Buona Sera, Signorina, Buona Sera

by Nancy Bestor

By the time you read this, I’ll be sipping a glass of wine on the terrace of George Clooney’s summer home on Lake Como. Yes, we are off to Italy for three weeks in Lake Como, the Cinque Terre, Verona and Venice. I’m sure our readers will be waiting with bated breath to hear our stories (including the plan for Bob and I to kiss while cruising under the Bridge of Sighs on a gondola in Venice and COMPLETELY EMBARRASS our youngest daughter Sarah), but until then, I thought I’d share with you the few things that keep me up at night as I prepare for this vacation. In no particular order, I’m worried about whether George will ask the whole family for drinks on his terrace as the sun sets, or just me? If he doesn’t invite us all, I’ll decline. Or will I?

I’m also worried about my shoes. I am always looking for the perfect pair of travel shoes. You know, the ones that combine practicality with style. I don’t want to wear white tennis shoes, but neither do I want to spend hours walking in shoes that give me blisters. Until I find this perfect pair of shoes, I’ll be taking my Keen MaryJanes, along with my Keen sandals and slightly dressier but far less comfortable Vero Cuoio Italian flat sandals. Like our savvy readers out there, on the plane I’ll wear my bulkiest shoes and then from Como to Venice I’ll look longingly at the feet of Italian women in their pointed high heeled shoes.

Another area of concern relates to my iPhone. Our 17 year old daughter Emily will leave us two weeks into our adventure to fly to Paris for a two week home stay. I want to hear that she arrived in Paris safely, and that her host family has picked her up at the airport. She can call me or text me with this information. After that, she’ll use her phone for emergencies only, and Bob and I will use our phone to check in daily with our incredibly responsible and capable staff. I have service through AT&T, and always sign up for the International Roaming Package, which costs $5.95 per month, and lowers the per minute rate of incoming and outgoing calls from $1.49 to $.99 (in Italy and Switzerland). This makes sense. What makes less sense is the messaging portion of my service. As near as I can tell, I can buy a text package that costs $10 for 50 texts (which comes out to .20 cents a text) or I can pay a per text price of .50 cents. Incoming texts are free, so I’ll only pay when I send a text. The problem is I’ve spoken to three different customer service representatives at AT&T and gotten two different answers regarding the texts. I think, however, I’ll go with majority rules, and just hope for the best.

I won’t be signing up for the data package offered by AT&T, because I’m fairly confident of finding free wireless most of the time to check Facebook to see if George has posted pictures of me on his terrace. I will however make certain I turn off the data roaming, so my phone doesn’t check on its own for emails and such. AT&T provides helpful international travel tips for iPhone users here: http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/en_US/pdf/Travel-Tips.pdf

Those are my greatest travel concerns of the moment. I’ll keep you posted on my cocktails with George. Until we return, ciao!