In my final week in Italy, we were fortunate to share the company of my sister, T. It had been suggested that I might need some help bringing home over 200 pounds of luggage, eighty pounds of dog, and almost six months worth of baby. And she had graciously volunteered for job… a vacation in Italy that would wrap up with escorting Dylan, Baby R, and I back to the US. Her only condition was that she be provided unlimited opportunities to drink wine and eat pizza while there. Not a lot to ask considering I was living the land of wine and pizza.
We started her brief visit with an overnight trip East of the Milan airport. We first stopped in Sirmione, the southernmost town on Lake Garda that is over an hour away by car from the spot on the lake where I’d been in November. It was a foggy day, and because we were so far out of tourist season, the place was nearly deserted. This combination made for an eerily picturesque backdrop to our afternoon of walking along the lake, exploring the castle, and ‘getting lost’ in the town. We found a hot spring along the shore, and had lunch in a bustling little restaurant in a piazza overlooking the castle.
From the lakeside resort, we headed to Verona. Despite having been there before, the sights were just as lovely the second time around. I love ancient Roman ampitheater, the well-preserved collosseum, and the cobblestone walking streets leading through Piazza del Erbe and past some of the best shopping I’ve seen in Italian cities. Though we didn’t feast on pizza for our first meal, we did share a meal of delicious homemade pasta at an adorable family restaurant near our hotel.
For the remainder of T’s vacation and my own season abroad, we spent time enjoying the simple pleasures of the little Valpe region with the rest of my little family. Apperitivi, pizza, farewell meals with my friends from the last two seasons, and a hike in Angrogna that Kevin and I had found previously and loved for it’s panoramic views of the region’s mountains. And then, just as quickly as T had come, and what felt like days after I’d arrived five months before, it was time to go...
Even a week removed from the chaos of international flight, it’s still difficult to grasp how a nine hour plane ride can bring you, not only back in time, but also into what feels like a world away from where you’ve been. There I was, a wide-eyed American in a small Italian village with a small group of new friends and my own little family of husband and dog. And now, here I am, in my childhood home surrounded by friends and family with Kevin a Skype-date away. Just like that.