A few short notes for both seasoned and novice travelers:
1. When stowing your stuff in the overhead compartment of an airplane, take the time beforehand to put everything into one bag. Do not throw in your practically new LL Bean fleece separately. John realized several days later that his jacket was left on the plane between Naples and Palermo. We hope that the person who found it enjoys the cozy warmth of the garment.
2. Take a complete change of clothing along in your carry-on luggage. Alitalia lost one guy's suitcase, and it took 6 days for them to get it to him in Trapani, even with our guide calling them every day. As a result, Jim wore shorts, and the same shirt for six days. On the other hand, he continued wearing shorts even after his bag showed up, while the rest of us had on long pants. He tried to buy some clothes here in Italy, but he is a big guy, and he didn't like the skin-tight pants that were offered in the Italian stores. Zip-off pants would be the garment of choice, even if you think it will be warm in your new location.
3. Deal with the fact that some articles of clothing take longer to dry than others. I should have remembered that from the time we put a hole in one of John's favorite turtlenecks - during a Bering Sea cruise in 2008 I tried to dry one spot with the bathroom hairdryer. This time we each ruined a sock, melting a hole by getting them too close to Italian light bulbs in the lamps. You would think the first sock would have given me pause, but I was too dumb to learn the lesson before I burned a hole in my brand new pair of cushy hiking socks. Someone else in the group told me that they put two holes in one of the hand towels by putting it over the lamp. There are no caution signs to warn us what might happen.
4. Take full raingear, and carry it with you. It does no good in the room.
5. Don't plan on having your ATM card work easily in a foreign country. I had to try four different terminals in three different cities before I found one that worked. In addition, I found no place that could change US dollars into Euros. The currency exchange booths in the foreign airports were closed, and the banks carried no cash! That statement isn't entirely true, since we found the Post Office in Palermo could do it, but there was a five hour wait! Since I was with a small group of friends, the "Bank of Milda" got extra cash with her card, and changed some currency for me.
These are all minor inconveniences. In general, nobody has gotten sick or injured, so it is a successful adventure! Two full days of activity to go. We will be flying home all day on Thursday.