11 September 2008

Sono molto felice!

Only seven months until hubby and I jet off to Europe and it feels like ages. I have tried to keep myself from searching the internet for accommodations because it is still quite far in advance and many small hotels and B&Bs do not have their 2009 rates listed yet. Per usual, however, I could not resist the lure of Virtual Tourist and Trip Advisor, my much-loved and often-frequented sites for travel planning.

After doing a quick search on Firenze accommodations, I found a list of several hotels that were actually accepting April 2009 bookings. It must have been my lucky day because one of the top ranked suggestions was actually within my price range and it fits the bill for everything that we had hoped for during our 3-night stay in Tuscany. I was feeling a little disheartened after earlier searches, where I could only seem to find some sketchy pensiones that were charging an arm and a leg for very basic accommodations with no bathroom. For almost the same amount as some 1 or 2 star establishments, I was ecstatic to actually find early booking at a 4-star hotel. I jumped at the online offer and was doubly blessed to learn that the three nights are entirely refundable should plans change; I have up to 24 hours before the date of arrival to inform the hotel of any changes or cancellations without risk of a penalty…score again! The hotel looks beautiful and it has glowing ratings on Trip Advisor. Can’t wait.

While I was on a role, I also managed to find several wonderful recommendations for a B&B in the tiny village of Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre. I contacted the proprietor via email to ask a few general questions and received a response only 30 minutes later with a mountain of information, some beautiful pictures of the accommodations and a booking form. Once again, this place falls within my price range and the family is even willing to honour the current 2008 rates if I do decide to book this far in advance. Each room is contained in it’s own little villa with private entrance and a terrace overlooking the colorful little village and the vineyards that dot the cliffs. The room offered even has it’s own lemon tree on the terrace - a perfect place to while away the hours while sampling some of the locally-produced wine. It’s as though a little slice of heaven has fallen into my lap. After showing hubby the email tonight, hopefully I’ll get the green light to go ahead and book ASAP. I have a feeling that I’ll have no problem convincing him.

So there you have it – one place booked and another well on the way. The dream is definitely becoming more of a reality now. I’ll take a little hiatus until December and then it’s back to hotel shopping for Paris, Venice and Rome.

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