Italian planes trains and automobiles are the only way to travel in Europe.  Read more about our recent adventures in Italy!

Italian Planes Trains and Automobiles

We left October 1st on our overseas adventure in Italy.  Mike finally agreed to obtain his passport, which opened the door to our first trip.  Even though the United States still holds many more destinations for us, we thought Italy would be a good place to start.

Planes

You obviously can’t get to Europe quickly by anything other than plane. From the west coast, this means many hours spent in semi crowded cabins with a few hundred people.  We flew with another couple from Redmond to Los Angeles (LAX).  Then LAX to Chicago O’Hare.  Our overseas flight was direct from O’Hare to Venice.  A total of 17 air hours from home to Venice.  Italy is nine hours ahead of us, so we had to adjust not only to that time change but also jet lag.  On the whole, our flights were good.

Los Angeles airport suffers from some growing pains and proved to be the most difficult leg of the journey.  Add in deplaning outside the terminal, then taking a bus to the terminal with limited time to spare.  They don’t tell you these things when you book your tickets!  Our Italian Planes Trains and Automobiles improved with our overseas flight.  We booked Premium Economy on American Airlines and had a 787 jet, which was fairly new.  Nice seats, amenities, entertainment, food and crew.  We definitely enjoyed that 11 hour leg of the journey.

Boats

Don’t forget to add in boats when staying in Venice!  From the Venice airport, you only have a few options to get into Venice.  Boat, train, or bus to the train station.  We chose the Alilaguna, which is a smaller boat for around 30 people and luggage.  We watched these boats racing through the channel as we flew into Venice.  Little did we know that we would be riding in the crazy water race we just witnessed!  And, it was raining to boot.  We did meet a nice couple from England though.  The husband did maintenance for the Highclere Castle – the “real” Downtown Abbey.  He invited us to visit if we make it to England on our travels.

We landed at the dock specified by our Airbnb host.  She met us and escorted us to our apartment.  Right on a small canal, it was modern but seemed to capture the Venice vibe.  It served us well in terms of location and amenities.  Venice afforded us 4 days to recover from jet lag and see some sights.  As well as getting lost a few times!  More on that in another post…  Another boat ride down the Grand Canal to get to the train station to catch our next leg.

Trains

To get to our rental car, we first had to take a short shuttle train out of Venice proper.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so much.  Just getting your bearings around the transportation hub proved to be a bit of a challenge.  Along with our luggage, up steps, over bridges, etc.  You get the picture.  Once on the shuttle, we needed to find the our rental car office.  Without specific directions and a different language, it’s interesting to say the least.

We also used the rail system when we dropped off our car in Pisa after our week in Tuscany.  We used the regional trains between Pisa and Lucca.  Then Lucca to Florence, where we caught the high speed train from Florence to Milan.  That was interesting and fast.  Highly recommended mode of transportation!

We finished our train travel using the train from downtown Milan to the Milan airport.  An easy 50 minute ride that was actually set up with luggage storage at the seats.

Automobiles

This Italian Planes Trains and Automobiles post wouldn’t be complete without mention of our car rental.  We found an automatic, which is virtually unheard of in Italy.  Those Mario Andretti drivers like their stick shifts!  And their fast, curvy roads.  We had an Alfa Romeo 4 door, which amazingly had enough room for luggage for 4 adults.  It traveled the roads of Tuscany quite easily, as we visited wine country from Montepulciano to Sienna to Orvieto.  The duomos and ancient castles were amazing to see.  More on that in another post…

We finished our trip in Lucca (trains) to Milan.  Then on to our returning plane from Milan to London to Phoenix to Redmond.

Back to Work

And, we are now back to work.  We had a great time on our trip.  We’ll share more about the sights in upcoming posts.  Our jet lag has subsided.  And, there’s no place like home.  🙂