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Rome with 90 year old and a 72 year old. Where to stay, what to do.

Early November I am taking my 90 year old aunt and my 72 year old mother to Rome and then doing an Eastern Mediterranean cruise.

Both get around fairly decent for their age. My 90 year old aunt might need a wheelchair at times but for the most part she can get from point A to point B pretty well.

My 72 year old mother can get around as well as she chooses to but she is a bit of a whiner and a hypochondriac.

Needless to say I'm going to have my hands full. LOL

Looking like flight will arrive in Rome on a.m. of monday, october 30th and cruise leaves Thursday November 2nd.

Trying to figure out what we should do and where should we should stay. Obviously some of that is going to be based on their ability to get around and their stamina.

With just a quick Google search on those dates it appears that we might have some luck getting good rooms at a reasonable price. I'd like to definitely stay under $200 if possible we don't have real extravagant needs. Actually was thinking it would be more like 250 but I was surprised at the prices I was Finding

Any help you could provide letting me know what a realistic itinerary for them would be that would be great. I'm definitely guessing I can take off and do my own thing at certain times when they're tired.

TIA

Posted by
48 posts

While we were decades younger than 90, my two sisters and I enjoyed the Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere and a quick search shows triple accommodations are under $200 for your dates. The hotel is lovely and single level, which means no stairs to climb, and the bus stop is nearby, as are plenty of dining options. I've always seen Rome as a walking city, which may be a challenge for you, but we dragged my mother-in-law all over the city when she was nearly 80 and she didn't complain much. Are you traveling with a folding wheelchair? I would use it as much as possible for your aunt.

Posted by
6234 posts

Do you mean Monday, Oct 30?

Is your aunt bringing a wheelchair, or have you researched getting one there?

Do the lodgings have elevators?

For two days of actual touring time, you may want to find out what they want to see and pick lodging close by or close to suitable transportation.

From your description, it sounds like you should plan just one half-day activity per day, and depending how the ladies feel, have a low key 'wander around' itinerary ( ready just in case) for late afternoon/early evening.

Good luck!

Posted by
1609 posts

We travel with a small folding stool that you can sling over your shoulder for quick sitting breaks in lines or most anywhere. You may want to check these out. (We got our at REI.)

Posted by
11154 posts

In your situation, I'd look to take taxis to sights as much as possible, to reduce the tiredness of your aunt and the whining of your mother. This way, they arrive at a sight rested, not tired from having to schlep there or frustrated at getting lost on the way. If you are all feeling energetic, you can walk or take a bus back; if not, taxi back as well.

Just be aware that taxis do not cruise around looking for fares; you have to call one or go to a taxi rank (all around in central Rome). And if you do call a taxi, the meter starts when the driver gets your call, adding several euros to the fare; this is legitimate.

Even if you don't take taxis as a rule, be sure everyone has their own card from the hotel This way, if someone is flagging, they can just get in a taxi and have the driver take them back to the hotel to rest - even if the others push on.

Posted by
976 posts

We did the Hop-On-Hop Off bus one really hot day and we really enjoyed it. Like others will tell you, it does not drop off at Major sights, or if it does it is a few blocks away and your left to figure out how to get there. It was a fun way to spend the morning, hop off in a neighborhood, do some shopping, have a sprits, hop back on. That might be a fun option for you ladies.

Posted by
330 posts

Thanks for responses so far. My 90 yr old aunt does not own a wheel chair and dont believe i have ever seen her need one but this trip could be the one that would require it.

Im not sure what options we would have for that. She would likely need one in the airport and i am guessing the airport could provide while on site. In Rome and while on the cruise, i am not sure what our option would be. Would suck to lug it around the entire trip though

Posted by
1084 posts

Is it just you alone, going with the two older ladies?
If so, perhaps I would take along another person, maybe a daughter or niece or friend; just to help out with logistics and for moral support.
I took my 96 yr old Mum out and about locally; she was mobile but it was difficult.
I can't imagine handling Rome with two of them, no matter how dear they are , or how mobile.
I'm not saying don't go, more power to you, but just to keep you sane!

Posted by
126 posts

Another vote for Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere. We stayed there for just one night as our other hotel couldn't accommodate us for that night in the middle of our stay..if that makes sense. It's a lovely small hotel..quiet and with wonderful people at the front desk. They called taxis for us several times, even tracking one down when I left my camera in the back seat. Close to the Forum, the Colosseum and Trastevere is just such a nice neighborhood.

Posted by
11572 posts

Early November I am taking my 90 year old and my 72 year old mother to
Rome.... Looking like flight will arrive in Rome on a.m. of monday,
November 30 and cruise leaves Thursday November 2nd.

Vick, something doesn't compute here? I'm guessing you're arriving October 30th and not November 30th?

Rather than throw out an itinerary, what is it that your mother and aunt have said that they would like to see?

Posted by
330 posts

I updated the dates. Sorry. Yes. Oct 30th is the arrival date. The cruise leaves on the 2nd.

As far as what they want to see....they have no idea and couldn't find Italy on a map....they have not traveled in a foreign country befoee other than a Caribbean cruise i put them on a couple yrs ago.

I would say the main attractions would be the sites they would want to see but again they really are just excited to be going to Rome.

I really think they will be fine with whatever we come up with but I was hoping some of you would have a good solid itinerary of places that would be good for them to see as I have never been to Rome

Posted by
8293 posts

You might inquire of the cruise line if they have wheel chairs available on the ship. I have often seen a passenger in a wheel chair with the ship's name on it. Of course, you may be sure there will be a charge if one is available.

In Rome a tour to Villa d'Este might work for them. They would enjoy the gardens and could rest when tired. You on,y have two full days in Rome, after all so you needn't plan a lot of things to do.

Consider booking a transfer to Civitavecchia on embarkation day. There are several limo transfer companies (bob's limo/ Rome cabs) who have good reputations. Otherwise it means getting to the train station with luggage, probably by cab, and then a walk from the Civitavecchia station to the ship, with luggage. Your 90 year old aunt will thank you.

Posted by
11572 posts

OK, I rarely EVER suggest this sort of thing this but considering the age and, er, tolerance level of your traveling companions, you might consider a private driver for a day or 1/2 day? It isn't cheap but the trade-off in sanity might make it well worth the $$$. I see this outfit is recommended in one of the RS guidebooks.

https://new.milesandmiles.net

Maybe something like these?
https://new.milesandmiles.net/tours/rome/history-fun-city-tour-full-day

https://new.milesandmiles.net/tours/rome/history-and-fun-city-tour-half-day-5-hrs-alternate

Other driver-guided tours are available on the site. Do read the fine print on what is and is not included in the price.

Posted by
330 posts

All right, flights booked Cruise booked and hotel at the Santa Maria booked as suggested.

I think they will appreciate the fact that it is ground floor only.

There were a couple hotels like the hotel romano and the hotel fori imperiali Cavalieri that are much closer to the sites. That might be the only regret I have as we would have literally been right next door to The Forum and the Colosseum

The Romano was the only one that appeared to have room left for three people and it was quite a bit less expensive than the Santa Maria.

Maybe I should have went with that. Oh well, too late.

Now the only thing to do is figure out what we're going to do...

Posted by
244 posts

I second using a taxi as much as possible.
When we were in Rome we took two tours that I think would work for your Mom and Aunt. One was a driving tour of Rome. Besides getting in and out of the mini van there was very little walking. They took us to some amazing sights. It was one of my favorite tours in Rome. Walks of Italy here is the link.
My second favorite tour was a food tour. Since you decided to stay in Trastevere the food tour is right in your neighborhood. This tour was amazing and I highly recommend it! You just walk a little and eat a lot!! There was one place that you had to go down to the basement but all of the other stops were easy. You will not go away hungry. We sat at most stops. Twilight Trastevere Eating Italy Food Tour
Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
78 posts

Keep it simple and easy. Start nearby the hotel, by visiting the beautiful church of Santa Maria Maggiore (there are two - you want the one in Trastevere) and Santa Prassede next door. Then, take a taxi to the Pantheon. Have lunch at the friendly laid back Miscellanea just southwest of the Pantheon followed by gelatto at San Crispino just north of Pantheon. Get in a taxi again and take it to the Victor Emanual Monumemt where you can take the Rome from the Sky elevator to see the whole city including the Forum and Colosseum. Go home and take a nap. Get up and take another taxi to the Trevi Fountain after dark. Take a taxi home and eat dinner in Trastevere.

The next days are simpler. One day for the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican is a shuffle ending at the Sistine Chapel and I'm sure they will have a wheelchair available for your aunt and/or mother. The Vatican really must be reserved ahead of time. Consider a tour called the Pristine Sistine that gets you into the Sistine Chapel before the crowds.

The next day is free for many choices. You may be exhausted so you can just stay in Trastevere and visit the other church of San Clemento. Or if you want more of ancient Rome, check out the Capitoline museums which also have a great view of the Forum from an underpass below the museums. Or if you want to see a nice villa with fabulous statuary in a green park setting, reserve tickets for the Borghese.

Check the latest Rick Steves guide for open hours of sight and addition dining recommendations.

Due to very haphazard footing, cobblestones, likelihood of fatigue, etc., I would not recommend the Colosseum, Forum, or any walking routes.

Posted by
3263 posts

You'll need to do more research, but I've provided some basic links here to help.

The major churches in Trastevere are Santa Maria in Trastevere and Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. They are not close to each other, but the walk isn't too bad.

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Pressede are next door to each other, but that doesn't mean they are very close. There's a bit of an argument between the 2 Saint Mary's as to which is the first church devoted to the Virgin Mary.

The Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano is my favorite church in Rome because you can go down multiple levels to see evidence of previous places of worship in the same location.

I did a very early morning tour of the Sistine Chapel with Dark Rome. They are a part of City Wonders. There were other tour groups there, but there were few enough people that there were plenty of seats to rest and gawk. They have an express tour where the guide leaves you at the Sistine and you're free to go on your own to the museum or St. Peter's, as well as one where the guide stays with you into St. Peter's and into the crypt where you can see the tombs of previous Popes and peek into the area where it is believed St. Peter is buried under the altar. We were in St. Peter's so early that the zamboni guy was cleaning the floor.

In the case of the Vatican, there are ways you can go without lots of steps, but you must include information about the mobility challenges your group will have when you make reservations. Stairs or not, there is lots of walking just to get to the Sistine. If your group decides to go, I cannot stress enough how much better it is to go early.

In general, no matter where you are in Rome, there will be cobblestones, rough terrain, surprise slopes, stairs and walking distances much longer than any of you can imagine. Therefore, the advice to take taxis is spot on. They can take you the closest you can get to the entrances of the places you want to go.

Now for something definitely off the mean. I did a Scooteroma tour on the back of a Vespa. It was a hoot. But they also can do tours in an Ape, which would be ideal for the three of you. Go to the bottom of this page for more information.

Finally, there is a great RS video on hidden Rome. From that page you can get to other RS videos on Rome.

Posted by
11572 posts

Honestly, with a 90 year-old woman, I would dispense with the standard walking tours unless they could specifically provide for mobility limitations. This goes for the Vatican Museums if she wants to see the Sistine as it's a VERY long way from entrance. What you want to look for are accessibility services at any of Rome's major attractions: the Vatican Museums, for instance, does provide wheelchairs, free of charge when available, for visitors who may require them:

http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/visita-i-musei/servizi-per-i-visitatori/accessibilita.html

Posted by
362 posts

OMG, you are in ROME. My first time there, this was all I could say - I am in ROME. ITALY. At any age, this is amazing.

For the sake of convenience, maybe pay the cost for a driver to take you on a tour of the old city. No matter what. You're in Rome, Italy. Enjoy!!!

Posted by
795 posts

Vick, I took my mom to France a couple of years ago when she was 87, and we did NOTHING our first day. We arrived about midday at CDG and had planned to spend the night so I could be rested before renting a car and hitting the road. But the poor sleep on the plane coming over, even though we were in business class, really hit Mom hard. We got to our airport hotel, took a short nap, ate some lunch at a nearby restaurant, and sat outside looking at the small duckpond for a couple of hours before heading to dinner. More recently, my sister and I spent a few days with Mom [who is now almost 90] visiting friends in Lewes, DE, and one of those days Mom basically stayed in bed reading till 5 pm, when we headed over to dinner with the friends.

YMMV of course. Mom is in reasonable shape but has really slowed down in the last few years; I don't think I'd try to do a France trip again with her, though we had a great time in 2014. So you are absolutely right that you will need to judge their capabilities on a day-to-day basis.

Meanwhile, what a wonderful gift you are giving them to organize this trip! Have a great time-

Posted by
1029 posts

YMMV =Your mileage may vary or your experience may be different.

Posted by
714 posts

Do arrange for assistance at Rome airport. It can often be a long walk from the arrival gate and you could be some time waiting for your baggage to arrive. Book a car and driver to take you to the hotel.

I like the suggestion above of doing a car tour of Rome. Maybe arrange that for a day or two after arrival so everyone has a chance to rest up.

Be aware that in many Roman restaurants the restrooms are down in the basement accessed by steep stairs. Ruins can be a minefield for the elderly, strongly recommend they have a cane or walking pole for assistance. I learned a long time ago that the Romans, and Greeks, didn't use handrails!

Relatively easy to get to from Trastevere is Largo Argentina. The ladies might enjoy the easy, flat, walk around the square looking down at the Interesting ruins and a lot of cats who live in the sanctuary among the ruins.

They will probably want to see St. Peter's, I suggest going early in the morning before the tours begin arriving. Personally I would forget Vatican Museum and Sistine chapel; slow moving crowds, even in October and hot, hot, hot and noisy.

Encourage them to enjoy, like most of Rome, siestas between 1 and 4 pm. Many places, including churches, cafes etc will be closed anyway.

Book a car to take you to Civitaveccia. Otherwise you will need to take taxi to Termini, train to Civitaveccia, taxi (if one is available - not always the case) to the docks and shuttle to the ship. Again with baggage for 3 of you........

I hope you all enjoy your short visit to Rome. Don't go with a set itinerary, see how they feel each day and see what they want to do.

Posted by
330 posts

Thanks for all of the advice so far. Yeah I'm thinking that first day they are going to be wiped out. Maybe that'll give me an opportunity to go off by myself and see some things that I wouldn't get to see otherwise.

I do think once we get on the cruise there are going to be several days that they're not going to want to get off the ship or if they do they're not going to want to go very far. So again I may have an opportunity to go off and enjoy myself

Here is the cruise schedule.

We depart Rome on November 2nd

November 3rd is at sea
November 4th mikonos Greece
November 5th piraeus Athens Greece November 6th Rhodes Greece
November 7th Santorini Greece
November 8th chania Greece
November 9th Valletta Malta
November 10th Messina Italy
November 11th Naples/Pompeii Italy (not sure where this port is)
November 12th back to Rome

Posted by
330 posts

Anyone have suggestions on the best and most economical way to get from our hotel to the cruise terminal? It looks like it's about 75 kilometers over an hour drive

Posted by
4026 posts

You might ask your hotel to arrange a shuttle, or to see if there is one that goes regularly between the hotels and the cruise point. It's unlikely you're going to be the only folks visiting Rome before the cruise.

Ask the cruise line, as well. They may well have transportation laid on.

Posted by
1084 posts

The cruise port in Naples is right in the city, so you can walk right into Naples itself; if I'm not mistaken.
Lots to see quite near the docks.

Posted by
330 posts

We are getting really close!

To review:

10/30 MONDAY 8:40 am arrive Rome

Staying at hotel santa maria trastevere.

If they are up to it will do a Rick Steves audio tour in trastevere. Maybe check out Santa Maria and Santa Prassede churches.

Recover from trip. If they were up to it I would probably snag a cab after dark to the Trevi fountains. Otherwise just relax. I can sleep on planes pretty well so I don't think I'll have any problems. Not sure about them

TUESDAY

Made reservations for early Tuesday morning to do the Dark Rome/city wonders Vatican Sistine express and st peters basillica tour. (Hope we picked the right one. Just a two hour tour she feels that will be doable). She didn't want to spring for the wheelchair version.

Anyone know if they allow those little portable stools someone mentioned above? It's got a sling I can throw it over my shoulder and then let her sit periodically when things aren't moving. I'm not sure if you can but I'm hoping so. I sent an email but haven't heard back.

If we do everything that we've talked about so far I'm thinking the rest of the morning and early afternoon they're going to need some rest and Recovery.

Based on somebody on here's recommendation we're going to do the Twilight trastevere food tour. This sounds pretty laid-back and a good way to spend our evening. Maybe don't have to do the RS Trastevere tour because of this?

WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY

Cruise ship leaves 5 p.m. on Thursday**

Open so far. I haven't planned anything yet but maybe this would be the day that we do the Forum the Coliseum and pantheon maybe the capitoline museum and the Victor Emmanuel Monument. Depending on how they feel. i may let them rest and do some of this on my own. My mom thinks she will want to do it all. I am skeptical!!

My 72 year old mom insist that she's going to want to go go go go go but she doesn't have the greatest Health so that could change everything at anytime. This trip has motivated her to finally get excercise and do squating etc . She had a hard time getting off a chair for a while but now can do it with ease again. She just needed this motivation. This has been really good for both of them. They've probably walked more the last few months than they have the last 10 years!

My 90 yr old aunt recently fell two different times and banged herself up pretty good but she's getting better and trying to build up her endurance. She's a trooper and insists that she's going to be just fine

. She is pretty vane and I'm trying to convince her to use a cane but she is fighting me on it. I kind of got shitty with her this evening and basically said I don't want to be sitting in an emergency room for an entire day and ruining everybody's trip just because she's too stubborn to use a cane. Hopefully she relents

Thanks again for all of the advice on planning this.Any further suggestions or tweaks would be welcomed as always. Thanks again for all the help

Next planning is what side trips to do on the 10-day Mediterranean cruise to Greece and italy

Posted by
330 posts

Weather actually appears to be pretty reasonable and mild this time of year between Rome and other greek sites. lows in the 40's and 50's and highs in the 60's and 70's. That sound about right?

I am really wondering what kind of seas we can expect to encounter. Obviously that can vary greatly so hopefully mother nature cooperates

Posted by
714 posts

Rather than a cane, I use a single trekking pole. I am mid-70’s and have a dodgy ankle so need the extra support. I find the pole is better than a cane and I notice many people using them here in Athens. Marble sidewalks, cobblestones, broken pavement etc. are an accident waiting to happen. Be aware that you cannot take poles as carry-on. I bought a lightweight folding pole from Amazon and packed it in my carry-on suitcase which I checked.

Posted by
11613 posts

I agree with Lesley, trekking poles (buy a pair) can be an easier sell than a cane. I would not count on the sling-seat being allowed in the Vatican Museums.

There are dozens of churches named Santa Maria in Roma, I assume you mean Santa Maria Maggiore since it is a block or so away from Santa Prassede (a beautiful small church, may close for lunch do check hours).

Posted by
330 posts

Just got a response from Vatican. They said we can bring the portable stool. Think that will be handy.

Looking into trekking poles. Thanks for the tip

Posted by
4026 posts

We had a fellow traveler on a recent RS tour who was in her early 80s. She used a pair of hiking poles and did just fine. On another recent tour we had a tour mate who had recently injured her knee. She used a cane, and opted out of the more strenuous activities.

I am a bit concerned about your aunt. Being close to your mother's age, I am reasonably confident she can handle walking and standing, but your aunt? Let's hope she surprises you and is able to keep up.

One last thing; on our 7-day RS Rome tour, one of the tour members was accompanied by her elderly mother. Mom was not a member of the tour, but tagged along on a couple of the excursions. Other times, she stayed in the hotel or did easier things on her own. Might that be an option?

Posted by
6181 posts

Definitely stop by the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere in the main piazza and take a peek inside. Beautiful little church.

Posted by
3320 posts

With regard to "...the best and most economical way...from our hotel to the cruise terminal?", the most economical way is by train, but considering the age and luggage factors, definitely not the best way. A private car service is the best way but certainly not the most economical. If I were in your situation, and I applaud you for doing this as it shows a lot of love and caring, I would bite the bullet and just spend the money on a car service. I'd also opt for that on arrival. Believe me, after a long flight, some jet lag, not being familiar with the area, there is nothing better than having your private driver meet you inside the terminal and whisk you to your hotel. No fending off "independent" cabs, waiting in the regular taxi line, or just having a "lost" feeling. It is not the cheapest way, but it is definitely the best. We can not say enough good things about Rome Cabs. It is a private car service (not a cab company) but only cost about 10 Euro more than a regular taxi. We always use them and have always been very pleased. They also take people to the cruise port and do tours of Rome. Go to romecabs.com and see what you think. We usually send an email and they answer us with a quote within 24 hours. You do have to pay cash (Euros) and the end of the journey but not in advance.

Posted by
844 posts

I'm not going to chime in about Rome because I think you have gotten good advice already. I do also agree that I think Mom and Aunt will probably enjoy the food tours in Trastevere.

About Santorini. We were there (much younger) on a cruise and did not take the cruise offered by the cruise company. It worked well for us, we rented a 4 wheeler and had a great time. BUT, we saw the cruise buses a couple of times, which I think would work well for Mom and Aunt. I would set them up on the tour thru the cruise company. When the cruise ship arrives in Santorini, we had to take a small boat, then a tram up, to the town. Mom and Aunt would get more out of the Island and views (it's hilly) on a bus tour that you catch at the top. There are places on the island that have great views of the Caldera where the cruise ships are.

You are great for doing this trip with them and will remember it always. My sister and I went with my Dad on a trip to Paris, Rome and Florence after Mom died. (She wouldn't get on an airplane) Dad talked about that trip until the day he died.

Take many pictures and have a great time! And PLEASE do a trip report here so that we know how things went, and other learn.

Mimi

Posted by
330 posts

Thanks. I just booked Rome cabs from the airport to the hotel and the cruise port to the airport. I will later Reserve from the hotel to the cruise port once we get a better handle on what time we will be leaving Rome

Thanks for the tip on cash. Have to make sure I get plenty of cash at the airport as soon as we get off the plane. I only have about a hundred euros left over from my last trip

Posted by
330 posts

So I made my mother mad. She and my aunt decided that they wanted to go see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I said we can't do that. She got mad

I said it doesn't make sense to do that. She got more mad

I said it would be hours by train and we only have a few days. Still mad. "This is what WE want to do.

I was patient withher as long aa i could. I finally had to say "no we are not doing that, i have explained why" and I am hanging up now.

This could be a really long trip. Haha

Posted by
16846 posts

My mother really wanted to see the tower, too, so we made the trip from our base in Florence. We didn't go inside the Baptistry, so we probably missed something good. Afterwards, we admitted that we were as impressed by the huge grassy lawn as by the tower and could easily have skipped (what we saw of) Pisa. On the other hand, we both loved Lucca.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is just one of those sights that many people think they have to see.

Posted by
714 posts

Vick, have you sat down with Mum, Aunt and a map? Take a black pen and trace out your itinerary, show them where Pisa is and give them a time line and a dollar cost of how much it would cost to include a visit there. No guarantee that it will make them any happier about not seeing it but you will have done your best to keep them informed as to why it’s not possible. You could try the old “if you want to go, you rent the car and a driver and count me out” trick.

I have seen the Tower passing by in a train and that was enough for me, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. Good luck!

Posted by
714 posts

Vick, we have talked at length about the few days you are in Rome. Where is the cruise going? I assume From Rome south to Naples, then through the straits of Messina and up along the Adriatic to places like Kotor, Dubrovnik, and Venice. Or maybe across to Corfu, and around to Athens (Pireaus)? I leave on the cruise portion of my trip today. Athens has just warmed up after a spell of cooler weather, about 80 and somewhat humid. But Sea is calm and blue and forecast is good, though a bit blustery around Crete which could result in some waves.

Posted by
330 posts

My mother loves drama and conflicts so this is just one of those things. Sometimes I end up just ignoring her and things just go away. I think she finally understands why this doesn't make sense. But sometimes she is like a child. And....she is stubborn and hates to admit when she is wrong. Oh well. She will survive. I have moved on to the next drama to come. (There will always be more!)

Posted by
330 posts

Regarding the cruise schedule. Here is the itinerary that i posted earlier in the thread.

Here is the cruise schedule.
We depart Rome on November 2nd
November 3rd is at sea
November 4th mikonos Greece
November 5th piraeus Athens Greece November 6th Rhodes Greece
November 7th Santorini Greece
November 8th chania Greece
November 9th Valletta Malta
November 10th Messina Italy
November 11th Naples/Pompeii Italy (not sure where this port is)
November 12th back to Rome

Hoping for calm seas and mild weather!

Posted by
330 posts

BlockquoteThe Leaning Tower of Pisa is just one of those sights that many people think they have to see

Yeah, I have several places that I have pretty much crossed off the list that I don't really need to see. This was one of them and Stonehenge is another. I've actually watched drone footage and even Google Earth you can practically walk anywhere you want around the entire place and it's actually just like being there. So I'll never waste my time on that one.

Posted by
261 posts

I wish you good luck on your trip.

I have an 85-year-old aunt who is a very difficult woman. She is perfectly healthy but she walks with a walker and lacks motivation to get stronger. I have taken her to a few famous places, but I would never do what you're doing, because deep down I know she couldn't handle the challenges or the stresses of travel. In Italy, there are many.

Some older people just don't know what they're capable of enduring until they are faced with doing it. Don't be surprised or upset if all or most of your touring plans need to be cut back or cancelled at the last minute. Do your best to avoid fighting while traveling. This only causes more stress. And don't ever forget, your energy level is not their energy level.

I'm not old enough to be considered senior, and I have very strict rules about first-day activity after an overnight flight, based on decades of travel experience. My sleep pattern will be ruined if I take a nap on arrival day in Italy. If my sleep gets ruined, it'll take me several days to get over jet lag. I hate dealing with jet lag issues beyond arrival day. Jet lag issues can turn me into a raging monster.

I know how difficult it is to get decent sleep on a plane these days, even if you travel in an upgraded class. Older folks tend to have irregular sleep patterns by default. There's no way to know how they will deal with sleep on an overnight flight. Your arrival day in Rome could be extremely challenging for the older two. You must be sensitive to the eyes and mind wanting to do more, but the legs and feet seriously disagreeing. My aunt has fallen a few times during our travel, and I was very near her when it happened. I couldn't grab her fast enough.

The ancient ground in Rome is not smooth or flat. You need to be mindful of this at all times. Rome can be a difficult place to walk for some first-timers, no matter what their age. For unstable older people requiring a cane, it's a very easy place to fall and seriously get hurt. You don't want anyone getting a fractured hip on their trip.

I don't think I would feel comfortable leaving either woman alone for any length of time. I would stay close and keep my eyes on both women, 24/7, while in Rome.

Posted by
330 posts

Didnt want to start a separate threadand clog up the board.

How crazy and crowded is rome going to be while we are there? I realize it's a crazy crowded city to begin with but just trying to imagine how busy it is going to be.

(We are there Monday Oct 30 through Thursday November 2nd.)

Also with Nov 1 being All Saints day...wonderinghow that will impact crowds and availability of tourist attractions.

Wednesday the first was the day we had earmarked to do the Caesar Shuffle. Just discovered the all saints day issue

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9421 posts

All Saints' Day won't be a factor for you. More people in some locations, maybe more Italians out for a holiday lunch, but we never found it a major issue in our years there. Maybe some churches with restricted hours.

Posted by
261 posts

"Crazy crowded" is an individual perception. Rome is busy and active in the fall. November is typically a beautiful month to be there. There will be no shortage of tourists during your visit, especially at the most famous locations.

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330 posts

I thought I'd come back and give a bit of a summary of our trip. Overall this trip was fantastic. The weather could not have been any better.

My mother is a huge pain in the ass, a hypochondriac and pretty crazy and selfish but outside of that I had a good time. My 90 year old aunt was such a trooper and she walked mile after Mile with us.

She's like 4 foot 10 and about 80 lbs and I got her walking sticks for the trip at someone aboves suggestion and what a difference that made for her. she would just click click click click along and you'd see people half her age struggling to get around and just amazed at how well she was doing. It was actually something to see.

She climbed through the cobblestones of the Forum and the various Islands in Greece not to mention Pompeii which can really be a struggle for some.

We only had a couple issues. First off, my mother carried a little backpack and one day we got a taxi cab and my mother left the backpack in the cab never to be seen again. Unfortunately it had my aunt's diabetes test kit and her iPad. I was very very concerned about her not being able to test her blood sugar but with all of the exercise she got and we've tried to make sure she ate and drank regularly she never had an issue at all with her diabetes. It was actually quite amazing. Makes me think if she could remember to eat better (she has a hard time remembering things and even eating and drinking water is a struggle for her as she is home alone alot back home) and get more exercise that she wouldn't even need insulin but that's a conversation for another day.

The other issue was the second day on the cruise ship. We had gotten on in Rome and the first day was at Sea. As you might recall one of the things I told them was once we get on the ship they're basically on their own and I would line up their excursions and for the most part they would go their separate way on the ship. that worked out great for me because my mother drives me absolutely nuts. I found an awesome bartender and made some friends and pretty much hung out there most of the time on the ship. I was happy as a clam.

so that first evening on the ship they went off on their own. They went to a show and then proceeded to drink way too much wine. The next morning at 7 a.m. I could hear some moaning in pain in my aunts bed below me. I looked down and my aunt was sitting up on the edge of the bed trying to rub her upper back between her shoulder blades and was in considerable pain. She didn't know what was wrong but it was obvious it wasn't a very good thing for her to go through. My crazy mother instantly said "she's having a heart attack" and became hysterical. I said calm down and I laid my aunt on the bed and started to give her a back massage. She immediately started feeling better and I could feel the cramp in her back so it was not a heart issue. The previous day we had walked quite a bit and she had to carry her backpack for the first time and it ended up being for several hours as we were getting on the ship. So I knew instantly that she was probably dehydrated from being hung over and sore from carrying the backpack. After massaging her for a while I told my mother to get some ibuprofen and a bottle of water for her and she screamed "no you have to give her aspirin she's having a heart attack!" I said she is not having a heart attack. My mother said "yes she is! the first sign of a heart attack in a woman is in her back." And I said that's bullcrap

I got her some ibuprofen and made her drink a glass of water. She was feeling much better and I laid her on her bed and I tried to go back to sleep. About 20 minutes later she said she was feeling nauseous. She then got up and went into the bathroom and threw up. My mother screamed, "that's it, we need her to see a doctor" . I said that's fine we can take her down in a minute.

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330 posts

At that point my mom said "no I'm calling a doctor right now". She picked up the phone and for some reason the phone in our room was not working. I was trying to help my aunt get out of the bathroom and my mom left the room. 30 seconds later there was a person blaring over the loudspeaker in every room on the ship. "Code blue Code Blue Room 4697 " or whatever room we were in. (this was a good conversation topic with people I met on the ship as I apologized for waking them all up their first morning on the ship!) And within two minutes they were pounding on our door and a female doctor came running in and was hysterical. She couldn't catch her breath and was asking "what's wrong what's wrong what's wrong!" . Frankly her being so hysterical scared the hell out of my aunt and I had to try and calm everybody down. I told her that there was nothing wrong with my aunt other than she was dehydrated and had a sore back. The doctor told us that the message relayed to them was that someone was having a heart attack and of course when that happens they have to come running for obvious reasons. I just shook my head and glared at my mother.

So, my aunt wears a wig. She lost most of her hair in a factory accident when she was in her early 20s and so she's always worn a wig and she looks kind of like Gollum without it. (True story but she is the sweetest little thing. Can't believe these 2 are sisters!) They started Wheeling her out into the hallway to take her down for observation and I had to grab her wig and run and catch up and throw her wig on her head, It was actually kind of comical.

So they get her down to the hospital and start running all kinds of tests. They did Ekg's and you name it they did it. All kinds of tests.
They said she's as healthy as a horse, her heart is extremely strong and her blood sugar was perfectly under control but they were going to keep her for observation for the rest of the morning. So when she was settled in I took off and left them alone and caught up with them later in the afternoon. They released her about 2 in the afternoon and everything was fine. Of course then I get the bill for $2,800!

Unbelievable. Anyway I thought you guys would be interested to hear that story.

I did go on a couple excursions with them and the biggest problem was my mother. My aunt got along just fine. We did have a great time and I can't wait to take my wife to explore Rome and Greece again.

Oh yeah, there was one other thing...

We did an early-morning tour of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican while in Rome before the cruise. (That was fantastic by the way.)

we didn't really get an opportunity to eat before the tour so when we got done we were all starved and I was worried about my aunt not having anything in her stomach. So we walked out of the Vatican and I could tell on the Rick Steves book we were a block or two from an off the beaten path place to get something to eat. My mother insisted that we stop immediately at this pastry shop / restaurant. I could tell it was a touristy type place and we shouldn't go there. We walked in anyway and I said we should go down the block but my mother complained and said "let's just eat here" I said I'm not eating here but you can if you want. They ordered a couple rolls two coffees and two bottles of water. When we got up to leave and had to pay, they charged 44 Euro. My mom was flabbergasted. Of course I said I told you so. The sad thing is my mother has no money and my aunt paid for her entire portion of the trip including most of her spending money. So that part really pissed me off because there were numerous instances like that. But anyway enough negativity. It was fun. I probably wouldn't go again on a trip with my mother (I would with my aunt though. She is a real trooper) but at least I've got to explore another amazing part of the world

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Posted by kcblues57
07/20/17 07:05 PM
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While we were decades younger than 90, my two sisters and I enjoyed the Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere and a quick search shows triple accommodations are under $200 for your dates. The hotel is lovely and single level, which means no stairs to climb, and the bus stop is nearby, as are plenty of dining options. I've always seen Rome as a walking city, which may be a challenge for you, but we dragged my mother-in-law all over the city when she was nearly 80 and she didn't complain much. Are you traveling with a folding wheelchair? I would use it as much as possible for your aunt.

We stayed here. It was an awesome hotel and Trastevere was great. Highly recommend it.

As far as wheel chairs go. We only used a wheel chair in the airports, which was very, very helpful.

I did buy a portable stool that was recommended elsewhere in this thread. We used it in the Vatican but never really used it anywhere else although it might have been nice to have in a few places, I just didn't feel like lugging it along.

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Posted by cathy
Washington State
07/20/17 11:30 PM
60 posts
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Another vote for Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere. We stayed there for just one night as our other hotel couldn't accommodate us for that night in the middle of our stay..if that makes sense. It's a lovely small hotel..quiet and with wonderful people at the front desk. They called taxis for us several times, even tracking one down when I left my camera in the back seat. Close to the Forum, the Colosseum and Trastevere is just such a nice neighborhood.

thanks again for this advice. The front desk was great. Cabs didn't like to go to the front gate of the hotel to drop us off. They would usually only get us within a block or 2 but they would usually pick us up right at the front gate when the hotel called them

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1846 posts

Vick Vega, you are one amazing person-the patience of a saint. I stand in awe of you. Your trip report of your adventure with "your ladies" was really, really fun to read; it could be a pilot for a sitcom tv and is at the least a true comedy of errors. Thank you so much for the laughs this morning and for sharing this adventure with us. I love that you saw the humor in your situation, appreciated it and could share it with your new friends on the ship as well as your friends here on the forum! Oh, and I am sure you Mother means well.......and your Aunt is obviously one amazing lady!!

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Posted by pfresh3
Redding, California
07/21/17 02:20 PM
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I second using a taxi as much as possible.
When we were in Rome we took two tours that I think would work for your Mom and Aunt. One was a driving tour of Rome. Besides getting in and out of the mini van there was very little walking. They took us to some amazing sights. It was one of my favorite tours in Rome. Walks of Italy here is the link.
My second favorite tour was a food tour. Since you decided to stay in Trastevere the food tour is right in your neighborhood. This tour was amazing and I highly recommend it! You just walk a little and eat a lot!! There was one place that you had to go down to the basement but all of the other stops were easy. You will not go away hungry. We sat at most stops. Twilight Trastevere Eating Italy Food Tour
Have a wonderful trip!

We did this too. It was awesome. Highly recommend it. the food was great and our guide was fantastic. Thanks again!

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Posted by andi
franktown, colorado
01/07/18 12:37 PM
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Vick Vega, you are one amazing person-the patience of a saint. I stand in awe of you. Your trip report of your adventure with "your ladies" was really, really fun to read; it could be a pilot for a sitcom tv and is at the least a true comedy of errors. Thank you so much for the laughs this morning and for sharing this adventure with us. I love that you saw the humor in your situation, appreciated it and could share it with your new friends on the ship as well as your friends here on the forum! Oh, and I am sure you Mother means well.......and your Aunt is obviously one amazing lady!!

HA. thanks. Well, I can tell you I do NOT have much patience. anyone that knows me will attest to that!! I had some pretty bad run ins with my mother on this trip. I am always able to laugh about it to others but I am not very pleasant back to my mother at times. But, she deserves what I give her back!. I usually feel bad afterwards but My wife, who is the absolute nicest person in the world, actually agrees with me on how I handled her on the trip. I'm not the easiest person due to my impatience but my mother takes it to an entirely different level.

Glad we could be of some entertainment!! LOL

Posted by
1979 posts

Bless you Vick Vega. Going to the Red Lobster with my 92 year old father was stressful enough for me. I can't imagine traveling to Europe with a couple of geezers. Your reward will be great in Heaven!

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58 posts

Thanks for the entertaining trip report. I am glad that everything worked out!

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Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
10/06/17 06:17 AM
11613 posts
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It's gonna be a long short trip.

RIP Zoe. As always, very insightful. (And correct!)

Posted by
714 posts

Thank you for posting about your trip - I had wondered how it had gone. Glad the walking poles worked for your Aunt....I love mine.

Hope your Aunt had travel insurance to cover the cost charged by the cruise line.

Posted by
672 posts

This was the best report ever! Brightened my whole day. And, yes, you are a saint!!!

Posted by
330 posts

I did remember one other little story from our trip. One night in trastevere after we had been out traipsing all over Rome one day, we were looking for somewhere to eat in the neighborhood so we headed off on foot from our hotel. Me and 2 old ladies, out on the town. Look out!

I have become kind of a beer snob over the last year. I've never been much of a drinker but I found a beer app called untappd and I have a little bit of a competitive streak in me and kind of OCD as well. Sometimes it's not a great combination!

So in my travels I'm always looking for a brand new beer so I can add it to my beer app and track what I've drank, where I've drank it, what kind of beer it is and whether I liked it or not. Like I said I've become quite the beer snob and since March of last year I've had over 300 different beers. Something I'm not proud of. Okay, actually yes I am!

Anywho, as we are searching out somewhere to eat nobody can make up their mind so we keep stopping at places finding different beers for me and they are drinking wine. By the time we settle on a nice little outdoor restaurant to eat, they are lit. Of course we order a couple bottles of wine with our Pizza.

Neither one of them drink very often and boy can they not handle their alcohol. This was actually the most fun we had on the entire trip because my mother quit being a judgmental bitch for once and we actually had fun. She didn't even terrorize the waiters with her snooty demands. However, I've mentioned she's a hypochondriac. Well, it turns out she's not a very good drunk either. Well, maybe she just needs to drink more often in actuality.

As the night went on they both got goofier and goofier. We were quite the trio. Almost like the rat pack.......(not) and when we got up to leave after eating our awesome little pizza and some more alcohol neither one of them could walk very well at all.

Problem was we really couldn't get a cab because we were within walking distance (less than a mile) but the streets are so narrow and they don't allow cars that time of night to come through.

I know my mother was drunk but I think she was also not as drunk as she was playing and here I am walking arm-in-arm with the two down these narrow streets keeping them both from falling down and they were giggling like little school children. It was actually a little embarrassing but I can also see the humor in it so I tried to be as patient as possible.

There were several close calls where one would stumble and almost take the three of us to the ground. It was actually really difficult and we had to go really really slow at times. It was kind of torture .

We would walk by little stores where you could see their goods in the window and they'd have to stop and Marvel at how pretty some of the things were and that they just have to come back when the stores open and buy whatever shiny object they couldn't take their eyes off of. My patience was wearing thin!

To make matters worse I really didn't know my way around too well. We generally would just keep walking around the neighborhood until we saw some visual clues that would help us find the hotel because it wasn't exactly easy to stay oriented with the way the neighborhoods are all laid out. So this particular night it probably took us well over an hour to find their way back when normally it might take 10 to 15 minutes.

I finally got them back to the room and tucked in for the night. Like I said that's probably the most fun we had together on the entire trip but I wouldn't recommend doiing THAT again.

Posted by
359 posts

Vick, your trip report is surely entertaining. Thanks for sharing your adventure with all of us. It reminds me of a book I read long ago called "Incontinent on the Continent", I've read it twice now, the first time I laughed a lot, the 2nd read I was much more sympathetic. I highly recommend this book for those considering travelling with an elderly friend or relative.

Posted by
119 posts

To traylaparks! I'll bet that I am not the only "geezer" who reads these forums! Last year at the age of 72, I planned an independent trip to Sicily for my husband and myself. We spent 25 nights there and traveled by public transportation. We have traveled on our own for 10 years now. I would like to think that when I am 90 that someone will help me keep traveling! I have an aunt who is 108, so I believe that I may be here awhile longer!

Vick, your report is great!

Posted by
8293 posts

Nice that the OP has such a loving and understanding relationship with his mother. Not.

Posted by
1979 posts

To traylaparks! I'll bet that I am not the only "geezer" who reads these forums! Last year at the age of 72, I planned an independent trip to Sicily for my husband and myself. We spent 25 nights there and traveled by public transportation. We have traveled on our own for 10 years now. I would like to think that when I am 90 that someone will help me keep traveling! I have an aunt who is 108, so I believe that I may be here awhile longer!

Madelia - 72 is not "geezer"! But, I was trying to make the point that traveling with an elderly, disabled parent can be quite stressful, and I was complimenting the OP, not putting anybody down. Sorry if the term "geezer" offends you - that's what I call myself!

Posted by
3263 posts

Whew! I was worried there for a minute. I turn 72 in a few days so I Googled to see how old I need to be to achieve geezer-hood. But I learned that I can't be a geezer because I'm female, and the term is typically applied to old or eccentric men.

Some definitions say the term can be offensive. Oxford says:
British A man. ‘he strikes me as a decent geezer.’
North American derogatory An old man.

I found this tongue-in-cheek source about age categories, from 13 to 100+. Maybe I'm a geezer after all.

Vick -- great report on your family trip. I'm sure some of your experiences weren't much fun at the time, but they are hilarious in your reporting on them.

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119 posts

I knew that when I turned 70 I would be "old", but I decided to pretend that I am not old!
By the way, isn't 70 the new 40?

Posted by
995 posts

I knew that when I turned 70 I would be "old", but I decided to pretend that I am not old!
By the way, isn't 70 the new 40?

Age is just a number. As long as you stay young at heart, you will always be young.