Journey home

25 home journey

I stopped off for two nights with my mom at the end of my Europe cruise. So in Nova Scotia, trying to catch up and relax, make plans and just generally spend time with her. I posed the question … If you had one day to spend with me for a year, how would you like to spend it? I know once we had spoken about a swim at Kingsport Beach. We did not do this. As I had already done that with my grandsons a little while back, that seemed sufficient for this trip. We decide to do errands and a bit of browsing, and generally just hang out together.

It was a perfect day. Not too hot, not too busy, never too much, just right combination of time together. We even did a little shopping for birthdays and Christmas as we love to do. We at e scallops and had a glass of white wine, and an early evening for sleep.

Up this morning 330 ish to finish packing. My suitcase had not survived my last flight, it was cracked and open to my clothes. So mom had another old suitcase and I repacked my stuff in that. Shower, dressed, gluten free toast with maple butter as a last minute treat from Nova Scotia.

My aunt Linda has a new sports car and she brought it this morning for me to drive to the airport. What a treat! I kept within the speed limit and enjoyed the ride.

I am waiting to board Westjet, remembering the last flight out here with grand babies and my daughter on the way to the wedding a few weeks ago. How sweet that memory and all that has happened since. I am grateful to have this blog journal so I can reflect, as well as some pictures to post.

I can’t seem to log on here at Halifax airport so I will do it when I get one or Calgary.

Till I see you again, safe travels, enjoy each day …. With love

Pamela

Miracle upgrade

24 Miracle

Stay with me – read on.

I said as I was a bit frustrated with Air Canada check in person ….” I really want a reason to like Air Canada.” We had been assigned a seat with no recline and no leg room … And told we have no choice. No gluten free …. Sorry they said. The woman also said we should check in with supervisor at the desk before boarding for any changes.

As usual, I am running around airport last minute searching for gluten free food to take on board. At Heathrow they do not announce the boarding gate until 45 minutes before so you just mill around and wait … Looking for a sign.

Finally we see it, gate 30 followed by a note that the flight is boarding and 20 minutes estimated time to walk to the gate. Argh. We use the moving walk ways and are rushing by the others. We go through one line up with our boarding passes and just about to go through the next one … I remember to ask the guy if there is a seat with leg room. He reaches over to his side and pulls up two new boarding passes with our names … They had been just sitting there … He says you have been upgraded to business class. I ask him to repeat because I don’t trust what I have heard. He laughs. He says it again. We get called to board early … We still don’t trust …. It all happened so fast. Was it a mistake? Hustled to the plane, we board, 7 k and f. Omg! Those seat that recline to a bed, like in the movie, the Holiday with Cameron Diaz. Yes, that is me. Sitting in a seat that I have only ever just walked by in my many flights. And this is Air Canada. And this is the long flight to Halifax. Omg!

The menu gets passed out to us. Are you kidding me? Headphones. I don’t even know what all is included as I have never ever even dreamed …. Oh my. The sweetest young attendant just came by with champagne and orange juice in separate glasses, and I say YES, he asks which … He gives me both. I take a picture. I taste the champagne and get Steve to take my picture on my iPad. Pinch me! Yes, this is really happening to me!

I believe in miracles. I believe in faith. I believe in travel. I believe in me. I feel like I just received a several thousand dollar raise. I would have dressed up if I had known…. However, I am so grateful I took the time this morning to ask for what I wanted. I also am grateful I had a shower! And changed clothes. I do have my favourite scarf bought in Greece at my mom’s encouragement. I feel luxurious and lucky and extra special. I want to giggle out loud. I want to be in the moment. I better read the menu, as they are taking orders for food. 🙂

Ordering a lovely meal, red wine, a Malbec. Also extra water. Watching a movie with my feet up (see picture) with cashews and almonds to nibble. Warm washcloths for freshening up and now cloth napkins arriving. About 7 options for how the seats are set for rest, sleep and for sitting up right. Diane Keaton in the movie. I love her style. I will grow old gracefully like her. Beautiful and thin. Always stylish and confident.

The bottomless red wine is so good, and warms me up. The service just keeps coming. Luxury is bottomless. It is lovely here in this life. I am so grateful. I may never pass this way again. I am fully enjoying this moment and this experience. Love is in the details.

There are eight rows of three across the plane. So twenty four. I recline because I can. I enjoy champagne, wine, Baileys, several cans of Perrier and still water in a real glass. I watch movie after movie, fluff. As in the words of the song, “I don’t want to close my eyes … I don’t want to fall asleep cause I would miss you and I don’t want to miss a thing!”

I am so happy, in love and excited everyday about my life, present and future.

Thanks for joining me.

Deliriously happy and grateful in my luxury,
Pamela
Xoxoxo

20130919-194001.jpg

Heathrow Airport

23 Heathrow Airport

Omg!

So we got a shuttle this morning from the lovely Sheraton Heathrow hotel to the terminal three at airport to begin our journey home. Crowds everywhere. Congestion and line ups and almost unable to move. This is a very busy airport during the day.

Stopped for coffee at Starbucks after we went through security. Venti decaf skinny caramel macchiato.

Breakfast at a pub dining area. When in London, bubble and squeak is the order of the day, with a lovely slice of ham and a fried egg on top. Lovely flavour.

The waiter reminded me of someone and then it occurred to me …. The voice of the pick up guy from the movie French Kiss who rips off Meg Ryan at the hotel as she is waiting to see her ex fiancé. Exactly the same voice …. So I keep expecting him to say the lines from the movie. I have seen it so many times. I laugh put loud despite myself. I tell Steve what I am thinking and he laughs reciting the lines of the movie in the mimic of the voice.

Steve and I plan for a Europe adventure for next time to include Russia and London in the spring. Not so hot for Steve …. No Greece or Italy next time probably. I will go back there one day though. I love the heat and the adventure. The beautiful exotic lands.

Good day to you all,

Love Pamela
Xoxoxo

Beautiful, wish you were here!

Rome to London

22 just about to land in London

Flying with British Airways from Rome to London and overnight in a great airport hotel to get some rest before the long flight direct London to Halifax.

We had a nice glass of white wine, and some water. As per usual I can’t eat the food but I am still pleasantly still satisfied with the gluten free pizza I got in Rome! Half with four cheese fromageo and half spicy salami with tomato sauce and cheese on a wondrous thin home made gluten free crust. I ate a full personal size in the restaurant and then got a second one to go and ate more of it in the limo car we hired to take us to the airport some hours later.

It was truly the most pleasant surprise. You may not know this but it is exceptional treat to get to eat what other people eat, at a quality, taste and texture that others enjoy. When in Rome, to eat pizza of such a quality is marvellous and I am so happy we found it. Barb and Anne had scouted around while Steve and I were in the Pantheon taking pictures and enjoying the site.

Anne and Barb were both such lovely travel companions. We met them day one as we were making our way from Nice, via train to Monte Carlo and then to the ship a week ago, on a Sunday, for our cruise embarkation. They are both wonderful, generous and very fun women. I am so glad we met. We enjoyed our time traveling with them daily, we ate supper together every night, met for drinks and went to shore daily as well. We played card games, euchre and contract rummy.

The plane is descending, we are over Salisbury plain where we cruised to on January with Cunard. I wish we had some time in London, however, one of the trips we take we will be happy to enjoy that adventure. This is a short twelve hours to get some rest and prepare for the next leg of our trip back to Canada.

What a wonderful vacation! I am so grateful and happy for the life I have and the people in it that I get to share adventures with.

Sincerely,

Pamela

Gelato in Rome

21 Gelato in Rome by Trevi fountain

It says Rome ! We tossed coins in the Trevi fountain, sealing our fate to return again one day. I enjoyed two scoops of authentic Italian gelato, one pineapple ananas and one meringue with pieces of white meringue adding the light crunchy texture. I feel so blessed to be here.

Earlier we took a shared transfer from ship direct to hotel Mozart close to Spanish steps. Barb and Anne will stay at this 4 star hotel in a convenient partof Rome for another three days and have offered to store our luggage in their room for the day. Very lovely, via del corso is a main street and right outside the door.

We find a place to get hop on hop off bus and climb up to the top. Like an oven in the downstairs. Like a blasting hot hair dryer on top but at least a breeze! We see the sights and I snap many pics using my trusty iPad. Great few hours seeing lots and enjoying not walking! 2000 year old Colusseum was awesome as usual and great to hear some of the story on the English recorded version through the bus ear buds.

We got off to walk around piazza nuovonna and although also hot, was a great sight to see. All the artists displaying their wares. Many must have gone home in the heat. Had to be over forty degrees and the black cobblestones reflected even more heat up back at the tourists. So many people wearing hats, in various kinds of outfits from white linens to jeans and scarves. What a great place to watch people.

We found Alfredo’s of Rome restaurant the original. it is the mother ship for the restaurant that we had been to in New York. World famous and had been host to so many famous people in its day. Pictures outside with autographs.

We keep moving. Down roads made of square black stones laid together in patterns. Trying always to walk on the shady side of the street. We stop for gelato. We have favourites after a week of partaking daily in the local fare. I have pineapple and meringue. Others have cherry amerara …. Very tasty. And refreshing and cold. Usually served in air conditioned stops.

As we walk we can feel the cool air from the shops we pass. We step in from time to time to cool off. I love Rome in the heat and walking down the historical roads. Thanks for the third opportunity. After another successful coin toss into Trevi fountain, I am certain I will be back.

Beautiful, wish you were here

Pam

Elba, last day of cruise

20 Elba, last full day of cruise

Tonight we will have to pack up so today there is still great adventures to be had. We are doing last minute laundry items in preparation for packing, and there are line ups for same.

We just pulled in to port and the fog from the sea has lifted to another beautiful sunny blue sky day. The port is lovely and no other ships dock here. Our ship is small enough to pull right in to port. I don’t know much about this island and I have never been before. It is picturesque with colourful buildings around the u shaped port. We won’t do a tour but will go ashore and explore for a few hours. This afternoon some time to enjoy the sun, and pool area, followed by packing up of the items that are dry from laundry day and then last night dinner meal and the show tonight. Bags out for 11 pm and off to Rome tomorrow. Later we decide to keep our bags and wheel them off in the morning making packing stress disappear. Also laundry has more time to hang dry around the room.

Our friends have arranged a private shuttle to their hotel in Rome and invited us to share it including costs. It will be a great way to get to Rome, store our luggage in their hotel for the day, then maybe do a hop on hop off bus to see the sights in a more leisurely fashion. I want to toss coins in to Trevi fountain and then spend some time on Spanish steps before heading to the airport.

I am enjoying this quiet time in the laundry to catch up a bit on this blog. When traveling with others it can be challenging to keep up with personal routines involving blogging and personal writing. I have kept up a bit of posting of pictures on my Facebook.

Beautiful, wish you were here,

Pamela

Livorno to Lucca

19 Livorno to Lucca

We are still docked in Livorno today, having overnighted last night and today heading back out to the trains. We already purchased our tickets and this is a place I have not been to before so exciting. Train travel from Livorno through Pisa to Lucca.

Up for breakfast in buffet with Barb and Anne and we are on our way. Again a taxi to the train station as it is quite far. We did it yesterday and it seemed good to share the expenses.

Sky is beautiful blue. The sea reflects the color and calm. The sun is sparkling off the water and brings promise of another forty degree day Celsius. It has been hot here. Evenings on the water cool down a bit, day time is hot hot hot.

We make frequent stops for beverages, bit of food, gelato, water and use of toilettes.

Fields of sunflowers and lavender out our train window as we head to Lucca. There is a Pam grocery store, and Pam is on many sewer covers in Europe. Hmmmm

The farming lush Tuscany valley is so beautiful. Some stone walled areas, like maybe once for protection like fortress? San Giuliano Terme statione is where we are while I am typing this note.

Next Rigoli station. Corn, wheat, and other crops can be seen. Dressed in white again to keep a comfortable as possible in the heat.

Ripafratta another statione. I love Italian words and accent although a bit more aggressive sounding when spoken quickly. Most accents delight me. When people speak English with a strong accent, I enjoy the sounds.

Red tile roofs sloping and glowing in the sun catch my eye. Buildings new and old seem to be in the same style and color type. Nicer apartment buildings as we near Lucca, more modern and some quite new but with the old country style.

Lucca is a wonderful old walled city and I took many pictures. We found another gluten free pizza place so I had one. It was great to be able to participate in Italian cuisine! Had some Chianti and bubbly water. We walked lots and shopped a little. Took train return to Livorno.

Back on ship for some pool time and then out for drinks and dinner with some travel agent friends. Breathtaking sunset over the sea, peaches and orange. The service was outstanding at dinner. Tomorrow night lobster again, twice on this 7 day cruise.

Good night all,

Love Pam