That was all I needed to hear to get some action going on. (I’m a nice daughter, I do not say “No” to my father. I’m sure that he knows best :P) So, I spent a few days online surfing and looking for info about tickets, where to stay, what to do and where to go. Even though I found a fair amount of info on the net, I got myself a guide “Rome” by Guides Voir for more “organized” help. 🙂
The tickets were a pain. The thing is that I was going to pass by Athens first for a couple of days and then go to Rome. I tried several combinations (One Way routes vs Round-Trip) in order to land on the one that made some sense. A strange combination in fact, but a cheaper alternative than the $3000 I found as One Way route (From Beirut to Athens, then from Athens to Rome and finally from Rome to Beirut). I found a $569/person solution online with Middle East Airlines and Aegean Airlines; the same would have cost more with an agency. (Including all sorts of taxes!)*claps
The place to stay was found through Venere.com. I wanted something nice, close to everything and not expensive. The booking was easy and the customer service quite fast; They answer the phone when you call for info, in a very courteous way and reply to their e-mails in a satisfactory manner. I tested both phone/e-mail for questions I had and used Venere.com again for another booking. I liked the site for the simplicity of the design. There weren’t a thousand criteria to order the available choices but it did the work well. I will be reviewing the place I’m staying in upon my return.
As far as the routing was concerned, I got geeky and nerdy! It took me 3 days to put everything together. I was lately informed that a full delegation, the president and the patriarch were following me to the Vatican where a five meter statue of St. Maron will be erected on 23 February, 2011 at 10:15 AM. I will be sharing the plan I made upon my return adding to it any changes that may have occurred along the way. (Source: http://j.mp/ek2tM5)
Then I got myself the rest of the papers. The visa was payed for at Bank Audi and the appointment taken by dialing 1215. (Advice: Keep an eye on the SMS and do not automatically deleted messages you get from a 4 numbers. Check them first; it might be the 1215!)
Should all the the papers be correct, there should not be any trouble with the Italian Embassy. The only downside I found was that I had to wait for my turn outside the building and there was no place no sit, nothing above my head to protect me from wind, rain and time. High heels adepts, you have been warned! I had to wait for a half hour outside and then for a half hour inside. To get back the passport back, l had to call the 1215 again for another appointment. (But do not bet on time precision and arm yourself with patience.) This step took 1 hour and a half! Thank God the staff is friendly!
That’s it for now. I am left with the joy of packing and getting my gear ready for the adventure that awaits me.
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