Tuesday, 21 Feb 84
Dear Mom & Dad,
I got your letter today that you wrote Friday (17th).
This will be the last letter I write you for a long time. I certainly hope you get this before you leave.
We are very much looking forward to your coming. We are a bit surprised that you are spending so much money to come, but are planning on spending only 5 full days with us. Jeannie thinks you will be here sooner (which will be fine). Actually, I think you both will probably do fine in your travels. If Daddy is expecting the worst possible, then he will probably be bearable. Just keep calm. It is unlikely that you will ever be anywhere that you can't find someone who speaks English within a block. Most of the street vendors speak a little English if they are in a tourist area, since so much of their income is from Americans.
Jeannie says you're welcome to come here straight from London if you like. She is afraid you will go back and tell her parents all the problems you had & then they'll decide not to come.
I will be glad to drive to Rome to pick you up. Let's just wait & see what the train schedule will be like. Ok?
If you ride the train to Naples, Jeannie or I will meet you at the central train station. That will be where you get off for Naples from Rome. If we aren't close to where your train stops, then go to the main level (ground) close to the front door. We cannot drive to the central station. You will understand after you get there, I think. Let us know what time you are to arrive & we will try to find you. There will be pay phones at the station to call if for some reason no one shows up to meet you.
Oh, I told you about tours out of Florence to Pisa. I didn't tell you that it would also be easy to take a train from Florence to Pisa & back. We spent less than 2 hours in Pisa. Only the Leaning Tower is worth seeing. (I've said that before.)
You have a good travel agent to call & let you know the flight had changed. Dan & my travel agent didn't bother to tell us. We found out the hard way.
I hope you had your travel agent make reservations for you in London on 28 March near the airport.
We just got back from a 10-year-old's birthday at the Cummings.
We found out tonight that there are 2 stations in Naples that you could go to from Rome. They are Mergellina and Central (or Piazza Garibaldi). It will be better for you to go to Naples Central Railway Station. Just let us know which one you are going to so we can pick you up. (Every train from Rome does not go to both stations.)
I'll teach you everything I know about VCRs after you get here. Just think of lots of questions.
Yes, the kids have all 19 of the Walt Disney books you sent. They like them very much.
I hope you realize that if you are only here 5 days, we are going to be running constantly to show you everything you will want to see. Jeannie will show you around while I am working. You will get bored if you just sit around the house.
I will plan to take off Wednesday afternoon (21 March). I will also probably get off Thursday afternoon (22 Mar).
Have I told you I think you're planning on staying too many days in London? (4 days?)
Also, get your currency exchanged at the airport in London & the train stations elsewhere. They will charge you a little for each traveller's check you cash. (That means five 20's exchanged costs more than one 100.) Just guess how much you think you'll need. If you guess too much, just change the extra into the next country's currency. (They won't change coins, though.) There will be lots of places to change money. Probably the train stations and airports will give you the best exchange rates. Once you get to Naples I can get you the best rate on the base, so don't come with too much lire left when you get here.
Another warning about street vendors: Be sure that they wrap up exactly what you picked out. Watch them closely. Don't act nervous or rich or dumb. Be confident & cool.
You can get lots of art and leather goods in Florence. You will also see inlaid wood there, but don't get anything of inlaid wood. You can get that in a bigger selection in Sorrento.
We plan to go to Venice, Salzburg, through Germany, Amsterdam, Paris, and Milan in about 2 weeks in July.
Going by train you shouldn't lose your luggage (unless you get it stolen). Watch it closely. Surely, they won't lose your luggage from St. Louis to London on a non-stop flight, if you get to the airport in plenty of time.
Oh - DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORTS. Don't get to St. Louis without them. You can get here without luggage or money, but you'll never get here without your passports.
Oh, we are all well here now. I almost forgot to tell you. I'm sure you are wondering.
Here is the best address to send me mail:
Michael S. Cole, M.D.
Jeannie insists that I let you know what we have planned for you when you get here. All of this is only tentative and can be changed to more or less if you desire. There will still be time for eating, sleeping, & visiting. If I have already told you something different, then forget that. This will be better. (Jeannie helped plan this one.)
Thursday, 22 March - possibly to Crystal Factory in morning, then to Pinetamare. In afternoon, I will take you to the Solfatara Volcano. After supper we will go to Euromercato.
Friday, 23 March - by 10 AM to National Archeological Museum, lunch in Vomera, then shopping at Building "L" at NATO.
Saturday, 24 March - early to Sorrento, then down Amalfi Coast.
Sunday, 25 March - church, lunch at pizzeria (possibly), drive through Pozzuoli, up Via Domitiana, Cuma, then tapes.
Monday, 26 March - Capri.
Tuesday, 27 March - 9 AM to Pompeii, then Vesuvius after lunch.
Wed., 28 Mar - ? (decide after you get here)
Let us know of any other particular thing you would like to see here. Do you want to take the kids along every where we go? (They will probably be at home taking a nap while we are at Solfatara & Cuma.) A neighbor has offered to keep the kids while we go to Capri. It doesn't matter to me.
Please let me know basically what you are planning to do and where you'll be each day. From the time you get to London till you get here, I will be worried about you. Don't hesitate to call if you need to.
Have fun. Be careful. Don't worry.
After I seal this I'm sure I'll think of something else I should have told you about. Oh well, you'll find it out for yourself one way or another.
Good luck. I hope you have nice weather.
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