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Archive for February, 2009

Ciao!

We got back from Italy last Thursday and I haven’t blogged yet because I can’t seem to stay awake long enough to do it! During our ten days in Italy, we had early wakeup calls and long days and a flight home where I could only catnap. I guess, I’m catching up as well as fighting jetlag. Either way, there have been afternoons where I either had to lie down or fall over. Bruce was much the same. Last Sunday afternoon, I stretched out on the bed for a long nap, then later moved to the sofa, snoozed there until I finally gave up and just went to bed, like under the covers.

Bruce and I have been discussing the merits of tours versus individual travel. We got to see lots more on this pilgrimage than if we’d been by ourselves — and the price was right. However, we went at a killer pace for someone with a bad knee and another with a bad hip. Ibuprofen gel and Tylenol saved the day. “Magellan” also saved the bum knee. He is the cane/seat I bought for the trip — a cane that folds out into a small seat to rest on while waiting in long lines or standing around (in my case, sitting around) listening to the tour guide. Magellan’s.com is written across the seat, hence the name. That was a goodly purchase, worth every penny. (I will write a review of it on the website.) Most of the streets in the older parts of Italy are cobblestones, with rounded edges and spaced about an inch apart. I had to watch every step to insure I didn’t fall which would have been most disastrous! A coach was our mode of transport from town to town and even around Rome, but even then we walked — a lot! Unfortunately, my arthritic knee decided to get worse last fall, right after we committed to the trip. But, never-say-die-Kathy wouldn’t hear of canceling.

There are advantages to each version of travel. One is handy in a country where you don’t speak the language. Since this trip was a pilgrimage, we saw more churches than we would have by ourselves, and that was only a mere fraction of the ones available. It was nice to have informed guides tell us about the places we saw. We also traveled easily from Venice, to Florence, to Assisi, and to Rome, and in relative comfort. However, there is something to be said for ferreting out places on your own — researching, exploring, hunting around. It makes you “own” a place, if you will. It develops a different significance. And, we would never impose a 5 AM wakeup call on ourselves unless we were catching a train or plane. However, if you’re game for seeing the Pope at the papal audience and want a good seat, early up you are. In Assisi the bell tower of the basilica was very near to our room. Wow — those boys got us up and going! We attended Mass with the priests with us, at many lovely little chapels. We even had Mass in a chapel in the crypt of St Peter’s Basilica, near the tomb of John Paul II. Because of the guide’s advice we were able to see Pope Benedict in his popemobile drive right by us. It was, of course, the coldest day we had in Rome, and held outside in the square. Bruce lamented he had forgotten to pack his gloves, however, we each had packed warm hats. It was so windy we watched the pope’s cap get blown off. A cardinal had to chase it down! His podium area was apparently heated as he sat without gloves and without shivering. Maybe popes are impervious to such discomfort?

Anyway, more Italian stories to follow. Right now, I think I need another nap .

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Another Film

Bruce and I take turns picking out which movie we go see. We’ve been on a viewing binge lately. Given the exciting previews, he chose Taken starring Liam Neeson. It was really bang-it-up-shoot-em-and-punch-em action film. I was glad we had eaten right before we got there. I couldn’t have managed a sack of popcorn and a soda. The film was too absorbing. The only thing I didn’t like was Neeson’s hair dye. He was supposed to be an older man — let him have some gray hair, for heavens sake.

Several critics panned the film, but this is what I think. We go to be entertained.  If that happens, we’re happy.

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