So I was thinking about starting my diet on Tuesday, but then I got a call from the big kids' school. They wanted to know why Ross and Jane weren't there in class, with the rest of the children.
That's real, folks. I'm not making it up. We forgot to come back from Christmas break.
They were only like 3.5 hours late.
Both of them were mildly ill.
Jane might have cried all the way there.
It was moderately stressful.
On the way home, I took the three remaining kids to Sam's Club, where I forgot to remember the diet I was supposed to be starting, I had a hot dog with mustard, onions, relish, and kraut. And some of Tommy's blue Icee. And a soft pretzel. I felt better.
So anyway, all this made me remember that I'm not very good at remembering things. And that I've gained 10 pounds since the above photo was taken 3 months ago. In Pompeii.
So now I'm thinking how it would be nice to be skinny(er) and in Italy again. I think I shall relive those heady days, while I eat some of Jake's leftover birthday cake. You should come along.
|Jake at the bakery. They didn't have any doughnuts.|
So, Pompeii was really fantastic. Before we left, I spent days researching how we should get there and how long to stay. It would have been better to stay in Sorrento and spend a few nights checking out ruins and the Amalfi coast. But we didn't have the time. So I easily spent thrice as long researching as I actually spent visiting Pompeii. Because it seemed like a day trip that could go terribly wrong.
We took the Eurostar train from Rome to Naples. It is more expensive, but faster, and more comfortable. Then, at the Naples train station, we got a taxi who would take us to Pompeii, wait for a few hours, then bring us back to Naples. (If you want to go cheaper, go downstairs in the station and take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii. It costs like 3 euros each way, stops approximately 30 times, and you'll likely lose your wallet, but Jen says it's no worse than the NYC subway. Except that there are entertainers on board who play toy keyboards horribly, right in your ear, and won't stop until you pay them to leave. So you'll need to allow room for that in your budget.) (Jason has never been on the subway, and he was mildly traumatized.)
|Mom and Dad|
Inside Pompeii, we just used the free Rick Steves audio guide we'd downloaded at home, and bought a cool book inside the bookstore with info and plastic overlays to tell us about each house. It was like 12 euro, and we gave it to the kids when we got home, after I removed the kama sutra-style brothel art frescoes. Plus a couple others. Pompeiians had a funny idea of what made good family room art. (I tucked all my censorious bits (and by bits I mean oversized phalluses) under Jake's pillow, to creep him out.) I think what we did would be fine for 98% of all tourists. But my Dad says he wishes we'd had our own guide and stayed longer than two hours. Maybe next time. I was happy with our taxi chauffeur. He was the nicest driver we had in Italy.
Back in Naples, we had him drop us off at the famous Da Michele pizzeria. It is supposed to be the best in Naples, which is the best in Italy. I'd read about it in Rick Steves and Eat, Pray, Love. Apparently everyone else had heard about it, too: There were more than 100 people in line. We went across the street to Pizzeria Trianon. It was delicious. Maybe my favorite meal we had in Italy. The sauce was unbelievable. The crust was unbelievable. The line was unbelievable: there wasn't any.
After lunch, we headed to the Archeological Museum. All the best art and artifacts they dug out of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 1800s was brought here by the Naples' king. And now they reside in the museum that time forgot. It is amazing how these priceless items are just open to the elements (there were windows open and it was raining outside), how the displays have faded typewritten cards and dust inside them. I guess in a country full of treasures, there just isn't enough money to go around. But dust bunnies and all, you can't get a real feel for how life looked in Pompeii, without seeing these incredible mosaics, frescoes, metal and glassware.)
From there we headed back to the train station and hopped a Eurostar back to Termini in Rome. Our taxi driver apologized for all the traffic; but, he told us, there have been many manifestations today. (We think he meant government protesters, and not angelic visitors, but who knows?)
The next morning we hopped the train for Venice.
That's me and my backpack and Jake getting our first glimpse of Venice. We got on a vaporetto bound for St. Mark's Square, where our hotel had a free water shuttle out to the Isola di San Clemente.
The hotel was gorgeous, the service wanting. It was fab if you don't want them to feed you at 3:00 p.m., which they will not, under any circumstances, do. It doesn't matter how hungry you are. Although the concierge was nice. I didn't mind staying outside town a little, either. The boat ride to and from the island was relaxing and made me feel like a fancy-lady. I'd recommend San Clemente Palace Hotel, if you can get as great a deal as we did (off season). It doesn't say this anywhere in the literature, but the hotel was an insane asylum for hundreds of years, and became this HUGE fancy resort hotel only recently. So that's mildly creepy. But if, like me, you don't watch horror movies, you'll be okay.
|St. Mark's Cathedral. Jake and I never got inside. We slept in. Turns out, insane asylums are very restful and quiet.|
|On a water taxi, headed to Ca' Rezzonico, a grand canal palazzo turned museum of 18th century Venice|
|See the table I'm parked on? They make those into a walkway, so tourists don't have to wade through a water-logged St. Mark's square during high tide.|
|Picnicking. Salami, cheese, fresh basil and oregano, and fluffy bread. Focaccia, maybe?|
|Outside the best gelato place in Venice.|
|See the top floor? Synagogue.|
|The ghetto had a big square, which held a big market. If you'd been here about 1500, you could have procured some nice used clothing, full of plague infested lice.|
Did your kids start school?
Did you forget to take them?
Did you try to start a diet?
Is it working?
Do you have another resolution?
I might need some alternative ideas