Cannolis, Gelato, and the Pope!

I don’t usually like people’s posts that have just come back from a trip.  I mean really, popewho cares about your trip but you and your very closest friends and family.  (that’s a maybe!)  I had to make an exception this time because not only was this the continued celebration of David’s and my 40th anniversary (celebrating began in November), but he is to have a big, and I mean big number birthday.  Those of you who know me know how kooky I am about age, so no numbers please!  Let’s just say it’s big and he looks about 15 years younger than his age.  Good genes!

I have been many wonderful places on vacation, but Italy was not one of them.  The reason being that my very fortunate daughter went with her best friend from high school when she was 15 yrs old.  Nice to have an Italian best friend with a  family home in Tuscany!  Being a Baby Boomer parent (hate this, but I am the epitome of the stereotype!) I took this into consideration when planning trips and took us to France, Britain, Turkey, Greece, Spain, etc as opposed to doing what my husband and I wanted to do! Anyway, finally, our time had come.  Children grown, last family trip about 3 years ago (hope there will be more, but who knows with schedules, boyfriends, significant others!)  With an Italian last name, De Santo, Italy was calling.

I planned a trip to Lake Como, Rome, and Venice. (Florence and Amalfi will have to wait) with the brand new  Hilton in Como being the foundation.  We chose mid May since the crowds have not swelled yet and the heat is not oppressive.  When you are retired, you can pretty much go anywhere anytime!

The trip was amazing, totally living up to every expectation.  I was awe struck by the beauty, the history, the people, the food, the wine; who wouldn’t be?  The Trevi fountain, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pieta, the Grand Canal, everything in Venice, and on and on.  To see these works of beauty in person cannot be described.  They are magical, mystifying, awe inspiring.  I am a woman of hyperbole, as most of my friends and family know (I have to live up to my given name, Joy.  It’s tough!) In this case hyperbole is justified.

Wednesday morning in Vatican City is the papal audience. I wanted to do something special for my husband so I purchased tickets, which allow you to skip the lines and get a prime seat for viewing.  Being Jewish, this does not symbolize the same to me as it would to someone of the Christian faith.  However, I must say that sitting waiting for his holiness to make his rounds Pope mobile style was incredible.  I was so moved by the love, devotion, and admiration swelling all around me.  I too saw this man’s face and could understand why Pope Francis is so revered.  It sent chills down my spine and I smiled all morning.  A true once in a lifetime experience!

I am back home with a full I Phone full of pictures, wonderful memories, tired feet, jet lagged, well fed, well vinoed (past tense of vino!) and just plain thrilled to have seen this beautiful country. So it’s a bit messed up politically, there is no urgency for doing anything (reminds me of Mexico), and it certainly isn’t the Empire it was in Nero’s time!  It is a must on anyone’s bucket list and one of the most beautiful countries in the world. If you can’t be romantic in Italy, there is no hope for you! You are made of stone!

Today’s Takeaway...

Travel, open up your world, open up your eyes, open up your mind.  It’s a great big wonderful globe. There is nothing that comes close to understanding our similarities and differences culturally like travel.

Add some romantic time back into the marriage.  Getting away from your routine, even when you are retired, is special and puts the spice back into a relationship when you are away from the routine of everyday life. Some of the sexiest people on earth come from Italy!  Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren knew a thing or two about the spice of life!  Viva Italia!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy



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