on returning home from italy in 2019

We took a shuttle to the Fiumicino airport at 6:30 to get there by 6:45 a.m. The United gates didn’t open until 7:00, so we got there early for no good reason.  Check-in went quickly, as did security and passport control.  We enjoyed coffee and croissants in the airport and then waited until our 9:45 departure, with a 1:35 p.m. arrival time at Dulles International Airport near our home in Northern Virginia. Before boarding, I finished the book I’d been reading in Morocco and Rome, The Forgiven.

During the flight, I watched Crazy Rich Asians, On the Basis of Sex (about Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and I started the TV show My Brilliant Friend, but I didn’t have time to finish it.

We had a lunch of spinach and ricotta manicotti and bread.  I took a Valium after lunch and managed to sleep for a couple of hours, but it was so freezing on the plane, it was hard to get comfortable. I had on my black knit flowy pants, a t-shirt, my gray knit zipper jacket and my jean jacket all buttoned up, plus a very thin blanket provided by the airline, but I was freezing the entire flight.

Lots of seats on the flight were empty.  We paid for Economy Plus, so we had a little more leg room than others. Mike had the window seat and I had the aisle, 23K and L.

It was 12:01 p.m. Washington time (and 6:02 p.m. Italy time), and we were to arrive at 1:35. I could see were were flying toward Boston on the flight path screen.  We were over the Atlantic most of the flight, soon after flying over Ireland and Great Britain.

I hoped we’d get one more snack, but none seemed to be coming.  I couldn’t wait to get off the plane and to get warm in our cozy home. By that time, we’d traveled 4,728 miles and we were at 34,009 feet in altitude.  The outside temperature was -50°C, or -58°F.

Everyone had the window shades closed through the entire flight, so it had been dark in the cabin. It seemed it would warm up if they opened the “blinds” and let the light in.

Neither of us was excited about having our youngest son move back home as life had always been stressful with him in our house. He had agreed to the conditions we had laid out our last night in Rome, but neither of us were convinced he would actually meet them. He had agreed to get therapy, go to AA, work on his drinking, and gain a skill. I didn’t think he would make much money as a massage therapist, so I didn’t see that as a long-term solution, but it was a step in at least some direction.  We would be seeing him back in our house soon after we arrived home. I was decidedly not looking forward to our homecoming.

My older son had already arranged to come home that week upon our return, as he would be the best man in his friend’s wedding.  As my older and younger sons had several months earlier had a huge falling out over their shared living situation in Colorado, this would create additional stress.  When we informed my older son that the younger would be home when he came home, he was very upset, as we figured he would be.  I could perfectly understand his feelings.

We came home to a very stressful situation, although it was wonderful to see my older son and to have a tenuous glimmer of hope, once again, that our youngest son might actually follow through on his commitments.

Once we settled back in at home, we watched a couple of movies set in Italy that we hadn’t had time to watch before our trip: Three Coins in the Fountain and To Rome with Love. We also began the fabulous TV series, My Brilliant Friend, which we are still watching.

Eventually, I wrote a number of posts about our travels in Italy:

  1. on journey: morocco to rome
  2. rome: forgoing the colosseum & dipping into the “heart of rome”
  3. rome: continuing the “heart of rome” walk past the trevi fountain & the spanish steps
  4. my last day in rome – to, from & around part of the vatican museums
  5. promises, promises in the vatican museums
  6. on journey: a drive from rome to la spezia
  7. the cinque terre: monterosso al mare
  8. the cinque terre: a crowded hike to vernazza
  9. cinque terre: charming portovenere
  10. cinque terre: a vineyard walk in stunning manarola
  11. italy: pisa’s campo dei miracoli & the leaning tower
  12. lucca to florence, italy
  13. the uffizi in florence, italy
  14. a first glimpse into the glory of florence
  15. a morning at the galleria dell’accademia in florence
  16. florence: a day of sweeping views & perpetual grazing
  17. florence to montefioralle to greve in chianti
  18. under a wisteria sky at panzano in chianti
  19. a quick climb in castellina & an epic detour in the maze of san gimignano
  20. san gimignano: a city of medieval skyscrapers
  21. volterra in tuscany
  22. tuscany: exploring siena
  23. a short stroll through damp monteriggioni
  24. tuscany: an encounter with the fiat 500 club italia in asciano
  25. tuscany: montalcino
  26. tuscany: sant’antimo > san quirico d’orcia > montepulciano
  27. montepulciano > bagno vignoni > san quirico d’orcia (again)
  28. umbria: a chilly afternoon in perugia
  29. assisi & the basilica di san francesco
  30. umbria: a short stroll around spello
  31. umbria: the gorgeous town of spoleto
  32. poetic journeys: eight ways of looking at italy
  33. orvieto in southern umbria
  34. umbria: civita di bagnoregio & on to fiumicino

We enjoyed our travels in Italy.  We especially loved most of the Cinque Terre (despite the crowds) and Portovenere, Florence, Lucca, San Gimignano and Volterra, the Tuscan countryside, Assisi and Orvieto. The major drawback was the weather, which, once we got to Tuscany and Umbria, was fickle: rainy, cold, windy, with bouts of sunshine too few and far between.

*April 23 to May 10, 2019*


“ON RETURNING HOME” INVITATION: I invite you to write a post on your own blog about returning home from one particular destination or, alternately, from a long journey encompassing many stops.  How do you linger over your wanderings and create something from them?  How have you changed? Did the place live up to its hype, or was it disappointing? Feel free to address any aspect of your journey and how it influences you upon your return. If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments.

For some ideas on this, you can check out the original post about this subject: on returning home.

Include the link in the comments below by Sunday, November 1 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Monday, November 2, I’ll include your links in that post.

This will be an ongoing invitation on the first Monday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time.