roaming around Italy with celebrity lookalikes

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!