Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back in Bologna

Here we are in Bologna.  It has been a day.  Jim's gastrointestinal distress continues.  Immodium was obtained prior to going to the train station, and so the trip was uneventful on that front.  Did you know that on the Italian trains, the toilets flush directly to the tracks?  Neither did I.  There is a sign up in the restroom requesting that people not use the facility while the train is near a station.  Ewwwwww.
We had assigned seating in the first class car.  When we got there the door to our compartment was locked because the conductor had left his stuff in there.  It was sort of weird because we didn't recognize the stuff that was left on the seat as "conductor stuff" and could not figure out why, out of all the possible compartments, ours was locked.  Eventually he showed up and let us in.  We weren't expecting the six person seat configuration.  The train down just had seats in the car. These had compartments with doors.

When we arrived at the hotel, Jim was feeling sufficiently under the weather that we considered flying home early.  I called TravelGuard to see if the airfare upcharges would be covered.  I took out this insurance within 10 days of the first trip deposit, which gives me a pre-existing condition waiver.  Because I wasn't on my guard I let it slip that Jim had had a cold prior to leaving.  The person on the phone immediately countered with Jim's having the cold would negate all of our medical coverage that I paid for.  I am not amused by this.  When I get back, I'm going to call them and ask them for a precise definition of the meaning of "waiver of pre-existing medical condition". So, based on their seeming desire to not pay out anything, I told Jim to buck up and that we were going to go get the car.
We cabbed to the airport.  In both directions it has seemed like a really long drive.  It has been.  After getting the rental, we drove back by a much more direct route. Getting the car was tedious.  We're dropping the car in France.  The people on the reservation line said it would be a 750 euro drop fee.  We were pretty upset by that, but Hertz was the only company that would let us do a drop, we already had plane tickets from Marseilles, so we decided to suck it up and pay it.  Then we get to the airport to get the car, and are told there is an additional 200 euro drop fee for the GPS.  At this point we started discussing not getting the car and just taking the trains.  Miraculously, the rate book came out, and the car drop fee turned in to 200 euro, and the GPS drop fee became 50 euro.  So that was interesting.  We can't figure out why they would quote such a high drop fee over the phone, unless they really do not want people leaving the cars in other countries.  Our first GPS unit was in-op.  We took that back, and the new one is very nice, it's intuitive and it works.
Driving back to the hotel was not awful.  It's good to have round-abouts everywhere, they give a person time to think and the ability to reverse course.  The GPS calls them rotaries.
Tomorrow we are going to Padua.  We had planned to bus in to Venice from Padua on Tuesday, but that plan is now made uncertain due to Jim not feeling well. 
We keep reminding ourselves that long vacations have an ebb and a flow, and that one must tolerate the low ebbs and wait for a rising tide.

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