~Rome, Italy~

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2/12-13/08, Tuesday-Wednesday

I was almost foiled by the Lufthansa airline before I even left Dallas - they didn't want to let me take my duffle AND my backpack as carry-on, and then the duffle was over the 8kg weight limit, so I had to shuffle a few heavier things into the backpack. I flew direct from DFW to Frankfurt, then on to Rome, which gave me a great opportunity for a photo of the Swiss Alps.

When I got to Rome, I bought train tickets (6,50€) to Anguillara. I had a little trouble figuring out which track to go to when I had to change trains at Roma Traversare, and then the train to Anguillara actually stopped one station BEFORE Anguillara... a train schedule would've been nice. I enlisted the aid of a friendly Italian woman and rode the next train to Anguillara. There was NO phone at the Anguillara station and nobody at the ticket booth to ask, so I asked a shuttle driver (showing him a map I'd printed out of Anguillara and I Due Laghi) and he told me he could get me there -- actually, he made "get on" gestures and said stuff in Italian that I couldn't understand. He dropped me off in downtown Anguillara at an intersection bearing a sign (among others) indicating the direction to I Due Laghi. So far, so good. There were a few other people hanging around the corner and more appeared, so I figured that was a transfer point. However, THEY were all waiting for the doctor's office on the corner to open, which I discovered when the doctor arrived. I showed him my map and with the small amount of English that he spoke, he told me I Due Laghi was about 1km down the road. That wasn't far, so I decided to walk. Unfortunately, the TURN OFF for I Due Laghi was 1km. My actual destination was closer to 2 1/2 km. At least my heavy stuff was in the wheeled backpack, but my shoulders were still sore by the time I finally arrived. I checked in, met up with Sarah, walked around a little, traded travel stories, then had dinner in the restaurant: polenta with mushrooms and goat cheese, tagliolini pasta with cherry tomatoes, aubergines savarin, and ricotta soufflé with wild berries.

2/14/08, Thursday

Up at 7:30, breakfast (boiled egg, grapefruit juice, croissant with Nutella and honey, and a chocolate chip pastry), then a riding lesson at 10am. Western habits do not translate well to an English saddle. Way too many things are different.

After a lunch of pasta and goat meats and cheeses, we went on a trail ride around the farm. All told, we spent about 4 hours on horseback today.

2/15/08, Friday

Up at 8am, breakfast (boiled egg & croissant with Nutella and honey, but tried the orange juice and an apricot pastry this time), then another riding lesson at 10:30. Rode a different horse this morning (a white mare) and Sarah did some jumping... while I sat on my mare and took photos of her. :-)


For lunch we had beans and spelt soup and fruit salad, then went on a trail ride down to the little lake. I was on the same warmblood as yesterday, but Sarah decided to ride a Friesian mare - very prancy and bouncy. We saw cows, goats, and sheep, then returned to the hotel for dinner of tomatoes with goat cheese and more tagliolini pasta.

2/16/08, Saturday

Eight hours riding horses when I haven't ridden much in years was pretty much my limit, so our last day at I Due Laghi, I decided to go into Rome and do some sight-seeing. Sarah had arrived in Italy the day before I did and did the sight-seeing thing then, so she stayed behind for a last riding lesson. After breakfast (boiled egg and croissant again, with pineapple juice - the juices weren't labeled so it was a taste test to figure out what we were drinking), I took a taxi (20€) into Anguillara, bought a day pass for the metro (6€), and took the train into Rome. This time I was prepared with both a train schedule and a map of Rome so I had very little trouble getting around. With just one afternoon to see everything, I had to walk fast, so I did a whirlwind tour of the Coliseum, Forum, and Circus Maximus, then took the Metro to the Vatican and explored the Piazza San Pietro and San Pietro's Basilica.



I took the train back to Anguillara, then walked to a nearby Western Union to call for a taxi (having gotten directions to a place with a phone to avoid the problems I'd had on Wednesday - HA!). After talking to the receptionist at I Due Laghi, I walked back to the train station to wait for my taxi. And waited and waited. Finally I begged a ride from an Italian couple, and got back to I Due Laghi shortly after Sarah did - she had done some local sight-seeing that afternoon. Instead of going to the restaurant for dinner, we had some bread and peach tea that Sarah had bought in town, plus some of the 'survival rations' I had brought with me for the plane: Cheez-its, craisins, peanut butter crackers and Lil' Debbies oatmeal cookies.

2/17/08, Sunday

Up at 4:30am, shared a taxi to the airport with Sarah. Checked in and flew to Munich, then on to Chicago. Watched "December Boys" starring Daniel Radcliffe on the flight (boring) and two 'Bonanza' episodes. Got to Chicago at noon, through customs and over to the United terminal, only to discover that my 2:45 flight was canceled, apparently due to bad weather on the east coast -- there were LONG lines of unhappy fliers all over the place. I tried to fly standby on a 5:50 flight (unsuccessfully), but fortunately was able to get a confirmed ticket for an 8:15 flight, which UNFORTUNATELY did not leave until 9:26... 24 hours after I'd started my journey in Anguillara that morning! I arrived at DFW at midnight, and finally got home to bed by 1am. And then I had to get up the next morning and go to work!

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