Well, it may not be Florence, Bologna, Perugia, et al., but it's home and I am very glad to be back! I drove home this past Wednesday after spending a week with my kids.
Both of my flights home were totally uneventful and very much on time. In fact, my flight from Madrid to Florence arrived about half an hour before it was supposed to! And all the airports - Florence, Madrid and Dulles - were very, very uncrowded which was wonderful. Going through Customs at Dulles, the passengers from my flight were the only people in line. Compared to last year, it was so much better.
The week spent in Virginia and Maryland was real pleasant also, even if I was chomping at the bit to get to my cozy little home. January and I went with Chris to the National Cathedral Thursday evening because he was getting his 15-years of volunteering pin. They have an Evensong service prior to the awarding of the pins, so it did seem to go on for a while, but it was nice and the cathedral, of course, is SO beautiful. And they had a reception afterwards with some delicious treats (not just crackers and cheese!) and even wine!
I had spent most of that day with January and was glad to have such a nice visit with her. I had left my car with her while I was gone so she and Maggie could have 2 cars and told her I'd let her keep it until Sunday when we were all going up to Heather's for lunch. So Friday, after talking to Chris about it, I did some reorganizing of his spare room and hall closet. Having basically not been living in his apartment for the last 2 years (while he was working as a consultant in NYC and Indianapolis), things were a little out of control. That was pretty fun, actually - I'm a great thrower-outer (a little TOO great sometimes!) and organizer. By the time Chris got home from work, I had two or three piles that he was to go through and make the decision whether or not to toss or keep. Told him it was like those shows on HGTV. :) He was pleased with the results and pretty much got rid of most of the things in the piles, so we had many trips down to the trash room. I had been down during the day myself to throw out an old feather-filled mattress topper and managed to smash my finger in the trash door lock thingie. I'm sure glad there was no one down there right then cause I sure let loose with some howls!
Both Thursday and Friday, I walked up to the little strip malls near where Chris lives and had lunch at Subway. And, in fact since I've been back from Italy, I've now had lunch at Subway FOUR times!! And I think I'm probably going again today cause Jamie and I will be having lunch. Anyway, the strip malls have a World Market store (among other neat stores) and I always have to go in there. I saw a little oval 2-1/2 quart, enameled cast iron Dutch oven, no particular brand, and I could swear the sign said $29.95 which is really inexpensive for one of those. I decided I would come back for it when Chris got home cause I didn't want to carry a cast iron anything all the way back to his apartment. Went back to get it and it was $19.95!! Woo-hoo! So, now I'm all excited about that and eager to try it.
And now that I think about it, I had lunch at Subway Saturday too - good grief! Chris had his docent duty at the cathedral...hmm...I'm probably confused. Maybe that's the day I did the reorganizing, not that it matters, and I'll blame my confusion on the fact that I'd been wandering around now since September.
Sunday we went up to Heather's for lunch and my grandkiddies were gratifyingly happy to see me. I always sort of wonder why because I never have any great presents for them or anything. They're pretty much as wonderful as ever although I only got a picture of Sophia.
No pictures of Johnny but we had a few nice little visits one on one and, in fact, he told me he would come visit me again on his spring break! How great is that?!
Heather and I also had a little bit of visit time. She was home both Monday and Tuesday but had to do some of her work from home and also (as I discovered) had to spend a lot of time looking at and pondering a house they were thinking about buying (and ended up putting in an offer on while I was there). So she was pretty consumed with that but we did have a nice lunch together Tuesday at a real nice restaurant. She has fixed up and renovated so much in the house they're in now, that I kind of hate to see them move out just when she's finished, but...there it is.
The travel muse must have been with me because I drove home Wednesday and, just as with my flights home, it was probably the quickest and easiest trip I've made from there to here. I left at 8:00 a.m., got home a little after 3:00 p.m. and that was with a brief stop for a bite of breakfast, another stop for lunch (Subway!) and a stop for gas. No road construction, no accidents, beautiful day, etc., etc. In fact as I was driving across that little strip of Maryland I was thinking how I must have just about hit the peak of the fall colors because the hills were beautiful after the fog had burned off. I figured it would really be something when I got to West Virginia. But at some point on that little strip, I suddenly noticed that probably at least 50% of the trees were already bare. I don't know if I had crossed one of the higher "mountains" or what, but whatever had happened, the rest of the trip was still lovely, but obviously past the peak of fall colors.
Got home, had my car all unpacked in short order, went through my great stack of mail (mostly to throw out), started unpacking my suitcases, then got cleaned up a little cause Jamie was coming down when she got off work to get dinner with me. We walked down to Chili Willi's and had a great time catching up. Then after she left, I did a little more unpacking and then had my first trip to my Starbucks. Only thing is there was only one barrista there that I sort of knew so that was a little disappointing. Actually, most of "my" barristas have gone on to bigger and better things now. Won't stop me from going to Starbucks of course (will anything!?) but I miss them.
Thursday I spent finishing the unpacking (although I still haven't put away some of my foodstuffs I brought home), worked on bills a little, did some grocery shopping, walked around downtown a little, ended up at the library and visited a little there, saw a couple of neighbors, and generally just enjoyed being back home. Today I've so far managed to fritter away the morning and will be meeting Jamie for lunch, then probably another trip to the grocery store for the things I forgot yesterday, maybe a little work at the library, and then I may see if I can figure out something to cook for dinner.
So this is "The End" for this year's Italian adventure - somewhat stressful at times, but a wonderful, memory-filled trip!
- Mary Lynne
- West Virginia
- When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!
P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).
I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.