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Arrivederci baby!


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  • 3 weeks later...

Cross posting with Grace:

When we got the news in October that my liver met was continuing to grow despite chemo, I wanted to run away. Well, we did! After 6 weeks off chemo, I felt some trepidation about leaving the country, but a mere two weeks earlier, we booked airline tickets and started making some plans for a two week trip. It was great!

We had a flight re-route heading out that took the first leg (Seattle to Amsterdam) from 10 hours to 30 with an unanticipated overnight in Amsterdam (and a 2 hour visit to Detroit to change planes!) That was a huge setback in that it robbed us of a day of the trip and we were pretty dingy the first day in Palermo.

Once there, we walked a lot (much more than I've been doing at home), gawked, ate, and relaxed. We stuck to a few locations (Palermo, Catania, Ragusa, Modica day trip, Siracusa, and back to Palermo) to minimize the packing, and traveled by bus (only once did a bus not come at all and we waited 3 hours for the next one - all the others were right on schedule.)

We stayed in B&Bs that were reasonably priced, ate our daily cornetto and drank our espresso/cappuccino, snacked our way through the day, and attempted to eat a big dinner at night. Pretty much every lunch and dinner was fabulous as far as flavor and quality - the essence of what the food is suppose to taste like. Seafood, tomatoes, pasta, the best oranges ever, and on and on.

We saw many street cats eating leftover pasta set out by the locals. Streets no wider than 5 feet with motorcycles zooming, streets just slightly wider with cars zooming, a hilltown with more stairs than streets, street markets brimming with fresh food and interesting people, many churches, Greek ruins, Roman ruins, modern architecture, a Caravaggio, well dressed Sicilians out for the evening stroll, hip young Italians in modern apparel, and a large group of musicians and their followers parading at 4 am in the ancient streets of Siracusa (below our window!)

So what about cancer? I read, but did not log on, of friends who passed, and a young man from my support group and an online friend in the Netherlands. It does not go on vacation. My sinuses felt some relief, and while I still have some pain in my side, it is very mild and there were no flare ups. Ibuprofen as needed. We walked so much, I napped when I needed which was not often. We rested by taking gelato or fresh oj breaks. The toughest thing was the late dinners. The restaurants don't open until 7:30 and most don't sit down until after 9 pm! I found it almost impossible to eat that late. I could eat an appetizer (or a plate of antipasti!) but to be faced with a large plate of pasta? It just did not work. I ate enough, but it was disconcerting at times and took some of the joy away. A secondi of meat or fish? Not possible. But somehow, between the two of us, we tried almost ever typical dish and a few not so typical. This isn't a food blog, so I will stop there.

Was the travel time and concerns worth it? Definitely! We were re-energized and monkey mind quieted. We engaged in some deep conversation as well as making some wonderful memories. Were we ready to come home? Well, maybe to see the kitties and do the laundry. Wondered why we didn't add a week in Rome as we sat in the airport waiting for the connecting flight. I slept 10 hours and now am up telling you my tale.

Pardon me for not answering all the posts of the past two weeks - I think I am about up to date with the news - good and bad - but will leave it at that.

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Stephanie, sounds like my kind of trip to Italy. I had planned on doing it after I retired, then cancer and seemingly constant chemo. If we went, we also had planned on skipping Rome and doing either Sicily (it's where my maternal family immigrated from) or just driving through wine country. So glad you did Sicily for me lol.

Am so glad you were able to do it but girl, I'm with you on the dinnertime. I didn't know that about Italy but I have trouble when my friends want to go eat at 7 or 7:30 pm.

Rest now and regroup and keep up the fight. We still have the Hope Summit in May.

Judy in KW

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Judy in KW,

In fall 2004 I went to Milan, Florence, and Venice, as well as doing a self guided walking/hinking tour of Tuscany hill towns (they forwarded the luggage each day and planned the routes, booked the rooms and dinners). So I've walked through one of the wine regions! Comparing the two trips is impossible - I was in such good shape for the walking/hiking - but I do like getting out of towns for part of my trips.

You'd think I'd know some Italian by now - but I really don't.

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