Our Family Trip to France & Italy

Panzano

I’ve been off line for a while . . .

A week ago Peggy and I returned from almost three weeks in Europe. The two of us spent a couple of days in France, near Nice on the Cote d’Azur. Then it was on to Italy and Cinque Terre, where we had a marvelous time in Monterosso.

Next we travelled to Rome where we joined our daughter, Maggie, her husband, Kerry, and their four children – along with our son, Patrick, Peggy’s brother, Artie, his wife, Mary, and their three children, along with another niece. In all we were a group of 15 – 16 when a longtime friend of Maggie also joined us towards the end of our trip.

Our group spent three days in Rome. Afterwards we drove to Tuscany where we spent ten days in a villa in the little town of Panzano. (The photo above shows the villa where we stayed.) From there we did day trips to Florence and Pisa. But mostly we just enjoyed the unparalleled beauty, peace and quiet of the Chianti wine country.

Finally, Maggie and her family, Peggy and I spent three days on the beach on the island of Elba.

Throughout the magical days, we ate marvelous meals in restaurants of many kinds, as well as sumptuous repasts prepared by Maggie and Peggy at “home.”

It was all a wonderful experience.

But we’re all still recovering – I in more ways than one. Towards the end of our first day in Rome, I slipped and fell down three marble steps outside a restaurant where our large group ate its first meal together. I was wearing my Croc sandals and it had just rained. I felt like I was walking on ice. Just before I slipped, I was thinking, “I could easily fall down these stairs; I’d better be careful.”  Before I knew it, I was flat on my back. I jumped up right away though claiming that I was ok. That wasn’t exactly true.  Now, weeks later, my left shoulder is still sore, though the large black-and-blue mark that side of my body has finally disappeared.  I’m still not able to do my morning exercise routine as normal. But I’m lucky I didn’t break anything.

If most of this sounds wonderful, it’s because it was.

However, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

Here’s an exchange I overheard in Cinque Terre. Hot and sweaty, we had just disembarked from the ferry that takes tourists past all of Cinque Terre’s five villages scattered along the mountainside.

Husband: Remind me again why we’re doing this.

Wife: Yeah, why are we doing this?

Husband (frustrated and testy): Because we need to see the five villages!

Wife: Can you tell one from the other?

Personally, I could relate to the couple’s weariness, frustration and touristic overload. That kind of sight-seeing is not at all my cup of tea. I prefer what Peggy and I ended up for the next two days – vegging on the beach under big umbrellas.

(Next Posting: Visiting the Matisse Chapel in Vence)