112. In the meantime

One of the great joys of spring for me is thinking about and planning my upcoming trip to Italy.IMG_1033It’s not that I have a strict policy of going every year, but it just seems to miraculously work out that way. I have gone often enough that I have already been to all of the must-sees, so I have the luxury of starting with a blank canvas. Should we have the flexibility of renting a car,

A big attraction of renting a car is stopping at the Autogrill, the Italian system of highway rest stops, which feature wonderful food, of course.

or the adventure of taking trains? IMG_3544Will we be tethered to a particular place or event,

We once planned a whole trip around seeing Bruce in Milano.

or are we starting with a blank canvas?

We made an almost random choice to go to Viareggio, a place we’d never heard of, and ended up spending a few happy days in this beautiful beach town, with no tourists in sight.

Should we check out someplace new — Trieste? Abruzzo? Calabria? — or head to the old favorites of which I never tire.IMG_2214

Some people find trip planning anxiety-producing and long for the days when it was all in the able hands of a travel agent. I actually find it so relaxing that if I have a few minutes between appointments at work, I will take a mental vacation and go on Travelocity or Booking.com and check out hotels in a random Italian city, with no plan to actually go there.  My first priority is always location; no matter how nice a hotel or reasonable the price, it’s no good to me if I’m stuck out by the convention center or the sports arena complex.

A wonderful little gem of a hotel owned and operated by a brother and sister in Levanto, near Cinque Terre.

The second, non-negotiable criterion is that it has to include a wonderful Italian buffet breakfast — breads, cheeses, cereal, fruit, little hot dogs for the Germans, and many varieties of cake, none of which I actually eat, but I need to have them there, as a display of wonderfulness. IMG_6625I especially like it when they have a cappuccino machine, so after I have my second freshly-made one from the bar, I can make myself another three without the embarrassment of having to face someone and request it.

Rooftop breakfast at a hotel in Napoli.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I find my thoughts naturally go in that direction. When I order a new pair of sandals, I unconsciously think “Oh these will hold up on the cobblestones of Rome.” When I’m going through my summer clothes in my closet, I make a mental note of which ones will pack well. But this year, of course, there will be no trip to Italy. Probably not next year either. At best, I think there will be a vaccine by 2022. We are in the tricky “at risk” age category; we need to be sure it is absolutely safe, but also can’t wait so long that we lose our zip.

I know that in light of the public health catastrophe in Italy, not to mention in the U.S,. this disappointment is less than nothing. So I’ve decided to dwell on the positive. So yes, I can’t go to Italy for a while, but here’s what I can do in the meantime:

  1. Make an all-out effort to get better at the language. As a cousin’s husband once said to me, not entirely kindly, “If you’re going to come here all the time, why don’t you speak better?”   Truer words were never said.
  2. Improve my photography skills. I have a fancy new camera — now I have the time to learn to use it.
  3. Walk or run five miles a day, so I’ll be in shape to walk all day and all night when I’m there.
  4. Not gain too much quarantine weight, so I have plenty of leeway to eat anything I want, which is everything in sight.

    My birthday dinner, 2019.

IMG_3466And in the meantime, I can make make-believe plans and wait for the thumbs-up from Dr. Fauci that it’s safe to go. I’ll be ready, on the first plane out.IMG_1264


4 thoughts on “112. In the meantime

  1. Hope it’s soon that you visit Italy. Your message made me craving pasta and meatballs,which I am making today

    Sent from Nancy’s iPad



  2. all of these and many more; the planning never stops; when one Italy trip ends, I begin planning for the next, which is always a blank book until I get into reviewing all the good articles and items I’ve tucked away over the past year or more


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s