Saturday, December 03, 2005

"Where EXACTLY did you go?"

The thing about "coming home" is that there are questions. If one has been absent for a long time (some would say that's my permanent condition but I digress...), there are sometimes a lot of questions and some of them the same. In an effort to (a) sort myself out and (b) be helpful to others here are some answers.

The Original Plan was for Moi et Himself to spend some time in Italy before taking separate journeys with a tentative plan to "see one another at LHW" prior to flying home. As Constant Readers know, Himself is much more linear in his writing (I am here, I am going there) and, if you kept your atlas close at hand, you would have had some idea where he was. I can be linear if pushed (or desperate) so many of you have no clue where I was when. (Did you ever consider it might have been a plot or that maybe I didn't know either???) So, for CR (and me) here is a sort of travel line -

Kelowna - London Heathrow - London Gatwick - Pisa - Vitolini - several day trips including Lucca, San Gimignano and Firenze - Cortona - Volterra - Levanto - Nice - day trips to Vence and Cassis - The First Tour which was Nice, Aiguine, Rousillon, Vaison la Romaine, Avignon, Cassis, Villefranche sur Mer - Nice (again) - Vernazza on the Cinque Terre - Firenze - Siena with another day trip to San Gimignano - Verona - Firenze - Zurich - Paris - Arras with day trip to Vimy - near Edenbridge - Winchester - near Bodmin - Leominster - Stalybridge - Meriden - Leatherhead - Cobham - Kelowna.

Except for the airplanes at the beginning and end, the motorcycle up to the first arrival in Nice and the car in the UK, I travelled from place to place by train or bus using a "3 Country 10 Days in 2 months Eurail pass" and had no trouble other than not using it all up b/c I was leaving some space for flexibility. Turns out that having Himself arriving in the UK earlier than planned cut down a bit on my flexibility. That isn't really the "oh darn, I didn't get to go to ...." that it sounds like - I was very happy to have him back where I could see him but it means that Lyon, LeMans, Mont St Michel and Normandy and Brittany will have to wait for next time!! Nice to have leftovers, eh??

Back to the transportation: I did have to book some of my train trips which led to interesting waits in some train station line-ups (booking can be done days ahead of time if one pays attention and gets one's self to the booking agent...)and a rapid increase in the necessary French and Italian necessary for travel. I also met and "chatted" with lovely people - "chatting" involved a bit of the language, a lot of Moi flipping through my mini-dictionary, some pencil and paper work, hand waving, shrugging, and big smiles. Suffice to say there are people all over France and Italy who thought they were going to have the "usual" train trip and now think Kelowna BC looks just like the postcards I inflicted on them!!

I remember the nonna who was travelling from Bologna and who told me (in Italian) all about her dead husband, the visit she had had with one daughter and the one she was going on to her next daughter. She was tiny and sparky and had a suitcase the size of PEI!! And the boys from Oz who were on a three week European tour and heading for a midnight arrival in Rome with no accommodation booked - confidence of youth!! And the claustrophobia of the lower bunk, the disbelief that two unrelated people could have been expected to share the space, and relief when I didn't have to!! And the speed of the TGV: I have never before had my ears pop from acceleration!!

Memory Snapshots... more to follow....

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