I'm happy now because I'm sitting in the Shannon airport restaurant with a pot of tea ready to spend my 10 euro lunch voucher and excited to be tucking into my Hughes & Hughes Booksellers bag full of Irish newspapers, which give things away for FREE every single day (like today, a book by Edna O'Brien...a complete book! no words missing or anything!).
I'm also happy because we're out of Italy. Italy is gorgeous, the food amazing, and the people are so beautiful it hurts to look at them...but from now on, Southern Italy or Central Italy is where it's at for us. We had a fantastic boy-scout host and ate some good food, but after getting lost several times in the labyrinthal (is that a word?) Verona, feeling my age when my joints started aching from walking for hours on stone Roman roads (yoga is now top of the agenda), and almost being mowed over by crazy drivers on narrow city backstreets, I was ready to get the hell out of dodge. By our last day there, I was so mad at the drivers who'd graze by me, barely avoiding a death-by-Vespa, that I was ready to pull out the big guns, both middle fingers at once, complete with ugly facial expression (no, I never did it, but was sorely tempted).
On a less aggressive note, here's Andrea, our Italian host, with his sister. We love them and hope they come to Oregon sometime, though neither have plans for that so far. Andrea just likes hosting people from all over. We were his first American guests.
We got to Shannon in one piece and this morning volunteered to fly later since our flight was overbooked and too heavy (who'd want to fly on a plane that's teetering on being overweight anyway?). The airline thanked us with this free lunch and vouchers for future tickets. We immediately looked to see if this airline flies to Addis Ababa (not sure yet). And now we both get in just a couple of hours later.
I'll leave you with this video of what you can find if willing to stray from the beaten path while traveling. Ignore Rick Steves, make him talk to the hand when you travel (thanks to the $2 Venice guide by him I found at Goodwill, we stayed lost and run down by other tourists. Sometimes you get what you pay for, I guess). Otherwise, you'll miss things like this:
Thanks to all those words of congratulations about our approval. It's great to know we're so supported!