January 10, 2015
     Hi all... this is Schim, the dart board for Harry.  I am pleased to be traveling with the rascal?????  I like arriving at his destination early on.  When you meet Harry in a country and he has already been there a few weeks, well, the darts come flying with pointed ends.  This time he is almost Humble Harry.  Does not sound like the Harry you know does it?  He does not even know the language well and is not correcting me constantly.  I know so little Italian and yet seem to be close to his level.  Well I guess not.
     We do seem to have a few things in common: we talk to everyone, love to drink, and experience new foods.  What is better?  We also like to take public transportation - we just jump on and go where it takes us.  If we are wrong we just go in a different direction or explore that area.  I have a step counter on my cell phone and can tell you that each day we have recorded from 6-7 miles.  Not bad for the old timer.
     Okay my impressions so far...  Lots of history here in Rome (which Harry tries to keep me informed of).  Lots and lots of food and drink which is always okay.  I do think the Italians should tear down some of the old stuff!  They eat dinner too late.  It rushes us to get in three square meals (but we accomplish it).  Our apartment is great, and Harry has the nice bed after he cried from fear of having to sleep on sofa/sleeper. He takes longer in the bathroom than most women that I know (only a couple).
     I waited due to his insistence that we meet at Rome airport.  I got in at 8, he arrived at 5 p.m..  It was great to have an all night flight and then doze for a few hours in an airport chair.  He was the last one off the plane and out of luggage check.  I was worried that he died of a heart attack and I would have to drag his body around till Joan showed up!  The cab ride to town was questionable as cabbie said, “Yes, I know where it is...”, well he dumped us off at the wrong intersection and we had to pull our luggage up the hill to meet the lady, thanks to a cell phone.
     Stay tuned... the odd couple will report more soon!

January 14, 2015
     Rome, Rome... we leave tomorrow (Thursday), so I will leave you my impressions of Rome and what it is compared to what I thought.
     I expected the traffic to be worse than it is. Yes, busy but they stop for you if you enter the crosswalk (probably helps that we are each in excess of 250#). The cars are all small and the so-called Smart Car is normal and not an oddity. 30% or more are scooters? More than in any city I have ever visited. Rome is full of tiny cobblestone streets and reading a map is quite a chore (though we have not tried). Transportation by tram/bus is quite easy, just ask, someone will speak English. You only need to buy the one day, or weekly pass and use it one time. No need to show it each time. Harry and I have walked from 5 to 8 miles every day according to the app on my phone. His phone is rotary dial I believe and he does not carry it.
     I am not a historical buff and the old buildings and ruins do not do much for me. They are closer than I thought (walking)... of course I was most impressed with the Vatican (thanks Joan for suggesting that we do the tour). One thing new in the tourist traps are the selling of selfie sticks! Yes, mount your phone on an expandable stick and use blue tooth to take a selfie (we have decided that the building looks better without an old guy standing in front of it).
     The food is everywhere... I am amazed that almost every restaurant has the same offerings. Not that this is bad, but it seems like pasta/pizza is the menu. Looking at the food display could create hunger pains for everyone.
     I have been with Harry one week tomorrow and this is the first time that we have not visited a pharmacy in the first day or two for one of Harry's pains. I think walking has the old boy healthy?  Speaking of Harry, you should have seen him figure out the washing machine, which took at least 4 hours to run.
     On Thursday we are headed to Pisa for dinner... yes, dinner. Admittedly we are told that there's not much to see in Pisa (tower only) but Harry insists that we go for dinner... only 6-7 train hours out of the way.  As if we need food. The portions here are enough for 3 people, and of course we finish our plates.
     The weather:  I was concerned when I saw the temps to be high 50's (very cold for Florida) but I have been quite comfortable here with a light jacket and possibly a long sleeve shirt or sweater vest. I am not sure that I would want it any warmer.
     Okay that is it for now.  I would use the Italian word for good bye, but spelling is not easy in Italian.

January 18, 2015
     Wow... a few exciting days!
     First thing comes to my mind is the difference in travel since the first exciting trip I took with Harry. That was in 2004 when we drove from Mexico to Costa Rica.  To read email we would stop at an internet establishment to do our email, paying by the minute. At one time in Guatemala we stopped where we saw a sign only to be led into the living quarters of a small house filled with hammocks that the family sleeps in. The mother told the son to quit playing games and we used the one computer from this "internet cafe". We would make phone calls from places where you entered a cubicle in a small room with no ventilation and paid by the minute. Getting cash meant finding the one or two ATM machines that would take your particular card. Now, of course, I have a cell to accept texts, email and make phone calls, as well as my camera. Harry, of course, is still using his camera (one of several we have seen on the trip as most use the cell phone for this purpose). His telephone is not with him - different service. I have T-Mobile that gives free international calling and texts. Calling through WiFi or 20 cents per minute on other calls. Okay, back to travel...
     We had a great trip to Pisa, though out of the way, it is one of the highlights for us both. Train ride was super smooth and comfortable, we were met at the station by David and Giorgio, a team that well could be the best tour guides in Europe! We walked the quaint downtown full of shops and vendors which rivaled the shops of Rome. Our lunch that day in a base of an old tower was sensational because David the chef, did all the ordering... we ate like it was our first and last meal. We stopped at an exclusive chocolate shop, friends also... oh my! I did enjoy seeing the leaning tower... very bright white now, and the contrast with the green grass (at this time of year) was spectacular. For dinner that evening we were picked up by David's brother, his wife and young daughter for the 10 mile ride to another town and home of David's, a first class restaurant. Needless to say David and Giorgio treated us to dish after dish, only interrupted by glasses of fine wine. I was overwhelmed by the treatment. Oh, and David's brother is from Florence who drove specifically to dine and transport us. They stayed the evening as it is an hour or more home... what a sacrifice with a beautiful 4 month old!
     Friday morning we were up for an early train ride back through Rome and on to Naples. Our hotel (selected by Harry) turned out much better than the one I chose in Pisa, and was very affordable, and large, with bright colors. Prices are so reasonable... only $55 or so for a double, I am sure the season helps.
     Saturday morning after another hotel buffet breakfast, we headed to the local train for a ride to Sorrento on the Amalfi coast. A local bus was leaving at the train station for only 5 dollars for a trip to Amalfi - round trip. The bus ride to Amalfi was one and half hours long. I could have taken 300 pictures of the hilly, narrow road with views of the water and homes stacked on top of one another facing the sea. It is truly a spectacular ride and site to see. When Harry was not covering his eyes, he too enjoyed the ride. We had a great lunch (pizza of course) in Amalfi. On the return I sat directly behind the bus driver - mama mia, how he can meet cars, trucks and dodge the cars sitting along the road is a marvel. Going around the curves he honks his horn. I am glad that the other drivers could hear! Anyway, it was a great day.
     This morning we leave at 10:00 for a 8 or 9 hour train ride to Palermo,Sicily. I am told that the train in some way gets on a ferry of sort to cross into Sicily. As Harry would say, stay tuned! 
     Chow?  Seems all we do is chow!

January 22, 2015
     Hola from Sicily, oh I know, Hola is Spanish, but I am so fluent in Spanish, so that is what I use!
     I have a few suggestions for the lady readers:  bring only a black jacket, black boots, and black tights... throw in a toilet seat (public ones do not have them), and it would be a good idea to also bring a pizza slicer, as the pizzas are never sliced. Just a few pointers for you.
     I am typing this on my note 3 telephone as I am unable to log on with my computer in this room. Oh speaking of the room, it is magnifico - a convent in Siracusa right on the water, 4 star hotel. Last night I showed the sister pics of my grandkids and my 97 year old mother, she smiled and said something. The small streets fit a little car parked and just enough room for another to go by, if you fail to fold in the mirror, oops it is broken.
     Harry has treated me well, the restaurants all have 8 pieces or more of flatware and 6 glasses, and a white tablecloth of course. My bowl of fish stew (20 euros) had a small little fish (head intact) floating, two shrimps and fish broth. Oh, I forgot all the fish scales! I miss David and Giorgio in Pisa. Today at the market (I chose)... vino, warm ricotta cheese and a huge sandwich made by a man with 12 ingredients on a large bun! Price? 6 euros.
     A few notes for Harry, please email him (he is lonesome when he does not hear from all of you).    Someone buy him headphones for his upcoming birthday, the ones in the ear do not fit. It is good if you can remind him of words he forgets. Between the two of us we do tend to remember most things.
     Okay, bottom line, we are having a great time. Think Mutt and Jeff or the Odd Couple. People on the street or public transportation must think we are both crazy! That's it for now, ariva something or is it adios?  Oh my, home soon.

January 29, 2015
     I'm Home!!!  I arrived home last evening after a 20 hour day. It was three flights, one from Sicily to Rome, then to  Atlanta and on to Orlando. About 14 hours in the air. I did upgrade to Economy Plus which is good for the 11 hour long flight. Yes, Harry, they gave us free food! :)
     I enjoyed my bus ride from Siracusa to Palermo after leaving Harry. The countryside is beautiful as you go near snow capped mountains and valleys of fruit and vegetable farms. Look at Rick Steve's  YouTube of Sicily.
     My time without Harry was casual and unplanned. Yes, I walked much more each day, and YES, I ate the street food. I love to walk the markets and Palermo is full of them. While my Italian is horrible to say the least and the people speak almost no English, it was not a problem. Giuseppe, my host at the hotel, was wonderful and it is a perfect location.
     Harry and I were both asked many times what we think of Obama. I think they have read of the negative reviews and they have a hard time understanding with our great (compared to most places) economy, why the American's are not happy!
     When I inquired for help or directions the Italians always stopped and many times even walked me to where I was inquiring of. I have found  this true in all countries that I visit. A smile helps.
     How was it with Harry?  Well, if you know Harry, you don't need to ask. It does make me appreciate his brother, John, as I am sure most of you do, too! No, just kidding, we play off of each other and keep each other and others around us laughing all the time. At our age, what one forgets, the other remembers!
     Anyway, a great trip. I will report more next year when Harry and I visit China, Japan or Viet Nam or ?????????

Schim's View
Harry's Travels