Parts 1-3 of Joe and Annemarie’s trip to Italy can be read here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Since Internet service has been hit or miss for much of our trip, we have managed to get by with a little help from our friends.  In fact, we have a support network of skilled and responsible people, including our Director of Finance at the office, our property manager for our home in Arizona, and our rental agent for our Condo in Wildwood who have kept everything under control while we are away.

On our way to Venice, we spent several days in Parma and Bologna not only because they are interesting cities but, also, because of the fabulous food.   Parma is home to the famous Parma Ham (prosciutto) and, of course, Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese which is only produced in the Parma area from the milk of selected cows fed a specific diet.  We took a tour of a cheese factory and saw the very exacting process of making this world famous cheese.   We also learned that the term parmesan cheese is a generic name and does not necessarily refer to the authentic Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese.  Bologna is where Bolognese sauce was created and is also famous for its sausages.  Since we do not live on bread alone, just add some pasta and a plate of local meats and cheeses.

Our last stop before Venice was Padua for two days which gave us a chance to take a road trip for the day to Verona, a nearby small town.  Then we drove to Venice, dropped off the car at the airport, and spent the last five days of our trip in this most fascinating city.  Our hotel is right on the Grand Canal and is near the Rialto Bridge.  We enjoyed watching all of the activity on the Canal from our balcony.

We have done a lot of traveling over the years to many different cities and countries.  One thing that rings true to me is that after you get past the language barriers and cultural differences all people are, essentially, the same.  We all have the same needs, concerns, and aspirations. 

I have found in our travels that most people are courteous and want to be helpful just as there is always a very small minority of people who are rude and obnoxious.   After it is all said and done, the human condition is the same no matter where you go.  

The fun of traveling is exploring unique and exciting places, yet, it is comforting to know that, despite the obvious differences, the people you are going to encounter, in many ways, will be much like you.