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Year in Review

1 Jan

The older we get the faster time seems to move. (It’s an actual phenomenon that has been scientifically proven: the older you are the faster time seems to pass.) Only yesterday it seems we were dying of the heat in Rome, taking refuge in the mighty Dolomites enjoying brisk mountain air and alpine meadows. But that was July. Looking back over our time in Rome – now 19 months and counting – we have experienced so much, and yet my list of to-dos in Rome (not to mention all of Italy)  has more things on it that we have not accomplished than ones we have managed to check off. There’s a wonder around every corner and we shall never get to all of them. Roma: Una vita non basta!

New Year's Eve Vespers with Papa F! We were right on the aisle. Ric snapped this pic with his phone.

New Year’s Eve Vespers with Papa F! We were right on the aisle. Ric snapped this pic with his phone.

We managed to see a bit more of Italy this year, visiting some old favorites as well as new territory.

  • March saw us in Sicily for our 28th anniversary, where we were constantly cold, but where we ate magnificent food and saw our first-ever Greek ruins. Stunning! Must go back in warmer weather.
  • In May we ventured to the heel of the boot, Puglia, with my brother and sister-in-law. More great food, a fantastically different Italy, and lots of kilometers covered. Can’t count the bottles of wine consumed. Rick & Jane, we had so much fun with you those 10 days in Rome and Puglia! And we “discovered” Abruzzo on our way back to Rome. Wow!
  • In fact we were so enchanted with Abruzzo we went back for a weekend in July. Not many North Americans (or non-Italians) go to Abruzzo as it is not chock-a-block with must-sees, but it is an amazing place to escape the city, practice one’s Italian, and relax.
  • Later in July was our week in the Val Gardena. If only we could figure out a way to live there all summer.
  • Like most Italians, we got away for Ferragosto but only as far as Orvieto for a couple of nights.  It’s always nice to get on a train, and only an hour away is this charming Etruscan hill town.
  • Our youngest son came to visit in September and we made our 4th trip to Venice in less than three years. Three days there flew by and in wonderment Derek observed we still had not seen everything we intended to. Venice has a lot to offer and so many people try to “do” it in 2 nights and one day. We’re going back for the 5th time in April with friends who have never been.
  • The Cinque Terre calls to us each autumn and we made our third trip there in October. Hoping we can squeeze in a weekend there again in 2014.
  • After the Marine Corps 238th Birthday Ball in early November, we made a trek to Ravello just as the town was closing for the season. This is a must-go-back location sometime during the concert season.
Kids, don't try this at home. Our neighbor across the street shot off Roman Candles from his oh-so-tiny balcony on NYE. Note the Santa figure climbing a ladder hanging from the balcony. And this goes on all over the city!

Kids, don’t try this at home. Our neighbor across the street shot off Roman Candles from his oh-so-tiny balcony on NYE. Note the Santa figure climbing a ladder hanging from the balcony. And this goes on all over the city!

Other highlights in 2013:

  • I turned sixty. Can’t believe it, but my mother is there in the mirror every morning, so I guess it’s true.
  • We had a blind date with Nigel and Carol, new friends from England that we met through the Rick Steves’ Helpline and this blog. Hoping to see them again in February!
  • Made Thanksgiving dinner for 11 Italians. We had so much fun doing this! I only hope they will let us do it again next year.
  • Seeing our youngest son (not very young anymore, but still il mio bambino al cuore) after 16 months away.
  • Getting fit(ter) in the gym. I’ve lost about 45 pounds since moving to Rome and had to buy a whole new wardrobe last summer and again this winter.
  • Becoming more comfortable speaking Italian. I am “advanced intermediate” (B2/C1 for those that understand the scale) according to my teacher. I should be fluent by the time I am 85.
  • Seeing Tom and Karen, our in-laws, when they visited Rome after their cruise.
  • Visits by Michael Horne for gastronomic exploration of Rome. (Thanks for the intro to Vino Roma!)
  • New Years’ Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica with Papa Francesco. He was right there, not 2 meters from me during the processional and recessional. The energy in St. Peter’s was palpable, the love for this man overwhelming.

As I wrap up this post, we are aboard a train that departed at 07:20 New Year’s Day, leaving

St. Peter's, NYE 2013. I read today that shortly after we left Papa Francesco came out in his Popemobile to see the Nativity in the square. Purtroppo we had left the scene!

St. Peter’s, NYE 2013. I read today that shortly after we left Papa Francesco came out in his Popemobile to see the Nativity in the square. Purtroppo we had left the scene!

Italy for the first time in 19+ months. The sun is just coming up, outlining the Apennine Mountains in gold. We are headed to Switzerland where, magari, we will do Winterwandern (alpine snow hiking) to wear off the cheese fondue we plan to eat. We have many trips planned this year including a return to Venice, the Dolomites, Florence, Lake Como, and Abruzzo. We have guests coming, too: Kim, John and Aubrey in April; John, Susan, William and Elizabeth (aka JSWE) in July; the Omaha Bartons in August; a return by Derek in September; Rick and Jane in November; and hopefully Helen, Eddie and Debbie will make it over too. Anyone else? Would love to see you!

Buon Anno 2014! 

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6 Responses to “Year in Review”

  1. Ken January 2, 2014 at 09:36 #

    Laurel & Ric,

    Buon Anno 2014 anche lei. What an incredible time you’re having in Europe! Based on your comments, I should probably spend more time in Italy as I could really stand to lose some weight.

    Hope you have a fantastic time in Switzerland! I’m sure it’s a magnificent “winter wonderland” at this time of year.

    Like

    • gooddayrome January 2, 2014 at 17:33 #

      Thanks Ken! We are in Lauterbrunnen wondering why all the Swiss are not dead from high cholesterol. 🙂 Cheese is everywhere, as you know, coupled with such baddies as Roesti. I’ll bet the sell a lot of statins here. Will be posting soon about the start of our trip.

      *Laurel L. Barton* *Roma, Italia* http://www.GoodDayRome.com

      Like

      • Ken January 3, 2014 at 07:58 #

        Despite the diet, the Swiss seem to be healthy. The mention of Rösti is making me hungry. The last serving I had at Hotel Oberland was delicious! Their presentation was quite “artistic”, as shown here:

        Hope you’re having a great time in the Berner Oberland!

        Like

        • gooddayrome January 3, 2014 at 18:57 #

          That’s where we had Roesti, Ken: Hotel Oberland! Tonight we are having fondue at the Jungfrau Hotel. (Only had salad for lunch to prepare for it.) Ciao!

          *Laurel L. Barton* *Roma, Italia* http://www.GoodDayRome.com

          Like

  2. Mary Floridia-rank January 1, 2014 at 22:19 #

    I so enjoy your blog and look forward to reading it…can’t wait most of the times! You are right! When you are older the time passes so quickly. A friend and I will be visiting southern Italy this spring, God willing, and will be visiting Naples, Matera and Puglia area and will probably stay 4-6 weeks but I would like to stay longer, maybe three months because there is so much to see. You have also given me the incentive by saying you have lost 45 lbs. doctors always tell us to walk but they never say, “go to Italy and walk!”
    Looking forward to your next column.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gooddayrome January 2, 2014 at 06:04 #

      Thank you Mary, for being such a “fan.” A lot of people that move here say they’ve gained weight due to pasta and gelato, but if you don’t have a car and “commute” to work on foot, it helps! We walk about 14,000 steps on a normal work day, more on weekends. Works like a charm! Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

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