Hinkson Family Circle

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

pictures of Italy

Here are some last pictures of Italy. Some of these were taken by Devin or my sister Debby. It is a beautiful place. Good memories from this trip but now it is time to get back to real life. I have 2 sick boys today and a broken dishwasher and some flood damage from the broken dishwasher hose to deal with along with tons of laundry and the regular post vacation catch up.

Here are some last pictures of Italy. Some of these were taken by Devin or my sister Debby. It is a beautiful place. Good memories from this trip but now it is time to get back to real life. I have 2 sick boys today and a broken dishwasher and some flood damage from the broken dishwasher hose to deal with along with tons of laundry and the regular post vacation catch up.

Happy viewing
Coming Home
We flew from Rome to London to NYC and stayed over in a hotel and flew from there to Chicago and then to SLC. When we arrived in NYC we were at JFK airport and it was such a great feeling to go through passport control and hear them say "Welcome Back" It kind of choked us up to be back on American soil with a renewed appreciation for our life in this great land.
We decided to take the airtrain and subway to the hotel near LaGuardia aiport where we departed to go home very early the next morning. We should have taken a taxi or shuttle because it was quite an adventure to get to where we needed to be. We ended up taking the airtrain, the subway, the subway again, a bus and then the hotel shuttle. We met a nice woman and her daughter who took us under their wing and helped to get us to the right place. It was freezing cold compared to Italy and we had 2 sleepng babies and luggage in tow. When we arrived at the hotel about 3 hours after our plane landed, we went right to bed :)
Here are some picture of the kids as we traveled. They were SOOOO good the whole trip. I wouldn't have dreamed of taking either a 2 year old OR a new baby on an international vacation but Heather and Joe are amazing parents and did such a great job with their little family this whole trip. I am sure that they will be ready for a vacation from their vacation now.

Coming Home

A few things to expect with EuropeanTravel

We flew out of Rome and so we met Heather and Joe and Devin and the kids at the airport as they flew in from Prague. We headed to our favorite hotel (NOT) the Rome Courtyard Marriott. We made the mistake of booking 4 nights total at this hotel and prepaid them and so even though the first night was not good we had to keep staying there or just lose the money that we had paid for 2 rooms.
This night we arrived at the hotel and were told that I had made the mistake of not specifying the number of guests and so they had only charged us for 1 guest per room. Even though we had stayed there 3 times before and even though I had ordered king sized beds and cribs an a rollaway bed, we were told that we would need to pay an additional $360 on top of the 150.00 we had paid per room in advance. I should point out that in Europe the rooms are not booked as a room like in the US but they book per person and so you can expect to pay extra for each and every person in your party. If you order 2 single beds they will be tiny twin beds and not the traditional queen beds that we are used to in hotels in the US.
Fiinally after a lot of discussion we were able to reduce our bill at the hotel down to 25 Euros (about $42.00) instead of the initial $360 that they demanded. We have learned a lot on this trip and it is too bad that we are too exhausted to put all that we learned into practice with a return trip to Europe anytime soon.
For anyone planning a trip to Europe here are some things that you can expect so you won't be too shell shocked when you get there.
1. Hotels are booked by the person. They say that they have laws that prohibit extra people etc. etc blah blah blah but they can always find a way around those laws.
2. Buying food is like paying airport prices all the time. Ukraine and CZ Repblic had more reasonable prices but overall it is more expensive than the US.
3. Smoking is not a social ill in Europe. Almost everyone smokes and it is pretty much smoky everywhere. Joe Jokes that on his mission when he hadn't been around the smoke for awhile, he would start to go through nicotine withdrawal have to go outside to breath some smoke to get rid of his headache. (He was kidding, but it is a serious issue if you can't handle the smoke smell.) Even though their cig packages are pretty blatent and say SMOKING KILLS they don't care and will light up right in front of you and if you are like my sister Debby and start coughing, they just look at you like you have a disease and continue to blow smoke in your direction.
4. The water is not clean. Ukraine was the worst with water that looked like lemonade, but you had bring along your Immodium if you plan to drink from the tap. I did brush my teeth with the water and didn't get sick but we stuck to bottled water mostly. The cities may clean the water but many of the buildings have plumbing that is much older than our country and so the water doesn't always make it to you very drinkable.
5. There are not laundrymats. I made a bet with my niece and nephew and they did see a laundrymat in Paris but we didn't see any where we visited. Most of the people wash their clothes in the sink and hang them to dry. If you are lucky, you may get a room with a coil heater in the bathroom that heats up and dries clothes more quickly.
6. Hair straighteners don't work abroad. You can buy one with a European cord but I totally fried one in China (the ceramic plate actually melted off) and this time when I plugged mine in in Italy it started to smell funny and I hope it works when I get home.
7. Good luck finding a microwave. We did have them in our apartments in Ukraine and most apartments have them but not the hotels so leave behind your microwave popcorn. We always had a water boiler that worked well for hot chocolate and ramen type food but microwaves are not commonly offered.
8. You will probably have a bidet in the bathroom which is like a little toilet shaped sink that you sit on to wash after you use the toilet. It is not a bad idea expecially if you are like many people we witnessed via the way of aroma that obviously didn't shower daily. At least some places get clean :)
9. Washcloths are not always in the hotels especially in Ukraine and Rome. The fancier hotels have them along with everything else you could need (shavers, toothbrushes, mouthwash, shoe shining equipment, bathrobes, nail files, etc etc.)
10. The typical European breakfast is what we call a continental breakfast. They love to have coffee and cresants and many times antipastas like meats and cheeses. Since we don't do coffee we are looked at a little strangly sometimes . They will usually give you some kind of juice and maybe cereal. We had nice breakfasts where we stayed but don't feel cheated if they don't have a waffle iron and bacon and eggs.
11. Scarves are always in style. Even in the summer the local people love to wear scarves. Many of the men in Italy especially, get away with wearing clothes that someone would get beat up for wearing in the states. They are very stylish with brightly colored pants (like girls wear in the US if they are brave) and leather shoes that are very stylish and scarves that are wrapped around the neck just like the women wear them in the United States. I am not talking about men that are gender confused, I am talking about rough and tough guys with an equally stylish girl on their arm. It is totally normal to look a little more feminine in Italy. It is also normal for women to walk hand in hand or arm in arm because they are talking and don't want to get separated in the mass of people.
12 Don't buy a lot of food to refrigerate in one trip. The fridges are tiny and will only hold a few items. The resturants don't really have to-go boxes like in the US so eat up at the resturants and don't stock up on stuff that requires refrigeration. Milk in a box that doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened can usually be found in most places in Europe.

Food in Italy

OK so I have to admit that one of the best parts of Italy is the food. Today in the NYC airport on the way home a guy was carrying a bag that said Italy is Eatly and I think that pretty much sums it all up. Here are some pics of foods that I have talked about and that we had in Italy. WARNING: it may make your mouth water.


We headed to Trevi fountain for one last Gelato. We also descovered another fountain that we don't remember seeing i n the past. It was in the Piazzo Republico and was pretty moss covered. The main figure in the middle is a man holding a large fish with water coming out of his mouth. Here are some fountain pics.

We toured the ruins of ancient Rome and saw some cool things. Here are some pics from that part of the day.