A page from my personal journal dated….June 12th, 2010
Today I figured out if I changed my international settings to Italy I would be on the correct calendar. It only took me a week to figure that out….
Kelly and I left Casa Ombuto at around 8:30 am after a tearful goodbye to our new friends. Only the classmates and two
of Laura’s helpers were in the cucina when we packed the Fiat Panda for the car ride to Firenze. How do you say goodbye to new friends who have shared an experience such as this? Kelly and I drove off with the bale of hay still atop the car one last time down that beautiful tree canopied dirt road. As I checked the rearview mirror I could see them waving good bye, just like family. I honked the horn one last farewell. Kelly and I were touched beyond belief. Whenever I see that ribbon of road I dreamed of for twelve months since planning our trip to Casa Ombuto, it will now be a dream come true. We walked that path literally. I can only hope to return one day.
The sun shined brightly on the Tuscan countryside as we traversed the narrow mountain roads. It was Saturday once again and the motorcyclists, in their tight fitting colorful suits buzzed past like pesky bees invading our space. It was unnerving as I downshifted and banked the turns changing speeds with the signs posted as we entered the villages along the route to the autostrada.
In an hour and a half we were in Florence and traffic was thick. In the city center Tanya was leading us in circles and I was becoming frustrated. We turned her off and headed in the direction we thought the train station could be located. Suddenly there it was. Happily we parked the car and walked a few steps to the rental car office. The little white haired
lady and man, proprietors of the rental car office, were as happy to see us as we were. We turned in our car and lugged our heavy suitcases to the train station where we secured our first class reservations to Roma. After checking our bags, we hopped into a taxi to Ponte Vecchio to shop. We had a couple of hours to kill, so we chose a side walk cafe to share a light lunch and a glass of white wine. The shops were infested with persistent salespeople and we soon discovered the prices and the value did not seem to equate. I suggested we return to the train station to relax for a bit before the train. Later we checked the sign for our platform and boarded, lifting our regretfully large suitcases onto the sleek train. We settled in for the smooth hour and a half ride to Roma.
Bob, Emma and Katie were meeting us at the train station when we arrived in Roma. They had landed at the the airport in Rome at 8:00 am, checked into the three bedroom apartment, unpacked, rested and waited anxiously to see their mother, whom they had not seen for seven days, and the neighbor…me! As Kelly and I exited the train and were pulling our bags behind us, we saw a couple embraced and kissing passionately. They were lovers happy to be reunited and I must admit, it excited me to remember that passion, that excitement, that longing to see each other. It had been a long time since I had seen a public display of affection ( PDA) and I was warmed by the tenderness and length of the kiss. We continued up the platform, Kelly racing ahead of me, searching for the familiar faces of her sweet daughters and her husband. The greeting was as special as Kelly had hoped and the girls led us expertly thru the train station out to the street where we waved a taxi to whisk us to our apartment.
We checked out the accommodations and decided who was sleeping where. It was off to find a trattoria for dinner andback home for a sleep that would hopefully take care of the jet lag they felt. We had a free morning, so the girls would be able to sleep in. I crawled into the firm double bed with it’s down comforter and was asleep seconds later. Kelly, Bob and the girls had made me feel comfortable and at home in their lovely Roman apartment. Tomorrow we will explore and at 1:30 Paolo, the same tour guide our family had in 2004, will meet outside our apartment for a walking tour of Roma.
I had better get to sleep. beune notte….