In the week since I last wrote on this subject, more preparations have been completed.
- It seems certain that the extra battery for the video camera will not arrive in time, if at all. I received an email two days ago stating that my order has failed to pass the airline security check as it contains lithium batteries/knives or products that contain liquid which are now under extra scrutiny in world air cargo services. We therefore have switched it to another delivery channel to ensure the order is sent to you as soon as possible. The concept "a slow boat to China" comes to mind.
- I am beginning to suspect that the headband camera won't arrive in time, either. Maybe I'll be able to find one at the Israeli airport.
- The conference organisers sent an email a few days ago about travel arrangements. It seems that they can meet us at Florence Airport and transport us to our hotel for 8 euro, despite the fact that we are arriving four or five days before the conference starts. A taxi would cost 20 euro whereas two bus tickets would cost about 16 euro (I don't remember exactly).
- Yesterday I booked tickets for the Uffizi gallery, which is the recommended thing to do. Although I asked for a 10am entrance, I see that the tickets show 10:45am. For the cost conscious, the price for two full price tickets was 43 euro; we don't qualify for any discounts.
- I considered buying on-line tickets for the Guggenheim collection in Venice which has been recommended to us. Apparently the demand for entry is less here so there is less need to book in advance. Tickets are 16 euro each. The Guggenheim is full of 20th century art, which I like and my wife doesn't, as opposed to the Uffizi, which is Renaissance art.
- I have booked the day trip to Siena and the evening Florence tour by Segway. All the prepayments mentioned here were accomplished via PayPal. I have had problems in the past getting authorisation for payments made directly with a credit card (for reasons which I won't go into) whereas PayPal is hassle free.
- The small shoulder bag which I generally use is sufficient when all I have to take with me is the Kindle, some papers and reading glasses, but it's very difficult to squeeze in a video camera and a water bottle together. Hence yesterday I bought a larger and roomier bag. More expensive than I expected; I could have waited to buy something in the markets of Florence but again, this might not be what I want. When discussing this a few days ago, my wife made a very funny Freudian slip - she said that I could buy an "Armenian" bag (in Hebrew, Armeni) when in fact she meant Armani. There probably are knock-off bags with the Armeni (or Gocchi or Gucchi) tags, but according to WikiTravel, it is illegal to buy these from street vendors in Italy.
- I dug out the Italian mobile phones. I am debating whether to take them with their boxes or without.
- I have been thinking vaguely about preparing a PowerPoint presentation for the conference next week. I shall try and start work on that today. Knowing myself and the material, it probably won't take long once I actually get started.
[SO: 3889; 3, 16, 37]