Village Italy Tour

Day 16 Sunday May 29, 2005
Milan - Home

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The actual digital photos have much better resolution than the enlarged photos.
I was awake at 3, and I got out of bed to pack at about 4:30. Our taxi to the airport was scheduled to arrive at 7:15. Sue got up about 6. She told me that she was already packed, and that she could not sleep all night. I guess that the snoring sound that I thought that I had heard from her side of the bed came from a ventriloquist in the next room.

Milan is not the most photogenic place. Sue took these pictures on the way to the airport.

The hotel made a nice early little breakfast for us. This was a pleasant surprise. The cabby was early. We made him wait while we had coffee and a brioche. Tom Corcoran seemed to be starting to get antsy. I took some cookies and jam as a snack.

The Mercedes plant.

The Doggetts rode with us to the airport. Tom, who knows Rick Steves from business, said that the Perfect Master himself was scheduled to fly into Milan that morning. We speculated that we might see him at the airport, but it didn’t happen. We should have figured that out since he would have to go through customs immediately after reaching the gate.

These people have definitely looked happier.

The trip to Malpensa cost us 150€. This seemed like a rip-off to us, but it was our own fault for not establishing the price in the first place. This transaction brought Sue and me down to practically no remaining euros.

Tom had been unable to wipe the grin off of his face after winning the Palio delle Mura di Lucca.

I couldn’t help but wish that we could have stayed one more day in Milan. We might have been able to see Rick Steves, the roof of the Duomo, the end of the Giro D'Italia, and a free concert in the Piazza Del Duomo with Duran Duran and a lot of other people.

For the most part the time at the airport was boring. We just sat around until it was time to board. I tried to read my Italian book, but I did not have much success. The ladies spent the rest of their euros.

Last chance. Anyone for Como?

I made one major mistake. I left Sue’s pocket knife in my backpack, which I had to use as a carry-on. I could think of no choice but to let the people at security have it. All I could think of was that I had been confronted by security twice. If this was the paranoid TSA, my name would probably have been added to the suspected terrorist list, and my traveling life would be hell thereafter.

By some miracle I remembered to put the Alitalia blanket in my backpack. As soon as I was in my seat on the plane, I set it under the seat in front of me.

The plane ride home was relatively uneventful. We had by far the worst meal of the trip – lasagne (which bore little or no resemblance to anything that I would call lasagne), salad with salmon, dried out whitefish, and very old peas. Evidently the other choice – chicken – was a little better. A few hours later they handed out a kind of heated cheese calzone made by Buitoni. My mouth was already dry, so I waited for the beverage cart to come around in order to get some water to drink. By that time the calzone was cold and not very appetizing.

I must have slept for at least a couple of hours. I have no recollection of one of the movies, which starred Christopher Walken in which Kentucky Fried Chicken played a central role. After that they showed a movie in Italian. I decided to work on my journal rather than to watch it.

A few minutes before we landed the flight attendants handed out US forms for declaration of purchases. All of the forms were written in Italian. I filled mine out, and I helped Sue fill out hers. However, many people could not decipher them at all. The crew then found a few that were written in English, but they ran out before Patti could get one. She was quite upset about this.

We landed in Boston. We were actually a little early. We had to wait twenty minutes on the plane for what was described as “congestion” at the passport control and customs areas. I assumed that this was just paranoia about 9/11, but in fact once we got off it become evident that they were processing people pretty quickly. They must have really had a whole lot of people to process. Our plane was certainly full.

There was no harassment by Department of Agriculture officials as we had encountered in 2003.

Back in Connecticut.

It wasn’t summer when we left.

Unloading from the Carol-MoBile.


We found Tom’s sister Carol, and her husband Mo (short for Mohammed) shortly after we got our bags. The five of us piled into Carol’s car. There was not room enough for Carol; so she went back home by public transportation. Tom drove as far as the first rest stop on the Mass Pike, where we took a break for the bathroom and drinks. Then Mo drove the rest of the way to the Corcorans. As we told him about some of the things that we had seen and done, he said, “Next time I’m going,” and then “For sure, next time I’m there.”

“Next time I’m there.”

Sue narrates the picture show. I’m jealous of Patti’s photos.

The Corcorans used their wide screen digital TV to show some of Patti’s pictures. It can read them right off of the “stick” on which the camera records them. She unquestionably got some great shots. I was envious.

Then Sue and I drove back to Enfield in my Saturn, which had been parked in the Corcorans' driveway for two weeks. It started like a champ. We made the traditional stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken for some anti-Italian food.

This was Giacomo’s first time “home alone.” Chick made sure that he had food and affection.

On the way home both of us became very anxious to see our two cats, Woodrow and Giacomo. However, the first thing we saw as we approached the house was that the yard desperately needed cutting. Sue would have to get someone to do it because I was scheduled to leave on a business trip on Monday evening. Giacomo came out to greet us when we went in the house, but Woodrow was nowhere to be seen. I went down the basement looking for him. No sign of him. I even looked in the garage. I did not want to find him there, because if he were trapped in the garage, he would be dead.

A mouse-eye view of Woodrow, my best buddy for sixteen years.

Then I started to bring in the luggage. Woodrow came staggering out to see me. We have been buddies for sixteen years. He must have been sleeping under some bushes. He seemed fine. He even let me pick him up. I carried him in so that Sue could see that he was OK.

Disappointments:

  1. I wish that I had taken the time to learn how to use my camera better.
  2. I wish that we had gone to the Puccini concert instead of the Mozart concert in Lucca.
  3. I wish that I had asked Mario more about his life when I had the chance.

A pretty short list for somebody like me.

Report on my personal goals:

  1. All that I lost on the trip was the pocket knife. I don’t think that I even lost a comb or a pen. This was truly a miracle.
  2. I had quite a long conversation at supper in Montone with Mario. I had short but pleasant conversations with quite a few people. Bonnie Shannon tried to get me to talk in Italian with her, but I felt weird doing so.
  3. I found a CD by Roberto Murolo. I enjoyed listening to it.
  4. In Assisi I bought a very interesting book written in Italian. Reading it has given me a lot of insight into how Italy has come to be what it is.

Missions accomplished.