Day 1 Saturday, May 31, 2014:
Victor's brother, Luis, picked us up and drove us to the airport shortly after my parents came to our house. We met up with the Schulenburg boys, my godfather, Chuck, and another of my dad's forever friends, Allen, and his son, Chris. I immediately noticed my dad had a new accessory: a purse. A not-so-masculine cross body bag that looked like and was confirmed by my father, that it indeed came from Ross' ladies purse department. I figured, especially after he showed me his new travel jacket with inner zipped mesh pockets from LL Bean (that bean makes a good product), that it was for organizational purposes, for a wallet, passport, travel gear etc, but when I had to point out the bills of cash creeping from his Velcro cargo pant pocket, I asked why he wasn't utilizing his new purse, that clearly that was the purpose of the purse. He quickly responded that his purse was simply for sandwiches. He wasn't being funny. Before we boarded the flight, we had just enough time to go to the lounge where we could get a cold beer and a snack before the flight. This is the part where my dad literally took cold cuts and cheese from the complimentary food station in the lounge, wrapped them with mustard in a slice of bread, and shoved them directly into the purse. It was a sandwich bag, I don't know why we expected anything else.
We arrived in Istanbul with our visas in hand and a tour on the schedule, but the skies went from blue to black in the time it took from the runway through customs, so we took to the airport lounge instead, Schulenburg boys and all. Several hours of drinking and chatting and hanging out with more food, now Turkish cuisine, was a good substitute to our two hour tour in a monsoon.
Our flight then went from Istanbul to Rome, where Victor and I stayed at the Hilton at the Rome airport to get a little rest before our flight to Venice the next morning. My mom and dad and the Schulenburg boys went into Rome to their hotel where they would stay for the next few days before meeting us in Florence.
The next morning, Monday, June 2nd, we woke up and worked out in the little gym (I ran on the squeakiest dying elliptical that's ever existed while Victor lifted weights) and had breakfast before our flight to Venice, where we met my Auntie Sheryl and Uncle Tom to spend the next few days. We were finally in Italy and our trip had officially begun! Could not be more excited.
We arrived in Venice and were picked up by a personal driver to take us to our own water taxi which will take us directly to the front door of our apartment. God I love traveling with a master planner.
We were greeted at our stop by Auntie Sheryl and Uncle Tom who had arrived a day earlier. Through enormous wooden doors, we passed through the first door on the right and then another door up 3 stairs. I imagined living in this apartment in Venice would be like living in a calendar. Inside, the apartment was so charming: Low beamed ceilings in the living room with the best view through wrought iron arched windows, a full kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Best of all, you could see and hear the gondolas pass outside the window, and it seemed to be the most popular area to sing, as the lyrics echoed in our area.