Saturday, July 5, 2014

watching the water...

Its back home...a day of relaxation. Sleeping in. Watching the water go by. Slots tournament. Watching the water go by. Shopping onboard. Watching the water go by.  Gambling. Watching the water go by......good bye hot humid weather and back to the not so hot humid weather. I will miss the aqua color water and the sandy beaches...until next time.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Grand Bahama Island

Early Day and a short day to boot. Todays excursion was to the Garden of Groves. It was beautiful with 4 waterfalls, a labrynth, lots of ponds and beautiful birds and vegetation. We learned about a healing plant/tree, Neem. In fact I bought some insect repellant, tea and a variety of sample products. Bahamians use lots of plants for healing and special purposes. That was a theme on all 3 islands.

I always buy one piece of small art where ever I go. So I bought a piece of art from a local artist. He was selling his matted prints so cheap. I gave him more money than he wanted for it. He said he sold them cheap because he needed to do that to sell them. But I argued that paying for the print, matting it and packaging doesnt  leave him much profit. He was so talented and kind. I hope he sells out all his art.

Our bus driver and tour guide Al was a hoot. I enjoyed his jokes. We had a really nasty lady on the trip. She kept saying he should tell us all this crap so many times. Later when we were at the Garden, a young Asian woman was translating for her mother. The nasty lady told her to be quiet. I wanted to jump over the seat and strangle her. Later I offered to take a photo of the Asian family and I apologized for that womans rudeness. I was so embarrassed about her behavior.

On the way back we went to the Port Lacaya shopping center. We only had a hour so we didn't shop. We decided to eat lunch instead.

Now back to the ship for shopping and dinner at the Steak House with the group from the club.

Half Moon Cay

We took the most awesome eco tour today.  It was in the lagoon by boat. The tour guide was very knowledgeable. Glenn agreed that it was one of the best we have been on.  Stupid me brought one ticket fortoday and one for tomorrow. Fortunately it was on an island that belongs to the cruise lines so they were able to print a duplicate.

After the tour we were dropped off to the island barbecue pavilions. The food was very good. There were roosters and chickens running all over begging for hand outs. At one point Glenn was going to get something to drink and I was eating. All of a sudden I hear people hollaring. A rooster had jumped on the seat of the picnic table and was about to eat Glenns lunch.  After lunch we headed back to the boat. Tomorrow Grand Bahama Island.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grand Turk

Happy Birthday to me.  Up early and off the ship for our excursion. We were taken around the island via an open bus.  Grank Turk is one of 30 islands and cays. It is not the largest nor the most populated but it is the Capital so there are lots of government agencies there.

During our tour, we saw a replica of Friendship 7,  the capsule John Glenn landed in only 10 miles off the island. We visited the lighthouse and went off road to a beach where they had submerged a kayak and used it for a touch tank for anemones, conch, sand dollars and other aquatic life. The attendant demonstrated how to open a conch and sliced the poor thing up for an afternoon snack. Glenn ate some but I like my food dead and cooked so I passed. I just went off taking photos.

Wild donkeys were everywhere looking for a scratch and handout.

Back in the vehicle, we drove by their "hospital" and I thank God for my blessings. We stopped by a little shopping area. Most of the houses were nice some were obviously destroyed by hurricanes. They use the same numbering system our government uses when the search houses after hurricanes and they so spray paint them on the exterior walls. It made me sad to see a death count.

I counted 4 Catholic. 2 Angelican Episcopol and one 7th Day Adventist. And besides 2 elentary schools there was a high school and a community college. The CC had been a US Government NOAA facility.  We stopped at a little local market place. I didn't buy anything.

Then we were returned to the cruise center at the dock where I bought a necklace, earring, bracelet and we ate lunch at Margaritaville.

When we returned to the ship I found a wonderful birthday cake sent to me by Charmaine and Klem. What a nice surprise.

Day 3

Another wonderful day at sea...moving along to our islands and enjoying it. I spent most of the day reading and just relaxing. We did go to bingo and I was just one number away. Oh well.

We.went to a couple of sales but I only bought a new Nook holder.

In the evening we watched a show and tonight we decided just to eat in the Mermaid Grille instead of sit down dinner. Off to bed early because tomorrow is an island day and I need to get up early.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Day Two ...Day at Sea

Cruise Days...I love them. I got up early, grabbed a cup of coffee and my camera and off I went. It is so nice early on the ship when everyone is still in their cabins. I get to take those artsy fartsy photos with no people in the way.

Later I just sat on the top deck reading my book and watching the water go by. I love that part of the cruise...just watching the water. Later me and the DH went to play bingo. Not even close to a win but it was fun just the same.

Got to see some dolphins off the starboard side of the ship. I wasn't fast enough with the camera

At dinner we sat with 3 other couples from the club who were good friends with my parents. I knew Mom and Dad were there when the dining staff sang Dean Martin's That's Amore (one of Dads favorite songs and singers).  It was fun. They are fun people.

Oh I forgot to mention. When I arrived my roomwas decorated n Birthday decorations. At first I thought the cruise line did it but I found a gift slip. It was from my friends Charmaine and Klem. Nice surprise.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day One Ship Ahoy

It was nice today seeing the couples from the club who are on the cruise. We spent sometime on the top deck going under the Bay Bridge. When we got to our room it was decorated for my birthday!

I enjoyed sitting on my balcony cruising down the bay. I have been a little disappointed in this trip so far. First off the decor is depressing. There are kids every where yet the ship has lots of classic art with lots of nudity. In fact in one of the lounges that you walk through to get to places there is a large paint of a nude woman "pleasuring herself".   I just feel its very inappropriate.

Then while at the casino I find you have to put your room key in the machine to get a credit for payout. I don't know about you but many times I have left my player card accidently in a machine. I worry someone will find my key that has my credit card associated with it and buy diamonds or booze, so sadly I will not be gambling.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

One More Day

Then it is ship ahoy for me. I am headed off to the Eastern Carribean. My 6th cruise, it's been 7 yrs since my last one. Right after my last one Dad had a brain bleed. Then I was too afraid to be away from him. Dad passed away a year ago. And mom passed away a year and a half ago. now it's time for me to get back to my life and my traveling. Stay tuned for my cruise adventure. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 4 Cousin Catch Up

Never a dull moment for me and Annie. By 9 am Annie got stung twice by a scorpion, I nearly stepped on a 5 ft rat snake and I found a dead chicken in the coop.
But the day got better when we went out to pull up our crab pots. We got a nice catch. Mike steamed them Maryland style. Our dinner was steamed crabs, clams and fish all caught by us.
 Tomorrow I leave I'm going to miss Cedar Key and my cousins.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day Three Cousin Catch Up

Morning was sent hanging out and chatting. After lunch we hopped in the truck to go into town to shop.
I got all my gifts to take home then we rode around the islands just checking out the sights.

Of course I had to take photos of doors because that's just what I do. 
We visited a cemetery. So cool and old with the moss it was pretty spooky.
 After that we swung by to pick up Mike, a pizza and headed over to Mike's Uncles house. A great day. Tomorrow we clam.

Day 2 Cousin Catch Up

I forgot the blog yesterday. So here's my yesterday blog.  Well another day of cousin catch up. 

In the morning, I got up at the crack of dawn went out to the chickens and found a chick running around. Mike went in and retrieved it and found another one. Each day we have to be on the look out for the little ones so that the rooster doesn't kill them. The Mike put them in a little growing pen.

Aside from as usual talking til the Sun comes up mode. We also went out to catch our dinner. Yes you read right...caught dinner. We went out on the clam boat to various locations to set some crab traps that we will pull on Friday.  Mike caught mullet which we had for dinner. Now in some areas mullet is bait fish but evidently in this part of the Gulf because it's a conditions it is suitable for eating. Mike grilled fish and they were awesome.

Later in the day, Gina stopped  by. It was nice to see her aside from Facebook where I usual find her.    
...and of course we talked all night long, so that's why I forgot the blog so hopefully at the end of the day today I will do another one.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day One Cousin Catch Up

Well I made it. Finally at my cousin Annie's. Mike her husband pulled out some fresh clams which were in no time cooked up into spaghetti with clams. Yum. It was fun going out to the garden to pick fresh herbs.

Sorry I didn't get a photo of the finished product but I was famished and couldn't wait to gobble them up. We spent the evening catching up on memories even singing " say, say playmate together" the song I taught her when we were little. Its late good night. ..more Adventures of Annie and Joanna tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2014

On the Road again.....One More Day...

...and I go to visit my cousin Annie, known to her friends as Anna but she'll always be Annie to me.
Here's a photo of Annie and I when we were kids and one with us last year. We haven't changed much, we are just xxxx years older, she's now taller even though she's younger, we both wear glasses... We were thick as thieves. In my heart, she was the sister I always wanted to have. You would never know we are cousins by looking at us. Yes I am 1/2 Italian but I got Mom's color genes so I always stuck out in the crowd at my Yori family get togethers. I used to pray to God to make me look more like my Italian cousins but I never got the tan. LOL

 Last year I went to visit her in Cedar Key, Florida with my Dad. It was his last plane ride anywhere. I just happened to have 2 free airline tickets courtesy of Delta SkyMiles (thank you Delta). I'm so glad I took him here. He had a blast.  Annie, cousin extraordinaire wears many hats, singer, song writer, children's book writer and Clammer. Yep you read right. She's a clammer. The only woman waterman there is down in Cedar Key. Some call her Clamourous!

Well Dad was in 7th Heaven because he could eat all the clams he wanted and believe me he could put away some clams and Annie and Mike (her husband) kept them coming.

Mike showed Dad around their operations, explaining to him how they seed the beds with clams and later drag up the bags to harvest them.

Dad was fascinated.  He really wanted to get on that vessel and have a hand it in but it was blowing pretty hard that day so Dad couldn't go. But Annie, God bless her sent text messages with little videos of them on the boat and the harvest so Dad could feel like he was right there.

A few month's later my Dad passed away, June 20, 2013 just a few days after Father's Day.  And now I am making this journey by myself on Tuesday but I know in my heart Dad will be with me again on this trip. And this time, I'm planning to go on that clam boat blowing or not and I'm taking Dad along with me in spirit as an extra hand.

Here's a link to Annie's Facebook Music Page:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Back to the Eternal City

Ciao Fiuggi. A piece of my heart remains. But life moves on and I need to make my way back to my family and fur baby.

But before I go back I had one more day in Rome. After checking in to Nerva Accomodation, we hurried over to the Vatican for our guided tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The guide we had this time was much better than the one we had in 2008.  I really enjoyed her. Jay had never been to either place so it was good that I managed to get the tour in spite of the millions of people here.

We got to see lot more than the last time but I still have not seen the whole thing. I would have to spend days.

Afterwards we tried to get in St Peters but the line was  long so we hoped a taxi back to Nervo.  Then Jackie and I went for gelati and shopping. On our journey we stopped by St Mary Major and I stopped to pray at the reliquary of the wood of the Holy Crib of Christ for my prayer list intentions. Then we stopped in the church store for a few things.

Now its back to our rooms until we leave tomorrow.

What a week. It has been an incredible journey for my soul and for my roots...I won't say goodbye because I will return one day. Rome and Fiuggi will always be a part of me and I of them .  Thanks for coming on this journey with me.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

welcome home Fiuggina

Woke up early and went to breakfast...Which I might add  was wonderful. Then we went to Terme to  catch the bus to Fiuggi Citta (old Fiuggi) . When we arrived there was a large sign in the Plaza that said Benvenuti a Fuiggi. (Welcome to Fiuggi) . We walked up the spiral staircase and we were transported in time to the Middle Ages.

It was amazing. It was like nothing had changed for hundreds of years!   Many of the streets were so tiny and were essentially just steps. You could never ride a horse and cart much less a car down them. They were very steep too...quite a tight and butt workout.

We found grandmoms street almost right away. But we couldn't find house number 12. It was as if all the even numbers were gone. Grandpop's street was more difficult. We had to ask directions from a man who ran a restaurant who also didn't speak English. We managed to convey we were looking for my grandparents streets. He asked who and I told him. He didn't know Grandmom' s family but knew Grandpop's and pointed out where it was on a map he gave us. He also showed us where some Ioris lived. We found it. Then off to the church they were married in~S. Pietro. It was opened so we went in took photos and I prayed for the people on my prayer list.  The man at the restaurant was so nice we went back there for lunch. It was awesome.

We spent about 5 hours in old town then hopped the bus back to Fiuggi Fonte. When we got back that sleepy quiet town was hopping. There were lots of people. They closed the street and all the shops were open now and there were street performers. I went in a souvenir shop and there was a lady who spoke no English but I managed with my little bit of Italian to get across that my grandparents were from Fiuggi.  She knew the Pannoni's but not the Iori's. We talked a while about them, then she said I was a Fiuggina at heart like her and she hugged me..I was honored. Then as quickly as all the people appeared they were gone and the street was quiet again.  Today I walked 6 miles...tomorrow back to Rome.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

searching for our roots

Today we wrapped up our time in Rome. My genealogist Anne had arranged  taxi service to Fiuggi. it was quite interesting because  Marco spoke very little English. However I managed to communicate with him.

It only took us one and a half hours to get to Fiuggi. .The hotel is amazing it is so beautiful. It is a five star hotel Spa conference center.

After checking in my room I sat down to have a good cry...happy and sad tears. Happy that I'm here. Its been a life long dream of mine as I worked with the family history. I have for years been looking at old postcards from family here. I feel like I already know this town and the people here. Sad tears because for years Dad longed to come. It was his dream too and he never made it.

 Jackie and I decided to walk around the new part of town. The new part consists of an area that was developed in the 40's and 50's. We found some interesting places. A number of them were closed ...this may be off season.

We found the hotel IGEA, a hotel our family was involved in.

While we were walking around we ran into to 2  Polish ladies. they spoke maybe a total of 7 words in English. They were looking for pizza. But we managed to have a full conversation with them. I found out one has been in New York. But they both live near Warsaw. They understood that my grandparents were from Poland. But they were very confused as to why my mother did not teach me polish. With the help of my telephone translator I managed to tell them my mom didn't teach me so she could talk to her sisters privately. They thought that was pretty funny. And they said she was smart. Or at least that's what the  sign language looked like...It was 2 thumbs up. I helped them find pizza and they hugged us when they left as if we were family.

Then we decided  we would go get some dinner. We went into this nice restaurant. The lady seem to think that we were Italian or that we understood Italian. Now between us we have had just a couple classes of the Italian  and we have had many years of Spanish so we were able to decipher the language pretty well. And we were watching their big screen TV and discussing what was going on. It was quite comical to hear her chatter at us and we just nod and smile.

Now it is back to our rooms. We will be going to old town Fiuggi in the morning to visit the streets my grandparents were born on and the church they were married in. I will walk the streets that for years I have walked only in my mind.

There is something going on in the streets..people chanting and whistling. Lots of people are walking down there...wish I knew what was going on.  Too tired to go down there...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

9 miles

Today was another 9 miler. First we took the metro to the Colloseum. It was incredible. In spite of the large numbers of people there, it was mostly quiet as everyone was very reverant. What an impact it makes to be in the place where so many died. There was a large cross erected in 1860 by the Pope at that time as a monument to the dead. The present day Popes start Good Friday Stations of the Cross there. I spent time in. Prayer asking the Marytrs for their interssionary prayers for my friends and family's special prayer requests.

Then we went to the Roman Forum and Palentine Hills. Another incredible site with beautiful views and interesting facts. We saw the place where Julius Ceaser's body was burned after his death. People had thrown coins there...render unto Ceaser what is when in Rome....I tossed in a 2 euro coin. That place is huge and filled with a stadium, villas and palaces and even a 2000 yr old mall. Who knew.

Leaving there we went passed the church of St Peter and Paul. It is on the site where they were imprisoned and youcould see the door to the cell but it was Tuesday so it was closed. But I stopped there again to pray for the prayer requests.

It was dinner time but we wanted to see the "wedding cake". We got there too late and they were closing so we got a few photos of the monument and went to dinner at a litte café with tables on the street and I do mean on the street. Everyone we've eaten at so far is on the street with cars wizzing by you.

Then we decided to try to find the place where we got the awesome homemade gelati near Piazza Popolo. On the way down we stopped in two churches along the way since Jackie and I are a bit of church groupies. We walked around stopped to pray for our prayer lists and then down to Popolo. We ate our gelati and then tried to get in St Maria de Popola but it was closed so we walked back to the apartment......according to Jackies pedometer we walked 9 miles!  Tomorrow is Fiuggi...I'm taking grandpop, grandmom and the Yori family home.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Food, fun and faith...

The day started with morning Mass at St. Peters. We didn't know it but they were having a special polish mass.  We found ourselves in the middle of thousands of people singing Polish hymns.  It was quite beautiful.

Most of the mass I could not understand but a Polish woman would translate for us. During Mass the Polish woman pointed out 2 birds circling the dome of St Peter's. She said in broken English...St John Paul II and St John XX III they come to be with us. I got goosebumps.

Then we went back to the pantheon where we were able to go inside. It was an absolutely beautiful church.

Along the way we stopped in to a pizza shop because I was hungry.  I bought some potato pizza from young man he told me he was not an Italian. He asked me if I could guess where he was from. He looked to be from the Middle East. So I said from the Middle East. He said yes where? I said now don't be insulted if I get it wrong because I know you all don't get along over there. And he laughed and said he wouldn't. Then I guessed Egyptian.  He was shocked that I got it right. I made a new friend.

Leaving the pantheon we stopped for a special treat Genitini ...or something like that.  Basically it
 was espresso in  ice form with whipped cream top and bottom. It was strong but very good.

We stumbled on a church with the remains of St Catherine of Siena. Her coffin was marble in her image. We were able to walk into the glass altar and kneel and pray. I had gotten a prayer card that I held to the coffin, making it a third class relic. I spent that time praying for every one on my prayer list. We were very lucky because they were getting ready to close the church. We were one of the last ones permitted in the coffin area.

After a quick dinner of panini, we went to another large square, where there were artists. I bought a watercolor of the Vatican painted by a young Iranian woman who was living there studying language.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

2 more saints in heaven

My alarm clock went off at 530. I went back to sleep. I was beat from that ten mile walk.

 We finally got out the door and  followed a bunch of monks down the hill and around Peter's Square. However they weren't letting anyone but those monks and others like them in. We followed the crowd trying another path. We ended up on a side street but could see a big screen. I believe all of Poland was there and most of Europe. There were flags waving everywhere and groups of the faithful praying and singing.  Millions of us were packed in like sardines. Happy sardines.

We found a cafe for a quick breakfast. People were coming in to use the bathroom and the proprietor was chasing them out because as he said in broken English" we have to work". I ordered my cappuccino and crossiant. He waved me to the coffee bar, Madame....he meant business. I am not sure what they were all talking about but I did recognize it when the young boy said Momma Mia . I had to laugh because it made me think about my grandmother  Beatrice   who always said Momma Mia. At that moment I knew she was with us..

The Italian man next to me was alone and spoke very little English. It was funny he kept talking to me and I with my limited Italian got the gist of it. He seemed to understand more than he spoke.

At one point he thought I was French. Now this is funny because before I left, I went to all these web  pages about what to wear and what not to wear when you go to Europe. I didn't want to stand out and scream American. So I guess it worked. Later on, another Italian man in a shop spoke French to me when I paid him....all the French I know is wee. ..not sure how to spell that.

Mass was very long and  was in Italian. When they spoke Italian for the Mass responses, I just did mine in English. I got a few strange looks. When I did the sign of peace in English I think some of them were confused.  I prayed for the intentions on my 2 page prayer list. The sky looked ominous but the rain held off.

The highlight of Mass was when the 2 reliquaries were brought out with the relics of the two popes the crowd went wild. It was so moving. You could feel the love for these two holy men.

Saint John Paul II and St John XXIII pray for us.

benvento a Roma

It was long grueling trip. I sat next to a really nice young woman from Stuebenville University who made it go faster.

 After settling in our apartment we walked 10 miles.  We went to Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and visited one of the dopple ganger twin Churches.  Inside the church was a vigil. It was in Italian. Many of the people were standing and singing, holding hands and even dancing in circles at one point. They were in front of the altar on which stood a Monstrance. It was very moving. It brought me to tears. Even though I didn't understand the language, I understood the love for God. I prayed for the intentions on my 2 page prayer list.

When we got to the Trevi Fountain it was packed..I tossed in a coin for me. And recalling in my mind the entire Iori Family including those who passed like my grandparents and Dad , I tossed another coin in.

We ate dinner at  Taverno Lino. I had a wonderful plate of Alle Vongole and tiramasu for dessert.  When we got home we were beat. Lights out.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Today is the DAY!

Shortly I will be leaving for the airport. First we fly from BWI to JFK in New York and then off to Rome. This is so exciting. Between the canonization of Pope John Paul II and the trip to  Fiuggi, the town in Italy where my grandparents were born, I'm just floating on a cloud!

Say a little prayer for our safety and look out for more blogs to come as I blog my way through Italy and my heritage! Hugs!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

One More Day

Well tomorrow is the day. I'm not going to get much sleep tonight!!!! We leave from Baltimore and go to NY City and then off to Rome! It's a night flight but because it's not a direct flight there is a long layover in NY City. But that's okay.

When it is time to go to Fiuggi, my genealogist hooked me up with a cab driver in Sora. It's going to be a long day for him driving from Sora to Rome to Fiuggi! The drive to Fiuggi from Rome is a little over an hour. I hope that when we drive up I see this view of the city. I'd like to get a comparison photo.

As I was going through the post cards I saw this one of the lake. I don't remember reading about a lake and I was sort of surprised.  So being the Google Queen, I googled it.

According to an Italian website:  "Lazio’s largest karst lake, Lake Canterno, can be found in the heart of the Ciociaria area, at just a short distance from the town of Alatri, at the foot of the Ernici mountains, set in an isolated hollow encircled by oak trees and woods.
Situated at a height of 538 metres, it is surrounded by gentle, hilly countryside and protected by the Lake Canterno Nature Reserve. It occupies a surface area of 0.6 m2, has a perimeter of approximately 5 km and its depth ranges from 13 to 25 metres. The lake is approximately 2 km long and 1 km wide."

When I read this I thought hummm, Alatri. I have heard of that town. According to my genealogist, Ann Tatangelo, Giuseppi Iori (my 3rd Great Grandfather) came from Alatri to Fiuggi in the 1700s. I can't wait until Ann gets back to our family tree.....I would love to know what the Iori family (then known as Iorio) were doing during that time.

That was a time in history called the Enlightenment when Italy was under the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. This was the time when Napoleon Buonaparte was doing his thing in France and bringing the Renaissance to Italy . The Trevi Fountain was finished after 30 years in 1762. And Johann Sebastian Bach was making beautiful music. Exciting times....I can only imagine what my family was doing during this period of history.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Still Counting

TWO days and counting. It won't be long and the Pope that had been such a large part of my life, Pope John Paul II will be made a Saint. Was there ever any doubt he would be a Saint? Not for me. I am so delighted that I will be there to witness the canonization. It is something I have never been a part of and something I've always wanted to do. 

I was going through old photos, etc. last night and I found these old postcards. My Dad kept them for years. When Grandmom died they were going to throw these away and Dad said he would take them. Glad he did. Now they are safe forever or at least until I die. Many of them have messages from our family in Fiuggi from both the Iori and Pannone sides.  The hotel pictured is one that was owned by the Pannone family. There are pictures of people who also worked there with their hotel uniforms. I hope to find this hotel.

 I have always liked this postcard. It's of the fountain in the old part of town. I hope to find this fountain too.

The street pictured is typical of the streets in the old part of town. The two streets I am looking for (ones that  my grandparents were born and lived) look like this. My genealogist in Italy took photos of those streets for me. I want to find them and this one in particular.

I hope they still look like this so I can take photos for later paintings.

For those of you who never heard of Fiuggi, it's a mountain town noted for it's mineral water. Way back in time, even the early Popes would go there to drink & bathe in the water. It is said that the water is healing and helps break up kidney stones.

The hotel we are staying in is a newer one...resort spa conference center. I'm hoping it's not too far from "Old Fiuggi"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Count Down

THREE days and counting. So the last time I took this photo  with me
 The photo is of my grandparents Giovanni and Beatrice Iori (Nee Pannone) and Zio Nazzareno Pannone .

The reason I did that was because my Dad told me that his Dad (Giovanni) would cry every time he heard the song Arriverderci Roma because he was home sick.  So I decided maybe I couldn't take them back physically but I could in spirit. So in 2008 they went to Rome and Assisi.  I took pictures of them all over both towns and even threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain for their return (I guess it worked huh?)   This year I am going to Rome and Fiuggi, the town they were born. 

Taken the day of my parents wedding
I'm also going to take this photo. My Dad (2nd in from the right) always wanted to go to Fiuggi. I wanted him to go with us in 2008 but my Mom didn't want to go and wouldn't let him go. I remember how he teared up as he fought back tears. He said, "I should have gone with Fausto. He always asked me and I never went."  

Well Dad now, I'm taking you and your brothers and Aunt Nat (and Aunt Phyl not pictured here) all back in spirit. I love all of you and I hope you all enjoy your trip with us. For Uncle Vito the first
one from the left, it will be back to the town he was born. Since he is in the photo, I am also taking my cousin Sonny (the little kid in the middle). He wasn't Italian (he's Polish on Mom's side) and he's also in heaven with Dad but I figured Sonny might enjoy the trip anyway. Maybe one day, Sonny, I'll take you to Plock, Poland where our grandparents on that side were from.

In the meantime I'm really excited about going to Fiuggi (not that I'm not excited about the canonziation of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII). 

 I cannot wait to walk the streets where my grandparents were born and to visit the church where they were married. It's been a lifetime dream for me as I have worked on my genealogy over the years. My dream come true in 3 days and counting......
come with me on this journey as I blog along the way. Love you all.....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Best Laid Plans!

It has been fun. I put a weather app on my phone and added the weather of Rome and Fiuggi along with my location (Pasadena, MD). Every now and then I check on it. For a while the weather in Rome was always 5 degrees cooler and Fiuggi 10 degrees cooler (it is in the mountains) than here.

Today I checked it out. It is 41 degrees here 62 in Rome and 52 in Fiuggi. It looks like the forecast for this weekend is in the 60's here, in the 70's in Rome and in the 60's in Fiuggi.

 I thought I had this all figured out so I would know exactly what to pack.

It's the "best laid plans of mice and men" as they would say.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Suitcase is packed!

It's 10 days away and my suitcase is packed....I've been watching the weather in Rome and Fiuggi. Rome has typically been 5 degrees cooler than here and Fiuggi has been 10 degrees cooler.

The challenge is packing light because I am a clothes horse when it comes to packing. Well you know I might decide I don't want to wear that particular outfit or it might get cold or warm or whatever. I always have an excuse and end up with 2 outfits per day. But I have restricted myself to 1 outfit per day that's it. So if it's cold or hot well I guess I'll have to deal with it.

I remember the last time I was in Italy that everyone was dressed up. Even if they had jeans on, everything else on them was dressy so I'm leaving home blue jeans and tennis shoes. I hope I don't regret leaving those tennis shoes home since Fiuggi is on a mountaintop!

Googled what not to wear in Italy. I had no idea that Purple was insulting and bad luck. I had to go remove an item out of the suitcase.

I was thinking today that I'm so glad I didn't buy purple luggage. Recently my husband and I bought new luggage and I said to him we should purchase something other than black because every time we fly and try to find our luggage it blends in with everyone elses. So this time I bought a dark teal luggage but we almost bought purple....I would have been tossed out of the Rome airport! LOL

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Say Hi to Marco

So my genealogist who lives in Sora, Italy has arranged for the town's only taxi driver to pick us up in Rome and take us to Fiuggi and then then back a few days later. Ann sent me a photo of Marco so I will recognize him when he picks us up.  Marco doesn't speak much English...this should be interesting. I downloaded a translator app on my phone so I can talk into it and it can translate and speak back Italian.  I'm hoping we'll end up where we want to be! LOL

 I wonder if I should send her a photo of us?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Resurrecting the Travel Blog

Mom and Dad
So I haven't had a major trip/adventure since 2008. Right after my trip to Italy and cruise my father had a brain bleed. After that, I was terrified to go too far from home. Well a lot has happened since that time. My Mother passed away in December 2012...three days after Christmas. We buried her right after New Years 2013. Then Dad passed away June 2013.

 I find myself having the time to travel again. I have really missed travelling. Glenn and I had been going on cruises every other year until Dad's health issues. This year we will also be going on our first cruise in 6 years!

Me and Jackie at the Vatican in 2008
 But before that cruise in June, Jackie (My daughter), her husband Jay and I are travelling to Rome again.  Today marks 1 month before we leave.

This time it's on our own to the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. We are
also going to take a couple of days to visit Fiuggi where my grandparents were born & married. I'm so excited about that.

The last Rome trip  we went on a Pilgrimmage with "The God Squad" and members of my church and 2 other churches in the Archidiocese. We had a free day and we wanted to Fiuggi but Father Brian insisted we stay with the group. In retrospect it was probably a good thing because in the meantime I hired a genealogist who was able to tell me the streets my grandparents were born on and the church they were baptized and married in. So it will be more meaningful for me.

The God Squad, Frs. Stephen, DeAscanis and Fr. Brian
I'm so excited but a little nervous too. The last time we were with a tour group and everything was so easy. This time we are on our own with millions of people there for the canonization....yikes. I picked a crazy time to go but I so loved Pope John Paul II that I can't imagine not going if I have the means to do it. Well anyway, watch this space as we get closer to April 25th .

In the meantime, if you'd like to look at our photos from the last trip visit: