Before the trip, we focused on Rick Steves’ rules. His third rule is that it’s necessary to travel with drip-dry clothing, because we would need to wash clothes out at night that would be dry the next morning. No one had told us that before our Italy trip. It took forever for the all-cotton clothes we had packed to dry there.
Rick Steves’ second rule is that everyone was responsible for carrying his or her own luggage. It had to be big enough to hold necessities, yet small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. We would be doing laundry in the hotel room sink every night because we wouldn’t be taking a lot of clothes with us. Also, there would be no porters, so we would carry our luggage across cobblestone streets and up steps in hotels that might not have elevators.
Rick’s first rule made an impact on me: no grumpy people need to participate. This rule made me consider the bright side of every situation during our trip.
So, On Sunday, September 5, we set off for the airport. Even though our departure date was during Labor Day Weekend, there was very little traffic except near the tennis stadium in Queens. Our plane, however, was packed with passengers whose countries of national origin were many and varied.
In initiating conversations with each passenger, the flight attendants had to guess whether to speak English or French. I was amused to be addressed in French several times. Although I had been practicing French by computer using a program called Duolingo, I couldn’t think fast enough to respond in French.
Our airplane dinner was surprisingly pleasant: chicken with rice and a green salad. Our breakfast was far less pleasant: plain yogurt and a prepackaged muffin. I considered the bright side. I was sure we’d find something better upon landing.