When in Rome (or anywhere) do these 3 Things

Three travel tips to get to know the people of countries you visit. Seeing the tourists sites has value. Likely part of why you planned your trip. Reaching another level of value for the Goodman Giants, family of travel bloggers, happens when the Giants see and learn how the people in non-US countries live.

Giant proof ways to learn how others live:

Travel Tip One: Go to the grocery store. Locals shop at grocery stores. Grandmas, families, single men in biker shorts, women who haven’t gotten their hair did… Want to see a cross section of society in the when visiting a foreign country? Go to the grocery store.

  • In Europe the employees at the grocery check out sit versus the normal standing done by United States counterparts.
  • Orange Fanta soda in Italy has pulp! About as much as low-pulp orange juice.
  • In Germany most bottles purchased include a deposit. What a cool thing to use a machine like this at the grocery store! The scanner puts on a show and won’t be tricked by a bottle with no deposit like the last one in the video below.

Have you been to the grocery store while on a foreign vacation?

Travel Tip Two: Laundromats are for locals. Tourists pack enough clothes for the duration of their trip, use hotel machines and services, or wash items in the hotel sink. Locals use laundromats. They ride up on bikes, walk in with armloads, and roll up in BMWs. See a real cross section of humanity, talked to them (they are often board), and observed others while watching whites dance with the one stray dress sock.

Sample life while creating memorable  washing adventures. The experiences can be frazzling in the moments when you think you will board a flight with suitcases too heavy for Hercules because no dryers are available. Exhibit A, or at least a link to it, makes the site below a dream!

Travel Tip Three: Ever seen a movie in the theater while traveling abroad? Did you know that in Mexico salsa is available to slather popcorn in like most would use butter traditionally in the States? Special insight is gained by being with people doing what they do away from tourists.

Live List of the Lost – Final Update

macro photography of brown and black lost cat signage on black bare tree

This list will be updated as the Goodman Giants lose items on the 4 weeks of EPIC Camp Goodman:

  • Day 1: Tacoma lost his neck pillow.
  • Day 3: Tacoma lost his coin ring made for him by Boston.
  • Day 3: Shelly lost her Oyster card (London Underground pass).
  • Day 4: Shelly lost her power adapter for the UK – good news that Nick packed extra to share! Of course Shelly really packed for Nick, so Shelly came to her own rescue.

——— Updated on Day 4: Tacoma found his coin ring lost on Day 3! Tacoma lost one of his two pairs of headphones. Tacoma lost his Oyster card only to tell his parents on Day 9 as the Giants returned to the UK from Ireland.

——— Updated on Day 5: Shelly found her lost adapter!

——— Updated on Day 7: Airport security at Edinburgh, Scotland took the following from Savannah:

  • Half tube of toothpaste (think Studio C airport security)
  • Chapstick/lipgloss
  • Bath & Bodyworks lotion
  • Bottle of conditioner from hotel
  • Half a container of face wash

——— Updated on Day 8: Nick lost his purple neck pillow. Nick lost Tacoma’s phone charge cord. Airport security at Dublin, Ireland took a bottle of chocolate spread from Savannah (that’s a liquid?)

——— Updated on Day 9: Nick lost his jacket. Somehow he did not have it after returning from the hectic laundry run of Day 8. Tacoma found the headphones he lost on Day 4. Shelly lost her Crystal Light Caffeine packets. Savannah lost an earring. Nick lost his Mophie charger cord to breakage.

——— Update 2 on Day 9: Hertz called back to report that Dat 8 and Day 9 Lost items were not found in the returned van.

——— Update 2 on Day 10: Shelly lost a green comb she has used daily for over a decade.

——— Update 2 on Day 11: Nick lost (ruined really) his lucky pen. Nick lost his shorts. Nick lost Savannah’s shirt. See pictures for the scene. Nick found a long black charge cord for iPhone charging in the hotelZ

——— Updated on Day 12: Nick lost his sun glasses – good thing he packed 3 pairs at $5 a piece. Savannah lost “gold” hoop earrings from Target – not made of gold. Savannah lost a pearl earring – not really from the belly of an oyster.

——— Updated on Day 13: Nick threw away a bag of chocolates, pastries, and chocolate spread that he mistook for trash – get the full story from Shelly on simultaneously using bags for used and new goods.

——— Updated on Day 14: Found out that on Day 11 Tacoma left 10 of Boston’s deck of 52 playing cards on the ferry from Dover to Calais. Nick found a pair of sunglasses lost by someone else crammed down in the seats of the rental vehicle – they are the Giants until the owner can be contacted (could prove to be very difficult).

——— Updated on Day 15: Shelly found her Crystal Light Caffeine packs that were lost on Day 9.

——— Updated on Day 19: Houston lost his neck pillow.

——— Updated on Day 20: Nick lost his replacement Mophie charger to breakage (the replacement to the one that broke on day 9). This one broke when it was plugged into a battery pack it was not made for by a beautiful Giant.

——— Updated on Day 22: Shelly left her prescription glasses, case for them, and some disposable contacts in the same case on the train Basel, Switzerland to Zermatt, Switzerland on Day 21. Reporting the loss today after Nick visited the train lost and found in Zermatt twice with no success.

——— Updated on Day 23: Shelly lost her headphones. Shelly’s battery charger broke and was intentionally left behind with cord that also broke.

——— Update 2 on Day 23: Remember how on Day 22 this blog was updated with how Shelly’s eye glasses were lost as well as her earphones (earphones reported Day 23 but lost in the same incident)? All the kids checked their bags twice as asked. Nick was asked if he had seen them, shared that he had not, did not specifically look for them in his belongings, even went to the train lost and found (twice in Zermatt within minutes of each other so it was only posted as one of the two visits before since Shelly made the 2nd visit in Visp, Switzerland), and it turns out the items were in his bag all along! Nick should have actually looked in his stuff when he was asked if he had seen them – he answered the question being asked. He should have helped answer the bigger question rather than have Shelly find the items in his bag when she was looking for a game for the Giants to play in Lucca, Italy. Lost clearly isn’t a permanent status on this EPIC Camp Goodman.

——— Update on Day 24: Shelly, “Anyone know who’s shirt this is?”

“Noomi sent a picture of it and says we left it when we did laundry at their house.” Later Shelly says again, “Anyone figure out who’s shirt that is?” More time passes, many hours, and Shelly says, “That’s my favorite shirt, I love it because it doesn’t show any stains!” Mystery solved.

——— Update on Day 27: Houston lost the rubber ear protector piece to one side of his headphones, you know the part that makes it so the hard plastic does not dig into the ear.

——— Update on Day 28: Houston lost his Coin Ring in his grandma’s mini van on the final trip home. Hope to still find it.

And the winner is Boston! He only lost the 10 playing cards that Tacoma lost for him on Day 11 (reported Day 14). Boston is the winner!

——— Update 3 days after: Houston’s Coin Ring lost on Day 28 was found by his cousin Molly.

4 Stars in Rome Means What?

During 2018 EPIC Camp Goodman the Giants stayed at 21 different hotels over 27 nights. Hotel Napoleon in Rome, Italy was the last one. 4 stars and nice pictures lined up a nice end to a great trip.

Affordable enough rates for Deluxe Rooms with breakfast included.

Breakfast was good when it came to breads and fruits. The cold meats and cheeses were European standard in that they were like having a selection of sandwich cold cuts – not too much in the cold meats that is to the Giants’s liking. The warm eggs (scrambled and pie) and warm meats (sausage and bacon) were disappointing.

Have you ever seen baby carrots in cooked eggs? And the picture does not show how the bottom is burned black. No pictures taken of the soupy scrambled eggs – Giants like them dry not liquid.

The property needs updating. It takes one very tight elevator to get from the entry to the lobby. Then another very tight elevator to get to the rooms from the lobby. The elevators are the size a rich person from the 1980s would have put in their 2 story home.

What makes a 4 Star a 4 Star? The beggars and street venders immediately outside of the hotel definitely don’t award the stars. The park across the street that seems to be a den for thieves likely does not give out stars. The late night liquor store and small casino can’t be star givers… The Giants know how the ratings are done and loosely governed – Hotel Napoleon on paper meets the definition. As read above the Giants would not rate the property as luxury.

Access by Rome Metro is great, doorstep great. That’s a positive.

Giants rating:

Friday Nights at the Vatican

The Vatican Museums are open with reservations on Friday nights. The atmosphere and feel is electric. The sense is like those attending are privileged – which they are since tickets are limited and Fridays are the only nights where there is access to the public. Getting to know a family from Australia at dinner at Bianco’s Vespette e Forchette, prior to attending, clearly both families didn’t want the other to feel left out for not having access. And both families felt like they are part of an exclusive club when it was known that all were attending.

If you go, go at night. The place was alive with a classical music concert and many visitors. Pictures are limited by rules to not include the Sistine Chapel. Giants are rule followers and did not snap pics while many other visitors were. Basically, if you want to take pictures when you visit you may be judged in a final judgment after you get away with the action at the time.

A two plus hour guided tour at the Vatican prior to the highlight of the chapel took its toll on the smallest Giant. He and all other Giants were troopers.

Giant tip: book the Friday night tickets once you know you will be in Rome since they sell out early.

Compared to other historic sites in Rome, and Europe for that matter, the Vatican has modernized the non-historic parts.

Giants’ rating:

Rome Metro Ranking?

The Rome Metro is better than Paris’s Metro in the Giants sampling of the two. The initial post about Paris’s Metro was prior to many hot and sweaty rides with little ventilation, no air conditioning, and rather tight conditions with many other people in standing room only metro cars. The lighted status signs found on the first Paris Metro ride sadly were not on many of them.

The Rome Metro was better than the London Tube in the Giants sampling. It was hot in Rome, but never did the Giants feel Satan’s Breath felt in London. The travel conditions on the metro in Rome were tight, but at least they were cool without the use of a heater.

The last public transit of EPIC Camp Goodman was in Rome. As you can see the Giants could smile without the discomfort easily found on two other transit system in Paris and London.

German systems in Berlin and Hamburg were both used and were the cleanest of all without the negatives found in London and Paris. Likely these cities with their S and U Bahns are better system than Rome’s. So Rome, Italy ranks in the middle of mass transit sampler in June and July of 2018: