While the first week back, I was having extreme cases of withdrawal from not being in Europe and jetlag, yes, to me, they are different, this week, until I leave on Sunday, is total focus on the job at hand and all the moving parts of not only my next 6 months, but more importantly, the travels of my clients forthcoming. Last year was crazy busy and help erase the memories of the pandemic years and not having any travel to this year, coming to the end of April, being even busier than last year and the possibility of turning down business, which I have in part. I truly appreciate having people reach out from various avenues for my assistance be it the BBB, or YELP or ASTA and of course, truly appreciate that my current clients reach out for their latest travels, but I have become inundated to the point where I need to pick and choose and that is a very good problem to have.
Well, I returned Saturday night from my last few days in Europe this time around, nearly 6 weeks. Spending as much time as possible with Rosa was the goal. She, of course, had to guide each day and yet and most importantly, we found time to spend with each other, and we did in our little pad we had this time around. Yes, it was a time of melancholy, once again, I left another piece of my heart in Rome, figuratively. I remember starting out when I checked in for my flight at the beginning of March, with my two larger bags, having right up to the weight limit allowed 50 lbs. each and when I left Saturday, the weight cut in half. No, I don’t travel heavily, normally, if I can help it. However, I am not the best packer ever, even though my advice for packing is to lay everything out and then cut it in half, which I try to abide by, but lately, it has not worked too well, even though I have traveled as much as I do.
I have every intent of finding my way to Rome on a more permanent basis, as you know, so each time I bring things for use later and in this case, and while I brought some things back, I left a lot and got rid of a lot along the way. They also say that getting rid of things along the way is healthy and yes, things can be replaced, if needed. Europe has the brands Americans need, and their own versions including V-8, which I shared about last week. Living with less has been a good thing and soon enough, that will even be reduced even more. In the end, I want to be where my heart is, which each time, I leave a bigger piece and all the things in the world don’t matter compared to my relationship with Rosa.
This week in Rome was, in some ways, common and in some ways new. Of course, there was housekeeping in our very little accommodation, this time around. Rosa guided all week, which I knew she would be doing, and I worked on travels for clients coming here and other places abroad. In fact, 4 of my clients are coming here the beginning of May, and she will be guiding them for a couple of mornings here for the Colosseum and the Vatican. It is so nice to have an amazing guide as my fiancé, but more importantly, the love of my life. She is an amazing lady and while I knew she would be busy most of the time I was here this time around, we made the most of our time together. Remember, a few weeks back, we cruised together on the AmaVerde, so we enjoy breakfast together, and evenings together and I met some of the locals as I always do. There is a market down the street and there is a nice older couple from whom I have made purchases, so once you have been to the same people twice or more, you are friends here in Rome. It is simply part of the way of life.
As you know, I have spent much time in Italy and everyone knows and here in Rome again for the same reasons. However, the last week, I enjoyed some experiences I had never done here in Italy and of course, I wish I had more time, but I expect that I will return to these places. I had been accepted for a conference and trade show in Sestri Levante and this is in Liguria, one of the regions of Italy which also, for the benefit of those who may or may not know, includes the Cinque Terre. After leaving Bucharest, with a very early morning flight via Munich with a 4-hour layover, I arrived in Genoa and was transferred along with a now colleague from Vienna to the conference location. It is a beautiful setting in the water and although we had more time indoors than out, it was a place I would like to return to truly get a feel for the area. It is connected by train, of course by road and I believe there are opportunities from Genoa to get there by boat. Again, more time would have been nice, but I was there for business and so that was accomplished and potential new partnerships were established as many regions of Italy were represented and it opened my eyes up to the possibilities.
After the conference, a group of 6 of us, were picked up from our hotel, the Grande Albergo and together, one other American from Chicago, but resides in Rome now, a lady from Marseille, one from Geneva, one from Vienna and a gentleman from Israel and myself, along with our driver, Barbara set off for Brescia, which is one of the two, along with Bergamo, the cultural capitals of Europe for this year. It was about 3-to-4-hour drive through some amazing landscapes across the north of Italy and when arrived, we were in for a treat. As it turns out, none of us foreigners, had ever been to Brescia. It turns out that two of the most visited places in Italy are Milan and Verona and Brescia is equidistant from both, but not even Rosa, when I mentioned I was going to Brescia, had even been, so really, it is a hidden gem. We first enjoyed an amazing lunch upon arrival and when you at in Italy, you don’t go away hungry and some of those pictures were shared on Facebook, of course. Afterwards, and with an afternoon, we walked with our amazing guide Lucia around the city. She said that she is used to German speaking groups, but her English was just fine. We saw the ruins of the Roman theater, the cathedral and many other experiences and the day ended with a tasting menu in town. Our hotel, a Doubletree, by metro, yes Brescia has a one line metro and it is unmanned, takes about 10 minutes to get to the heart of the city. This city does have so much to offer, and we only scratched the surface. Since Rosa has never been, I know we will return there together.
Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin