Getting Back to Real—Please?

We had 7.5-year-old Savannah for the weekend. I will readily admit that I am not your perfect grandma. Doesn’t mean I love them any less, but I am not used to having them around. Savannah is a willful child with a mind of her own, and her parents joked about that when they came to pick her up. “How long did it take you to figure that out? Two minutes? Three? Ha ha!”

Ha ha indeed.

She knocked at the bedroom door at 6:45 Saturday morning, ready for fun and games with Grandma. I’ve been having a very hard (impossible) time readjusting my circadian rhythm ten hours from the Europe trip, and this wake-up call set me back to completely upside down. I was off-kilter all day. It wasn’t her fault, I had neglected to set the guestroom clock back—the time change occurred while we were away. Sigh.

JJ is more temperate and jovial than I, and usually provides half the support, but he’s been sick (getting better now) and was down for the count. Oh well. I survived. Next time, we establish a wake-up curfew.

The next part of the travelogue is not terribly exciting. We had some nasty weather for a few days and we missed a few ports for a variety of reasons.

This is Portofino, you’ve probably seen a million photos and paintings of this iconic scene. But we’ll look a little deeper.

This is really all there is to it, a place to sail your boat to, and shop and dine. Our ship was too big to get close and there is no dock for a large ship, so we had to take a tender boat to shore. The entrance to the village center is lined with pink plastic meerkats. This caused me wonder. I don’t get it.

And some other odd statuary, these looking rather Picasso-esque.IMG_2651

We had wine and olives at the sidewalk café with the green awning. Two other passengers we knew joined us and we had a nice visit. They had tiramisu and said it was outstanding.

We hit the fine ($$$) shops, didn’t buy anything ($$$), then went back to the ship to play bridge.

The next day we went to Cinque Terre (”Chingkweh Terra”) It was raining and the seas were rough, so the ferry wasn’t running and the only way in to these five little isolated gems was by train. We had not booked a tour here because we had planned to take the ferry (which was not running) on our own. This is Monterosso al Mare, which [I’m guessing] translates to Red Mountain by the Sea.

It was pretty cold and wet, so we ate lunch (delicious), marched around the only street, and trekked back to the train station in the rain. We had those teeny-tiny folding travel umbrellas, which are worthless in that kind of downpour.

I love the way they left the brick/mortar exposed here. We saw a lot of this.IMG_2659

Just another photo and then the camera went into my rucksack to stay dry.


After Portofino and Cinque Terre, we hit really bad weather and rough seas and had to change a few ports. We had arranged a ride into Florence and the driver never showed up. We stood out on the dock for 40 minutes in the cold, driving rain before we gave up. Turned out there were two ships in port, both sort-of named Oceania (ours was Oceania Riviera) and of course the driver went to the wrong one. He finally caught up with us but by then we would not have gotten to Florence in time to see David, which was our sole reason for going (we had timed tickets), so we said no thanks and kept the 80 euros per person, which was too high anyway, and played cards. And then Deborah and I both caught colds. But that’s travel.

I had been playing fast and loose with the bread over there and on the ship because it’s not as high in gluten as American wheat, but it’s not gluten-free and eventually it did catch up with me. I was actually relieved when we missed Capri (weather) and docked in Naples (big city) instead. I was able to walk ashore and buy some cold meds and a rescue inhaler for my asthma, which was getting a little scary. Four euros ($4.25—it would have cost $60 in the US plus a doctor visit) and it worked like a charm.

I avoided wheat after that. Which is really challenging in Italy because pizza is everywhere. Pizza and pasta—it’s what’s for lunch and dinner. Oh, and biscotti. Sniff sniff…oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

In other news, there is quilting going on in the studio. Pictures soon.


  1. Oh, the truth about grandparenting and about travel! It's not always fun and games, for sure. Lack of sleep can make a day horrible for even the nicest grandmother and rain can turn even the most anticipated trip into a dull slog. Ah well, that's life, and we make the best of it, as you did. Loved your photos; the meerkats are certainly odd. Looking forward to seeing what you're quilting.


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