For all who are interested, I intend on posting regularly about our travels and trials in Italy. I shall try to post twice a week. I'll let you know what days those will be after we get there and see what the daily routine looks like.
We leave from the Philadelphia airport at 9:00 pm Thursday, September 3, for our overnight flight to arrive in Venice (with a three hour layover in London) at 1:00 pm on September 4. After that, we have train ride to the city of Padova (Padua), whereupon we shall take a taxi or other means of transportation to our apartment on Via Margotto, just outside the historic city center.
We're getting geared up for the big trip. We just received Matt's visa in the mail after an exhausting death march of banal paperwork, horrible bureaucrats, and inane requirements. It turns out that in Italian administrative matters (even more than American), it's not what you know, or what papers you've got, or even how many guidelines you follow, but who you know. After Matt was flat out rejected and humiliated while trying to get a visa the first time, the second time just one simple letter from La Professore on magical Penn letterhead suddenly made the (same) visa lady bend over backwards for him. In fact, the visa arrived in the mail the very next day after she took his paperwork.
I'm now slowing gathering things we'll need for the trip: as much infant tylenol as I can gather (apparently it's not available over there), a watch for Matt since his cell phone won't work and he has a hopeless internal clock, raincoats and and pocket umbrellas since it rains all the time, etc. We're also making our last round of visits with all our dear family and friends. We just returned from helping Stephen and Sarah move into their new house in South Bend, IN, and met up with my parents and younger brother, Anthony, at my brother Eli's house, who also goes to Notre Dame. It was quite a full reunion!
Well, tune in next time for more pictures and stories!