Subject: My Italian Adventure
Well, here I am two weeks after returning from a memorable business trip.

I started from Va. Beach flew to Rome and drove to Gaeta (halfway between Rome and Naples on the coast). I must say that the Airbus 340 is an excellent aircraft. The personal video system is nice, even in coach. The seats are comfortable, even in coach. The food is still coach food. My auto, a quick and sporty Alfa 147 was my first and best introduction to the world of driving in Italy. You cannot have this much fun on the roadways in the states and I was a very quick student to the various nuances involved with operation of a motor car.

My first impression of the Serapo Hotel was good. The hotel is located on the southern end of the beach and is the only hotel directly on the beach. My room was a total shock. This was primarily due to my lack of acclamation to European hotels as I flew from Honolulu a week earlier. The room was clean and small. I was charged the reduced rate for the smaller room and since it is located on a beach and most of the guests were on holiday not business, I quickly came to my senses.

The town is nice and quaint. It is perfectly relaxing and comes alive in the evenings as locals and tourists walk down the many streets looking at shops or at the wares of street vendors. Almost all the night clubs are centrally located around the US Navy compound, but there are several local spots on the side and back streets. I spent most of my afternoons and evenings on the lanai at the hotel. There is a large tree that extends it's branches down to provide a nice shady spot from the afternoon heat. It allowed me time to unwind from work before dining at 8 pm. Dinner was on the average a 6.5 (on a 10 point scale) each night. I dined in a group of 8 -16 Americans and out waiter spoke limited English. We spoke less Italian, but usually worked things out. Additionally, as uneducated Americans, we did not know that the gratuity had already been added to our bill. In the end, our additional tipping was worth the money spent and our waitstaff increased in number since more wanted to get in on the action. The menu was not overly fancy or exotic. It seemed to be standard fair for the hotel. It was all excellent to me and I enjoyed every meal there as I rarely ventured out and never ate pizza.

All in all I would recommend this town, Gaete and the hotel, Hotel Serapo for it's relaxing atmosphere and attitude. The beach and the town were within comfortable walking distance and most places spoke english. I never did get used to the squid, but you can't get everything you want.

As a side note: On the return trip I drove to Rome the day before my flight. I highly recommend this course of action for any travel out of Rome. It makes the departure day less hectic. And, if you are of a mind stay at the Hilton Airport. It's pricy but within walking distance of the airport. In fact it has a sky bridge that attaches to the airport complex. Plus, it is the Hilton.

jp, va beach