It’s been such a long time since I last posted here, July 9 to be exact, that I don’t know quite where and how to begin. If we were at a party, the usual weather-related repartee would be a reasonable beginning, so maybe that’s where I’ll go first. In fact, the weather here along the Wasatch front took quite a dramatic turn late yesterday from the hazy, lazy days of Indian summer of the past few weeks. Last night strong winds ushered in pelting rain, changing overnight into an early morning snow, clearly ahead of schedule here in the foothills. It doesn’t seem inclined to stop anytime soon. Trees are heavy with wet snow, and driveways and streets are impossible to keep cleared. On the negative side it’s thwarted our planned gym and movie outing, but on the positive side, it’s a perfect day to copy up with television or old movies–or in my case–reacquainting myself with the computer and Wintersong. Even more, it’s a perfect time to go back in time a few weeks and record some memories of our tour of Italy. The weather then and there versus here and now could hardly be more different.
More on that later. To begin, I thought it would be fun to introduce a few select members of our 38-member travel group with Wintersong readers.
By the end I’d gotten to know most of the people on some level, and this lady, a lovely lady in her eighties who could put a 60 year old to shame with her ability to keep up, became herself–Gwen–a very lovely lady traveling with her daughter. Every time I’d look at her in the beginning, I kept wondering who it was she reminded of. Forgive me but I kept seeing George Washington on the dollar bill, but no that wasn’t right. Martha Washington maybe. Later, as I picked up my Nook book after a long absence a picture of Gertrude Stein surfaced and I had my answer, although Gwen is a much lovelier, older and softer version .
From the first evening, Donna was Barbara Bush. She was traveling with her son and his wife, as well as her daughter and son-in-law.
Ironically, son-in-law David looked even more like Teddy Roosevelt than Roosevelt. He also bears an uncanny resemblance to both Grover Cleveland and William Howard Taft.
It didn’t occur to me until I was home and contemplating all the celebrity lookalikes on our tour that it occurred to me that one of our favorites, Mike, was a dead-ringer for Phil Donahue. Pat not only resembles Nancy Pelosi, but embodies Pelosi’s grace and petite stature.
In any group of that size, there are always some who endear themselves to you as time goes on, some who stay to themselves or choose to ignore you, and there are always one or two who annoy you. This group was no different, but one thing was striking. Everyone was cooperative and non-complaining, and I don’t think even one member slowed anyone up. Everyone was always present and accounted for at the designated departure time.
This year we traveled around Italy with Grand European Tours for a couple of weeks, then stayed on several more days by ourselves in Rome. This time we saw secret sides of Rome up close and personally as passengers escorted by Valerio and Michela on the backs of a couple of vintage Vespa scooters (Dearoma Tours & Travel). In some ways that stay turned out to be way cooler than the previous two weeks with a group of 38 people.We spent four more days in Rome staying at the Lancelot, a family-owned hotel in Rome located in a historical neighborhood within walking distance of the Colosseum. What we enjoyed best there was not having to repack our suitcases every day as we’d done for two weeks, and the round-table dinner that was wonderful both in terms of the quality of the food, and dining family-style with other hotel guests, swapping travel experiences at the end of the day. On the last night of our stay there, it should have been a clue, however, that maybe something was amiss. Halfway through dinner that evening, after several glasses of wine and courses of rich food, I began to feel so weary I actually thought only one more meal to consume here, and we’ll be on our way back home! Suddenly I thought I couldn’t bear even one more discourse of sparkling conversation. I was exhausted!
A little after midnight I awoke and barely made it to the bathroom in time! The rest of the night I lay awake feeling absolutely miserable. The next morning, we left the hotel at 9 o’clock and I suffered through line after line at the airport, both in Rome and New York around 12 hours later. Two days later, we finally made it back to Utah, where I continued to be ill most of the time until a little more than a week ago. Long story short, I’m pretty much on the mend, about six pounds lighter. Several tests revealed no serious problems. It looks like I’m going to be okay. If you live long enough, life is bound to throw all kinds of things at you–good, bad, and ugly. I keep reminding myself that sometimes it’s the ugly stuff that makes the better story. Now if I can just keep those six pounds off, everything will be fine and I’ll be back in the groove in no time.
I’ll be back soon to share more of Italy and our earlier visit to Florida. And for now–SURPRISE, SURPRISE–I’ve sworn off airline travel, FOREVER!
Wow – a celebrity tour!
Thanks so much, Colleen. I’ve missed “seeing” everyone too, but I really enjoyed the long break from the computer! Turns out I’m not addicted after all. Whew! (You must have really enjoyed that new enclosed porch all summer. You’ll never want to leave that place now.)
On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 4:59 PM, My Wintersong
You must be a mind reader – I was going to send you an email to ask where you are and how you are – but now I know how you are and glad your are better.
Thanks Rachel. It’s nice to know you haven’t forgotten me in spite of my long absence! To tell the truth, I was beginning to worry I was addicted to computers, the internet and especially my blog. The long hiatus reassured me I could get along just fine without it, except in missing my blogging buddies. I think of you and the Ts so often. I’ll be catching up with you real soon!
On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 5:23 PM, My Wintersong
Welcome Home and with a svelte new look too! But please, try a different type of diet next time! 😉 I love matching people up with someone I already know or a celebrity from stage or screen.
Now roll on the travel tales for all of us to enjoy!
Grannymar, you sure know how to make a girl feel good. Svelt, indeed! But the best part is my blood pressure is improved as well. You know what people say about everyone having a double in life. I’ve seen doubles myself all over the country over the past forty years. They’ve looked so much like deceased relatives in some cases that I would make up a silly scenario about *Cousin Alvin really isn’t dead, he just moved to Connecticut and didn’t let anyone know! *Uncanny to say the least.
On Sat, Nov 10, 2012 at 1:31 AM, My Wintersong
Hi my friend, Like dangermond, I planned to email you to reassure myself that you were traveling NOT rehabilitating from some malady, and here you are informing readers that you have been doing both! So good to hear from you again, and you have been missed. I have also been remiss in blog posting, but I don’t have a “fun” reason for my absence. Work has exploded, and I have little energy to write once I finally get home. Welcome back, and I’ll keep wishing for snow if that’s what helps Winter Song sing. =)
Well hello there, R! I know you’re so busy with your work and your writing as well and hope everything’s coming up roses for you. We’re practically buried in snow today, but it’s breathtakingly beautiful. How’re things your way? Thanks for taking time to respond; you make me feel really good.
On Sat, Nov 10, 2012 at 7:43 AM, My Wintersong
I envy all you travels around the world! Welcome home and I hear you about airplane travel…after a while on the ground you’ll change your mind I’d guess!
Well, at this point I’m still not sure but P certainly hopes so. He wants to go not only To Paris and Australia and New Zealand but is trying to talk Marta into taking us all to Brazil. I told him I’d go to Brazil if we could drive. 😆 How long do you suppose it would take?
Except for a few trips I usually travel alone or with one friend or family member. You have reinforced my feeling about going on tours. The few times I’ve done it I find myself remembering more about the people on the tour than the places we went to visit. I can tell you about all the people on the tour I took on my first trip to China in the 80’s, but I’m only vaguely certain about where we went.
Happy to have you back. Write soon and often.
I know what you mean, Ruth, about the vagueness of where you go and what you see. There are drawbacks of touring in coaches, especially large groups: with two or sometimes one-night hotel stays, you’re constantly having to pack and repack and figuring out what to do about dirty laundry (often there’s no time or facilities and hotel laundry service is not only expensive but risky in that they’re probably not going to be as careful as you’d be at home with hot water and dryers) Another is that usually after a week (sometimes less), whatever ailment one person gets is quickly passed throughout the whole group despite efforts to avoid it. All that said, however, touring works very well for the single traveler. My feelings are mixed at this point, so Hubby and I are going to focus on in-country road trips at least the next year. Good to be back and especially good hearing from you.
On Sat, Nov 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM, My Wintersong
Alice, how nice that you are back on line and sharing your adventures. I’m digging on those young Italian men with the Vespas. Walter has one just like those, and we terrorize his neighborhood as we putt-putt around, pretending we’re riding an Electra Glide. I’m adorable in my robin’s egg blue Vespa helmet. I understand why you don’t want to travel by air any more…what a pain in the butt! Remember back in the 60s when we thought that being a stewardesss (flight attendant) was the most glamorous job on the planet? When you meet a fellow traveler who resembles Gregory Peck, notify me immediately!
You can’t beat touring Rome on a Vespa with a young Italian stud! It’s amazing how they can weave in and out at traffic stops and get right to the front of the line. Traffic is bad alright, but not nearly as horrible as I’d always imagined from scenes out of Hollywood movies! As for Gregory Peck lookalikes, would that be as he would look today? or 40 years ago? 😀
On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 6:58 PM, My Wintersong
Welcome back, Aunty. Internet wasn’t the same without you.
You aren’t going to fly ever again ? It is a pretty long journey to India by the sea. You better start off now if you want to reach by 2014 via Brazil, France, Australia and New Zealand. And don’t worry. You will be alright once you get here. Jerome K Jerome said no one is ever seasick on land. 🙂
No, Raghu, but I think I’ll petition the Government to invest in time/space travel Genie fashion. I love to visit other places, but I wish I could wiggle my nose “I Dream of Jeanie (Genie) style” and be there, thereby avoiding all the unpleasantness of traditional travel! Is that so much to ask? When you’re 70, aren’t you allowed to be a little cantankerous if you’ve amind to? 😉 No, I imagine I’ll get over it eventually, but it’s going to take some time. I’m so glad to be in touch with you again, thanks for indulging me!
How wonderful to see you and read of your adventure. Hopefully you didn’t call your fellow travelers by their look a like names? 🙂 Yes, the last cruise we took, I was sick the whole way. Allergic to something. Next year we are planning to go through the Panama Canal, and I am afraid I will get sick again. This year’s trip went very well.
Did they figure out what you had? My days weren’t the same without you.
Fortunately, I didn’t. I’m not even sure whether their politics would preclude their being associated with one group or another either. What if they hated being associated with either liberals or conservative celebrities; you never know so I never mentioned anything to them. You never know! I even felt appropriately guilty using excuses of *wanting to remember my fellow travelers rather than knowing I wanted to blog about them sometime later. 🙂 As for being sick during travel, as long as all the planets align themselves correctly, surely the universe wouldn’t do that to either of us again! Just take or have G take great photographs to remember the good stuff.