DAYS 43 and 44

I am back!

In lovely humid rainy Key West!

Truly, there is no place like home. My pillow and mattress. My bathroom. My comfort and comfort factor.

There is a movie called Independence Day. One of the Quaide brothers is in it. The crazy one. I think Randy. At the end of the movie, Quaide opts to fly his plane into a huge war vessel from outer space. One that has been destroying earth. He knows there is a nuclear bomb stuck in an opening to the air vessel. As he aims his plane for it in order to destroy the enemy and of necessity himself, he shouts with a smile on his face…..I’m back! That is how I feel.

Good does not accurately describe the trip. It was trerrific! Two months in three foreign countries. What could be better!

This is a two day blog. Sunday, my last full day in Novara. Monday, my trip home.

I tried to do the blog yesterday in Atlanta between planes. Too tried. No way could I do it.

Sunday was full of last minute details.

Terrific lunch! A fresh fish. Broiled whole. A bit of oil.

Shopped. For Robert and Ally. Found a lovely white shift dress for Ally. It matches the one I bought for Lisa in Athens. Found a great bathing suit for Robert. I never bought anything for Corey or Cameron. Saw nothing that turned me on. They will get my best wishes and an apology.

I spent a portion of Sunday afternoon reading a couple of English newspapers. British. Hard to come by. I love reading and missed it a lot on the trip. Not enough English material available.

Then a Sunday afternoon nap. Followed by packing. Always a pain.

I was surprised that my bags were less full than when I left. I could not have become such a great packer in such a short time. This morning I received an e mail. I left a lot of stuff in the apartment in Novara.

Some observations I would like to share with you. Some previously mentioned. However, worth mentioning again.

When I was preparing to leave for the trip, many people told me to be careful. Europpeans did not like Americans. I did not know what to expect.

They were all wrong. One hundred per cent. The Greeks and Italians I met all loved me and Americans. They want to know more about us. They want to live here. Two asked me to take them with me when I returned. They were serious. This is the land of milk and honey from their perspective.

In Greece, Italy and France all one hears music wise are American songs. Sung in English. In Greece where I spent about four weeks, I only heard Greek tunes 3 times. Never in Italy or Greece. They are American crazy!

They like Americans on a personal basis, also. They sought me out for conversation purposes. They have an unending interest in us and our ways.

Greeks work hard. Harder than most. Harder than the Italians.

Greeks try to make a buck when they can. Their season is 6 months. They work 6 months. Seven days a week. Twelve hours a day. I did not meet one Greek who did not work that shift. The Greeks understood you have to make it when you can.

The Italians must have enough money. They close from 12-3. Nothing is open on Sunday. Including restaurants. Saturdays are slow business days also, in the sense that little is open.

Greeks and Italians hate Germans. Both got screwed over by Germany in World War II. The feeling still exists. That is why Merkel’s Germany is so disliked by Greeks and Italians. World War II was only 65 years ago. Recall how we still fight the Civil War in the United States and that war has been behind us more than 150 years.

Of the three countries visted, each had its own unique personality. The people each different. I liked the Greeks the best. Warm. The Italians are stand offish. The French snobbish. They think their s–t does not stink.

I could not sleep Sunday night. I had to rise at 4:30 to drive one hour to Milan to be at the airport and check in 2 hours before flight time. In Europe, if you do not check your bags 2 hours before, the bags do not get on the plane. You are told this by the airlines constantly.

I was up at 4:30. I slept little worrying that I might not wake timely.

It was a pleasant drive to Milan. No traffic to speak of.

The Milan to Atlanta Delta flight was 10.5 hours. A long time. I read one whole Girshom novel, 2 English newspapers and a Time magazine. Plus watched a movie. Time moved quickly for me.

I had a 5 hour lay over in Atlanta. A killer. I started falling asleep in the airport. I kept fighting the sleep for fear I would miss my plane.

Lisa and the grandkids met me at the Key West airport. A grand feeling to see them! Robert and Ally ran to hug and kiss me. They had both made a welcoming home card for me. It was wonderful to see Lisa, also. Robert and Ally were in their pajamas. It was past their bed time.

I finally got to bed at 11 last night. Slept two shifts of 2.5 hours each. Otherwise wide awake. I figure I have at least 5 days of jet lag with which to deal.

Customs in Atlanta was a big deal. A lot of it. Europe no where as thorough as we are.

There was a young man in front of me. He was stopped 3 times and questioned. One time the dog sniffed his bag. I thought he was dead there. He got through. Till the end. Then security came over and took his passport and him.

My shaved head now has hair. Short, but obvious. I am going to keep it. However, a trim needed which I hope I can get from Lori today.

I grew a beard. Well, lets say I am trying. I have not shaved in over 5 weeks. I think I look gritty. Everyone including Lisa likes it. I will live with it for a while. What I love about the beard is that I do not have to shave. I have always hated shaving.

DAY 44 is the end of the story of my trip. As said before, I am back. Tomorrow the blog will return to normal. And shorter. I had to write long blogs on the trip to be sure I shared everything with you.

There will be an epiloque of sorts. In one to two weeks. I took or had taken over 600 pictures. I want to put some together and share them with you. Things like Louis and the volcano, the monastery steps, and the like.

Who knows, there might be a book in all this.

Thank you for bearing with me through this almost seven week trip. Love you all!

Enjoy your day!

5 comments on “DAYS 43 and 44

  1. Welcome home, Louis! I think your reading audience has enjoyed your trip abroad almost as much as you did! Thanks for chronicaling your daily activities and observations and sharing it with us.

    Happy belated birthday. Can’t wait to see some of those 600 pictures!

    Get some rest and a second wind.

    KWBound

  2. I also would like to welcome U back to KW & USA….I left to Cali for 2 weeks & wasn’t on line every day but would look forward to catching up on your journey when I could. Get your much needed rest and gain your strength back…..had us worried when U started falling, but u seem to roll with the punches quite well. Moto

  3. Lou

    Thanks so much for taking the time to continue your blog while away . I felt like I was right along with you on the trip . I look forward to buying you a drink and hearing even more about it on my next vist

    See u in the chart room
    Kevin

  4. Welcome home. I really enjoyed the daily blog, especially from Greece . You scared all of us when you wrote about being hit by a car. I will also buy you a drink when we get to KW.

  5. An absolutely fabulous travelogue, I enjoyed each day of it. Yes, I sense book material in these missives. Thanks for sharing.

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