Travel Woes or Coming Soon to a City Near You, Ben and Martha’s 2013 Eating Tour

Okay, the countdown to our trip back to the US has begun.  We leave Italy on the 22nd and will not return until almost mid-December.  And for those of you worried about the good dog, Nerone, our friends Thane and Melissa will be coming to stay in the house and care for him. 

Right now I am in the angst of travel planning.  Not where I wanted to be less than 10 days  before our trip.  We started planning this back in the winter!!!!  But it has been so hard to get even the tee tiniest shred of info from some friends/family members who we want to visit with.   So that pushed off being able to make any definite plans.  And then you get the folks who one month tell you one thing and the next month something else….  OH PLEASE!!!!  I am really trying to be patient.  But this trip is on my last nerve.

And then we get to the car rental issue.  We need a car for 48 days.  We can rent one with unlimited mileage for 48 days but once the insurance per day is added in, that is an extra  (on average) $50 a day.  (Remember, we have no US auto insurance policy. Credit card ‘benefits’?  Yes, one covers for 15 days in the US, the other for 42 days.  No help there)  For less money, we can lease one for 48 days with limited mileage, 4000 miles.  At a minimum we are driving 3000 miles to get to all the cities that we are visiting.  That is a big 20 miles a day that we could have for going places once we arrived at all these cities.   I decided to investigate just buying a short term policy.  I emailed all the major companies.  Got a response from 1.  Which wisely suggested that I need to contact a local agency for a short term policy.  I email AAA, they had nothing to offer.   I emailed 6 local North Carolina insurance agencies in the little town where we are ‘residents’.  I received 1 response that could offer me nothing. 


And then there are rooms.  For several reasons, we are not able to stay with friends in every city that we will visit.  So we have had to find rooms in a few places.  Of course, I turned to Airbnb.  We were Airbnb hosts.  Very successful ones.  Many emails had to be exchanged between me and the folks offering rooms to figure out if there were steps and how steep they were and blah blah.   Finally I booked a place in Northern Virginia.  And eventually found one in Kentucky.   All is fine.  I am happy with the places.  Sometime in this process, Google Chrome has updated.  Now it will only show me Google Italy.  Not Google US.  I can get many of the sites in English but the prices that I am being quoted are in Euros.   And dear sweet Airbnb chose to bill me for one place in Euros plus Italian VAT and the other place in dollars but still with Italian VAT.  Why am I paying Italian VAT on something purchased with an American credit card, that bills to an American address, is paid with American funds for a service/product used in the US all from a company that has  all of our US banking info on file since they used to deposit money there?    Just because I used a computer in Italy to arrange it all?  It turns out that our address with Airbnb is in Italy.  So they feel they were justified in charging us in Euros and the VAT. 


And innocently I tried to buy shoes online.  I have a US address, I am having them shipped to a US address and paying for them with a US credit card.  They were not really the shoes I wanted but without making a phone call (remember that costs money too)  to find the ones that used to be available I decided on a pair.  I place the order.  Then I get an email.  A problem with my order.  Now I have to call.  The ones I really want are no longer available.  Fine.  But because I placed the order for a different pair from a computer outside the US their system kicked it out.  I pointed out that I have a US address, I am having them shipped to a US address and paying for them with a US credit card.  Not too cheerily, ‘Nicole’ offered to help me place the order again with her on the phone while I paid for the call.  Ohhhh, I don’t think so!   If the website does not make that clear then forget it! 


I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR 1 BIT/ 1 COMMENT/OR ANYTHING ABOUT HOW HARD THE ECONOMY IS.  Here we are trying to spend money and buy things and we do not even get responses to our emails or we are treated badly.



So, are we looking forward to our trip???  Many parts of it yes, other parts of it no.  (I think this time next year we might still be paying for it)  We will be seeing our neighbors, the Anzilottis.  We truly miss them and will be spending one of the best days of the year (I think) there,  Halloween!!!!  The Sunday, before Halloween, we hope to see my long long time friend Roberta, along with others for dim sum at a favorite place in Virginia.  We are going to Ben’s 50th high school reunion with his sister.  Ben’s daughter and grand daughter (graciously) are coming up to visit us in North Carolina.  (thank you)  We will be staying with our friends Jim and BK.   We are going to see my uncle in Indiana who served in WWII on Veterans’ Day, and stay with my cousins there.  Maybe, we are going to see my brother and cousin near Chicago.  We are visiting with my long time friend, Allan and his Mom and hopefully  many others in Kentucky.  From there we move on to visit with another  long time friend, Barry and his wife in Asheville and then back to Oxford, NC for Thanksgiving and pie from the K&W.  (Now here’s something to look forward to… pictures of pumpkin pie from K&W)  Then the finale, my Aunt Mary’s 100th birthday in Ocean City, NJ. 


So that is what’s to come before the month is over and for November and part of December, unless of course I go berserk over the planning.  Which at this point, is still a possibility.    I’m thinking next time we visit the US we will go to two places.  You want to see us?  You drive!   Or we might just go to Asia instead. 


Anyway, more detailed info about our trip will be on the page (see the header of my blog) titled Fall, 2013 Trip.  You will need a password to see it.  Email me if you want the password and I have not sent it to you.

oc and qm2 051


The start of another trip, 7 years ago. 



  1. nina

    martha darling i dont remember my password so I cant see your plans for your visit Maybe I will come to VA while your there or meet you in New Jersey..Let me know WOULD LOVE TO SEE U GUYS

  2. Mike

    I’m not so sure your Blog people will post this…but the full calendar was still not readable…at least by my computer. What I was trying to ascertain was if you’d be in this area on Nov. 24…and after reading, it appeared NO. Was planning to email you an invitation to my mother’s 105th Birthday party that day. NOVA folks will be coming, so you would have known others. I’ll be out of town for your dim sum, unfortunately. I get to dim sums about once every other year or so…and usually it’s been with you folks! Have a great trip!

  3. Hi Michael, Yes your comment made it. Thanks. I think I finally got the info from the calendar up, just not in traditional form. But what ever. I am sorry we will have left the area by the end of November. I should have liked that celebration too. Your Mom looks good from the FB photos. I hope I look that good at 70 much less 105.

  4. A better version of the calendar is now up. It would be nice to see you all if you could manage it or a quick trip to the Jersey shore???

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