Lost Cellphone

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In Venice today, and lost my cell phone. Unsure if it was stolen, or lost, but whatever the circumstance it is a travesty. Went to the local police station, and filed a report. Felt like I was in a PBS European police drama as the Italian officer was non-comital, and laid back. Could tell he wanted noting to do with me, but, I played along to get the report filed.

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Attempted to retrace my steps to see if the phone was possibly on the sidewalk but that was an impossible feat. In Venice they do not believe in signage, and it is impossible to find a street on a map, therefore, I could not retrace my steps. Plus, each street is either wide or narrow, and even the map aps have challenges.

So, another expense upon arrival back in the states. Never a dull moment when you travel.

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Things Forgotten

Must admit am a little rusty in traveling abroad. The following four items bear mentioning..

  • Hotel floors begin at level 0. If your room is on the 4th floor it actually is the 5th. For skeptics who wish to avoid the 13th floor don’t take a room on the 12th floor in the EU.
  • To obtain electricity in the hotel room there is a small plastic sleeve next to the door. Slip the plastic key card in it and Viola – you have lights! And don’t forget that is where your room key is stored…
  • Potty charge – challenging to find a loo without paying a fee of .50 euros. How I miss the US on this one….
  • The EU has different plugs. Have used this Amazon one for years, but also bring a bag of adapters as more than one is needed. As things have progressed am finding more and more hotels have USB ports for adapters sometimes even hidden in the base of lamps. This lessens the need for adaptors.
Haozi $16.99 Amazon, and I receive no financial gain from this recommendation, only grateful to pass it on. Have had “challenges” with others.. This blue baby has even survived water damage, though don’t recommend you test it. Ha! Ha! as my daughter would say. The picture is the size of the device.

Despite these minor hiccups am surviving my second EU trip post pandemic. Even did a subway in Vienna today, but that is for later.

I remain a Europhil, and once a Europhil, always a Europhil.

3 Days to go: Covid Mask-Up

Reading of US news with covid on the rise makes me shutter. Gavin Newsom is the latest in a long chain of vax, and double boosted folks affected.

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On our EU tour bus we have mandated masking, and I continue this practice religiously in each store, and hotel lobby. To return to the US a negative covid test is required, and, if positive, where would one quarantine??

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I return to the EU in 7 days upon my return. Have a 3 day pre-EU layover in New York City. Crazy, but trips purchased need to be completed, or loose the money. Travel companies have been very patient, and the current trip I am on was purchased in 2019.

My next trip will be to England, then a cruise. Traveling to England no longer requires a covid test. Ship travel requires a negative test result in 72 hours pre-boarding, so have a test scheduled 2 miles from my youth hostel at Lloyd’s Pharmacy in London. What a data mining feat that was!

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In the meantime.. will continue to mask-up.

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Jinxed Myself..

Today I suffered the entire day with gi concerns. Dinner last night was supposedly dairy free but think the small potatoes in the lettuce salad had butter coating, or the chicken was baked in butter??. Made a quick potty trip prior to morning bus departure, and when I returned from the loo found the bus traveling out of the parking lot. Guess the tour guide counted wrong. Once on the bus got a round of applause. Just what one wants after suffering in the potty, however, I smiled.

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As the day progressed the suffering did as well, and smiles were too challenging. Someone took my sanctuary in the back of the bus, and when I returned to my assigned seat the passengers behind me complained I had moved the seat back too far.. Don’t you just love group events???

At dinner while attempting to get a non-dairy meal the waitress messed up. When I attempted to correct her a fellow traveler came to the waitresses rescue, and lambasted me. That was all I needed after being ill all day. Said this to the fellow traveler as she continued her tirade. Then she began to placate with — are you feeling better??? Add insult to injury.. I moved to a table in the other room away from the group.

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The tour guide intervened, and the restaurant manager handled my needs. As my fellow travelers sang, and danced I sat alone happily with my non-dairy meal then took a short walk.

Later one of the men from the tour sought me out and presented me with a yellow rose. Nice touch.

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Moral of the story: Will stick with Expedia, and travel solo. The November group tour is officially cancelled. No more groups………………

Day 8 of 14…

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Trip going well. Funny, I see little mention of Ukraine in the EU. The only person I’ve seen wearing the Ukrainian flag colors is me. Today in one of the churches there was a banner stating, “Pray for Ukraine,” which was a first.

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Maybe the Europeans are turning a blind eye to the situation???

Don’t get it.

Am enjoying the trip immensely. Touring Hitler’s Eagles Nest tomorrow. It was his hideaway.

Group is pleasant. Will write about the daily journey once able to download pictures.

Four of the folks in the group still have not received their bags. Since it’s difficult to find reasonable stores and clothing sizes one man paid $170. for a pair of jeans!!!!! It has become the tour joke. Hopefully, Delta will pay.

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Closing on that note. Early departure for Eagles Nest in the am…

Dietary Concerns of the Trip

NOTE: This entry contains personal and probably tmi, (too much information). Beware…

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For the last 3 months I have had intestinal problems. These problems have ranged from profuse to stuck, if you know what I mean. With a father who had a colostomy for 30 years prior to departing assumed it was cancer, and figured I have done my time, and am ready.

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Eventually I acquiesced and made an appointment at a big box gastric practice which is the only game in town. Took 6 weeks for the appointment but found the young physician pleasant. We mainly spoke of my then upcoming EU adventure, and I received some medical info to boot.

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The diagnosis: lactose intolerance, which happens in aging. Enzymes either shut down or stop, and avoidance of dairy is key. Dairy means butter, cheese, milk products, however, dairy is in just about everything from granola bars to processed frozen foods. My life has been altered forever, and while not cancer it is a concern requiring planning, and thought.

Crazy as it sounds I always enjoyed reading food labels, but now it is a necessity. Ordering food in a restaurant is a dilemma. The folks in the EU have been extremely helpful especially in Switzerland where everything is cheese. Restaurant staff seem to know even better than I what foods to order, and their culinary creativity in maneuvering this angst has been enlightening.

If only we could only act globally in this way.

Maybe we all should get lactose intolerance now as we’ll only get it eventually.

It would certainly change the world.

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Wonder if cows get lactose intolerance?

Don’t You Just Love A Tubby???

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At hotels throughout the EU only showers are available. Sitting on a bus several hours a day can cause havoc to anyone’s back, not to mention one who has been a nurse for almost 50 years, meaning ME. Having brought much epsom salts on this journey I was hopeful to use them.

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Tonight when the new room once again had a shower I took action. Placing the bathmat over the shower drain I flooded the shower floor, added epsom salts, and lay in this inch of warm water. American ingenuity at its best, and it worked.

My back thanks me.

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Verizon Welcome

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The last 2 days in Europe I have been receiving a welcome message from Verizon. It started with, “Welcome to Italy,” and continued on with, “Welcome to Switzerland.” I don’t want my cell phone company welcoming me.


The greeting explained I had three free days of service. Then reading between the lines I realized I would be paying for the remaining 12 days of this EU journey at $10 a day, incurring an additional $120. to my monthly bill.

It’s always about money.

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I don’t recall ever asking for this service but apparently it’s one of those options included in the 25 page contract you sign. After an hour I located a Verizon chat person. The lovely Miss Anne stopped the service, and assured it was over, however, the Welcome to.. messages persist.

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In tonight’s chat call I “conversed” with the lovely Miss Natalie. The service is now on demand, but the welcome messages will never stop. At least she was honest, and though I feel violated I realize Verizon’s attempts to make a buck outshines my PTSD.

What is next?

I don’t want to know.

Former First Lady: Foster Care Scholarships

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Melania Trump has recently begun to give scholarships to those who are aging out of foster care. Annually, twenty thousand children leave foster care, and currently 400,000, are in foster care. Sales from her NFTs* are sponsoring these scholarships.

Through the Biden Pandemic Act, foster youth aging out of the system have resources to access services to stay in school, job training programs, pay rent and other bills, and transition to adulthood. Nice to see work on both sides for foster children as children are the future.

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*www.melaniatrump.com NFTs for sale on this site