traveling to Italy for two months.  Check it out.

 

Another useful source of information it the blog The Points Guys.  Normally they guide people through maximizing the points value of credit cards but todays posts include canceling trips because of the concerns for Coronavirus. 

Here is the link to their post of today”

https://thepointsguy.com/news/cancel-trip-coronavirus/

 

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There is a lot going on out there. As a trips draws close check on what you can and can not cancel or change. As the situation becomes critical, carriers and hotels may be more amenable to allowing changes on flights and stays.Keep checking the US Govt Sites for CDC and  the US Dept of State Travel Advisories

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

 

 

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Line outside Starbucks in September 2019.  Before the need to keep 1 meter apart rule. 

Photo Greg Speck , 2019

 

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La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in September. 

Photo Greg Speck 2019

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La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II yesterday

Photo NY Times, Getty Images, France-Presse

Stay or Go?? Travel in the Time of Coronavirus

When we were on our month long trip to northern Italy in September, my good friend invited me to join him and his son on the last leg of the Camino de Santiago from Sarria to Santiago de Campostela Spain. After seeing the move The Way, is had been on my bucket list. I asked my wife if it was ok and when she said yes, I brooked my ticket to Barcelona  (bargain fare of %436 US on AA).

I began walking with a 14 lb back pack to get my 77 year old body back in shape. Having done a lot of cycling it did not take long.  Our goal was only 12-15 miles per day. Everything was going smoothly until the news of the Corona Virus started to make the headlines.  At first I dismissed it as a problem for me as it was not in Spain and I was not going to stop at any other airport outside of Spain.

Then came the headlines, and the CDC advisory cautioning people to consider the ramificatons of travel during the time of Corona. 

It was a hard decision but I have decided to cancel my trip and hope to do it next year when things should be a more under control and vaccines “might” ve developed.

My decision was based on how it would effect me and my wife.   I am sure many others out there will have to make the same decisions and I wish you all luck.

I look forward to doing it next year possibly combining it with a week or two in Italy

Unless American Airlines allows me to cancel the money bill be lost, but I can sleep at night. 

 

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From Bloomberg News

Spain Mulls Emergency Steps as Coronavirus Cases Almost Double
ByCharlie Devereux
March 9, 2020, 8:04 AM EDT Updated on March 9, 2020, 9:13 AM EDT

Pedestrians wear masks in the subway in Madrid.

 

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We’re tracking the latest on the coronavirus outbreak and the global response. Sign up here for our daily newsletter on what you need to know.

 
 
Spain is considering drastic action to contain the spread of the coronavirus after the number of cases almost doubled overnight.

 
 
Authorities are responding to a worrying acceleration of cases, which jumped to 999 on Monday from 589 on March 8, with the outbreak focused on Madrid and the Basque country, an industrial hub.

 
 
The health ministry is locked in an emergency meeting with the Madrid regional government to try and get to the bottom of why there’s been a sudden spike and a government official said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is aiming to present a package of measures at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday

 

 

TUSCANY BY BIKE Photos from a great trip.

Last post of 2019, I was off line while transferring all my photos to a new computer and should be doing posts on a far regular basis in 2020, Buon anno a tutti

 

 

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To really see this ups and downs of Tuscany, do it on a bicycle. Above View from Piazelle de Michelangelo view of Florence 

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Always stunning views.

 

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There were a lot of hills on this ride, but everyone finished.

 

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Monteriggioni

 

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Monteriggioni

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Monteriggioni

 

 

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Easy riding through towns.

 

 

 

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Terre del Mangia, Siena

 

 

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October brought fall colors to the region

 

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Land of Chianti

 

 

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A nice days ride, GPS track from San Gimignano to Siena 

 

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Brunello one fantastic Italian red wine

 

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I was riding by a grove of olive trees when a gentleman offered to take my photo.

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Beautiful Cypress trees line the roads into this BnB in Tuscany.

 

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The freshest tomatoes are from Italy. 

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PIENZA IN THE RAIN 8x10

 

Last day it rained in Pienza, but the ride was over.

T-Mobile in Italy and USA

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NAVIGATING USING MY IPHONE AND T-MOBILE 

 

For my last two trips to Italy I have purchased a TIM SIM card from their web site and brought the printed voucher to a TIM store in Italy. In both cases all went well at the stores and in about 10 minutes my phone was up and running in about 10 minutes.  Cell service with TIM was excellent and never had problems. The plan allowed 15 Gig data and  200 min of cell service.  For some reason the cell minutes seemed to disappear quickly.  The cost was 25 Euros (Now 20 Euros)  and it was good for 30 days.

Down side was you got a new local phone number (Italian 39 country code), The plan is not renewable. 15 Gig of data can go fairly quickly if you do not have access to Wi-Fi. 

 

 

TIM FOR VISITORS

 

T-Mobile plans include 2G data and 25 cents per minute calling.  My wife made many calls relating to her business while we were on a month long trip to Italy.  This was included in our $70 a month plan for two phones. The 2G data plan was adequate for her to send texts with photos, read and send email, but it was noticeably slower than what we were used to hear. Considering that AT&T plans for international use were exorbitant this was not a problem. Service was good from Rome to the Dolomites. No problems.

 

I opted for a 30d high speed package with unlimited calls. We used our cell phones for driving directions on Apple or Google maps every day.   I had great refresh rates on web pages and never lost a signal while driving. The package was worth if for me. It is also renewable for 30 days. You will get a text when you arrive overseas in any of the 210 countries T-Mobile includes in the plan allowing you to choose several options for calling. My $50 and an slower priced plans IF YOU WANT FASTER DATA SPEEDS. Otherwise you are all sent.  From their web site “The Magenta®, Simple Choice™, New Classic, and Select Choice plans provide unlimited 2G data, unlimited texting and calling at $0.25 per minute in 210+ countries and destinations”

International Pass: 512MB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 24 hours, for $5/day.
5GB International Pass: 5GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 10 days, for $35.
15GB International Pass: 15GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 30 days, for $50.

 

T-Mobile served us well on our trip. Less problems than TIM.  Check out the various plans, especially the over 55 plan.

 

Hard to believe that AT&T would push their inflated rates on travelers and continually raise the monthly cell plan rates.  Their plans are very restrictive and expensive.

Cost $70 per month. 

Coverage for as long as you need
Unlimited texts to the world
2GB or 6GB of data included
$0.35 per minute for calls
Available in 200+ countries

 

A lot of money for little return.

 

 My T-Mobile bill arrived and there were no surprises.

T-Mobile is owned by Deutsche Telekom. 

 

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GREAT SIGNAL ON LAKE COMO

Lost In Rome, Again

Being lost in Rome is a treat, not a problem.  We dropped our rental car off in Venezia, how amazing  it is to drive to the edge of this cluster of islands. After leaving the car inform of the Hertz office, we walked across the street and closed a bridge to Venezia. IMG 1172

Next we walked to the Santa Lucia station to get our high speed train to Rome. Reserved seats and a great ride. IMG 0982

Italo provides fast and nice transport, It was a pleasure to travel by train.

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Beverage service was provided and restrooms were spotless.

After arriving at our Airbnb on Via Dei  Cappellari i, we head one block to the Campo Dei Fiori. We chose this location as it was near our last Airbnb and enabled us to walk to most of the destinations in Rome we wanted to see. 

 

IMG 1009Campo dei Fiori at night. The market is gone, now it is dinnertime and people watching. A full moon came to welcome us.

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Quick walk to the Vatican 

DSC00444We were located so close to so many wonderful sights ant things to do.

 

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The downtown market was filled with food and wines. 

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A Rome market. 

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This small Filetti di Baccala is a tiny space which specialized in Cod Filets which were delicousIMG 1059

One man runs the kitchen. Everything is prepared while you wait. 

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Find  at Largo dei Labari, near the church of Santa Barbara

 

Some more walking and another wedding. First of several we saw.

 

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A walk across the tiber to a new area of Rome. Trastevere, another jewell.  Trastevere translates to across the Tiber

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An uncrowded street in Trastevere. Via del Moro. 

 

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This post will be continued.

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Caico e Pepe, Osteria da Fortunata , Via  Pelligrino

Quartiere Coppedè

An amazing residential neighborhood near the Borghese Park area.

We took the 63 bus from our neighborhood to Coppedè. We arrived to a more 19th century look than the building we have been seeing in the Campo dei Fiori are where we have an apartment for two weeks.

Entrance Arch to Coppedè

The entire quartiere is quieter, and less hectic than other neighborhoods we have walked through. There is no lack of good places to shop and eat. We stopped at 7 Grammi for lunch and that total bill was 23 Euros. I recommend adding this to your list of walks in Rome.

I found this through reading one of my main sources of information for Rome. The blog “An American in Rome” by Natalie if my favorite Italy blog. Google it and you will have a wealth of knowledge of the city sights , dining, and just plain fun things to do.

Cortina d’Ampesso, The Beauty Of The Domoliti

View from our Airbnb in Cortina d’Ampezzo

We arrived in Cortina d’Ampezzo late afternoon after driving in heavy rain from Milano. Just as we arrived, the clouds parted, and the sun came out. As we drove up the windy roads to our Airbnb we saw the snow covered mountains and the blue sky. It snowed this morning making our arrival even more spectacular.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is beautiful. Skiing, mountain and road biking, hiking, or enjoying a drink outside one of the many restaurants and bars in the area.

The views are amazing.

Big, beautiful, and upscale. When the Olympics come, prices will go sky high. This is the view from our Airbnb again.

We had the best Airbnb ever. After three years of Airbnb in Italy, this was the real 5 star rating. Our hosts were fantastic. The rooms were spotless, and relaxing. The views amazing. Put a comment on the blog and I will send you the info. We liked it so much we cooked dinner for our hosts. Ninety per cent of our conversation was in Italian. Glad to have Italian Pod and Duolingo helping me.

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