Initially, our plan for Italy was to find a room or apartment to sublet while I taught online summer term. Then we had the idea of walking from Switzerland over the Alps and down to Rome. We would follow an old pilgrimage trail called the Via Francigena, and take 9 weeks to walk the nearly 600 miles. That plan went by the wayside when we discovered the Alps reportedly had more snow than usual, making the crossing of them impossible. Eventually we settled on the idea of a shorter hike to Rome beginning near the Cinque Terre.

We flew to Nice, France, and spent a couple of days there. It really is a wonderful place, full of beautiful people, but we were set on heading to Italy. After some days near Genoa (Genova to the Italians), we headed to the Cinque Terre, a series of five villages on the Mediterranean coast.

This was all between my spring and summer terms, my vacation, but for me to work from the road I would need regular internet access. We had hoped that it would be available at most of our stops, at internet cafes, and at regular cafes with wi-fi. Unfortunately, that wasn’t proving to be the case. Our first campground in Italy had no internet access, nor did the town seem to have any internet cafes. In the Cinque Terre, we didn’t see any hotels or rooms to rent that advertised internet access (though certainly some may have had it), and the internet cafes we did find were expensive.

Italy passed a law a few years ago requiring that all persons using the internet (or buying a mobile phone) had to provide identification first. So, each time we’ve used the computer here we’ve had to hand over our passport. Amy realized this might be why nobody seems to have wi-fi, since it would be hard or impossible to trace who was using the internet. We have since found a few places with wi-fi, but we realize now that our dream of finding regular internet service in small villages as we hiked the countryside were just that, a dream.

Our plan right now is not to have a plan (which should surprise no one), at least not beyond a week or two from now. After we leave Pisa (where we have been for the last few days) we’ll stay in Florence a short time, then spend a few days at a place in the countryside that claims to have internet access. After that, we head to Rome, which will surely have internet available. If we like it, we go back to our original plan, at least a version of it, and sublet an apartment with the internet for several weeks.

We knew there were many factors that could derail our plans of hiking Italy, but we hadn’t thought the internet was one of them.