Hidden Treasures of Italy was our travel agency. (See separate review)
Magellan’s – Online travel supply outlet that has a great tool for figuring out what electrical adapters and converters you need based on your destination. Take my word for it, avoid the confusion of Amazon.com and other sites with everyone’s anecdotal stories and save yourself time and money with this site. They have a wizard that walks you through everything, and what I purchased for Italy worked perfectly for all of my small electronics. I would not have been able to take so many pictures without charging batteries every night, and my iPod was kept juiced for the flights.
Cabela’s – Outdoor sports supply store and web site. Special thanks to Justin for turning me on to this place. It was almost as much fun as shopping at a music store. This is where I got most of my outdoor wear including some lightweight non-cotton shirts and super light-weight pants that had removable legs to transform into shorts. Another smart purchase was a pair of hiking shoes that were dressy enough to wear out, but rugged enough for the miles of walking we did (as much as 10 miles a day). They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had and well worth the investment.
Trip Reading – I knew there wouldn’t be much time to read, but that we’d have the occasional down time on planes. I chose to bring Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” which Audra had been recommending for several years. It turned out to be a nice light read, and it was interesting to read about his experiences in Centralia while I was on my way to Sardinia. I also brought a new book of Rumi poetry by Coleman Barks, many of several I have in my collection for whiling away small moments for inspiration.
Garmin GPS 350 – I will admit that I was skeptical about dealing with a GPS overseas. I was reveling in the lack of laptops and cell phones. So I was somewhat amused when Kristy (and not me, Mr. Gadget) suggested it. In retrospect, it was probably one of the smartest things we did. It helped reduce the stress of driving just enough to make it bearable. It was completely useless in Sardinia, since those maps were not included in the Italy mainland package, but that proved to be a non-issue since Sardinia had very well-labeled roads and towns. It also did not work on foot very well as there was usually no signal, or any signal we did get was not strong enough. I think we became a bit too dependent on it in Ravello, and it led us astray just a bit, but that turned out to be part of the adventure. Listening to the Americanized (poor) pronunciation of the street names was also a hoot (we later switched to the British voice who did a lot better).