If your trip is going to involve a fair amount of sightseeing, be sure to prepare in kind. If you are going to be doing a lot of walking, for example, spend time prior to the trip walking and building up your stamina.
Our trip to Italy involved a LOT of walking, and much of it was on slopes and on cobblestone streets and sidewalks (read “more likely to trip or stumble”).
While there were ports that were relatively flat and walking was easy, like Venice, there were some that required steep climbs, like Trieste, and climbing many steps, like the walls of Dubrovnik in Croatia.
If climbing is your thing, then you would enjoy the challenge of 414 steps in the Bell Tower in Florence, or the hours-long walk in the area of Cinque Terre.
Just be sure to go with the level of physical activity in mind. “Train” for the trip!
So now we return to reality, to jobs and responsibilities and families. But the memories of our trip will go on forever.
Just a few words about getting home from long, overseas trips, though.
When planning a trip like this, one of the things to remember is that you need to allow plenty of time between flights when returning, because of going through customs.
Our flight from Rome to Dulles in Washington, D.C. was all during daylight hours, which made catching some shut-eye more difficult. Luckily, the return trip didn’t seem quite as long as the trip going to Rome.
Once we arrived at Dulles, we headed for the customs check-in. What we hadn’t planned on was the VERY LONG wait there. The room was divided into returning U.S. citizens and entering non-U.S. citizens. The first line was so long, we waited almost 90 minutes to step up to the customs agent’s kiosk, where we were waved right through as soon as we showed our passports.
They were short-handed that day, so only half of the agents were available and only one in four to five passports were checked at length.
From there, we headed to baggage claim, where we reclaimed our luggage (Yea! It was all there and together!) and entered another line. This line eventually brought us to another customs checkpoint where we put our bags on the carousel to be loaded for our next flight.
We then headed to our gate to catch our flight from Dulles to Oklahoma City, and there were no hitches from there on.
Once we arrived in OKC, we loaded up and were driven back home by an airport shuttle. This is definitely the way to go. No one had to retrieve a car from the parking lot, had to try to figure out how to get all the luggage in the trunk of the car, had to think about driving. Door to door service after being gone for 18 days was great!
There’s lots more to tell about, so even though this trip is over, there will be more blogging as I “travel along.”