Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 108: 25th Year Class Reunion in Rome
By MariaV from Sicily, Italy, Fall 2001
Trip Description: Maria returns to Rome for her 25th High School Reunion
Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Lazio, Rome
Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; Single Traveler
Page 1 of 12: Preparing For a Different Type of Trip
And so the preparations begin......Just thinking about actually returning to Rome after so long away is an excitement all its own ... how much has it changed? Will I know and remember anything? Will I be able to find my old apartment? I wonder if they'll let me see it, or stand on the balcony and look at the view of the endless hills. Part of me doesn't want to return because the teenage memories of what was home for 7 incredible years are so vivid that I'm not sure I want to disturb them...
But what if I could live there again? It’s been a struggle for 25 years to find another place that felt so "right", so much like "home". Should I go for it? My 40s are proving to be the prime of my life with no dependents and nothing to stop me....I send a couple "feeler" emails to some international law firms ... ohmygosh they say they want me to interview when I get to Rome! Just received an email from my school’s the alumni committee with the link to Villa Miani where the "gala ball" for our school reunion will be held ... such exceptional beauty in the view...Okay, my mind's made up ... I'll kill three birds with one stone here ... go to the reunion since it coincides with my own class’s 25th year, see what Italy is like now, go on some interviews ...
I've been listening to Italian singers such as Eros, Zucchero and, of course, Andrea every chance I get, to try to regain "la lingua" (the language) -- it's somewhere in my head, I just need practice! The more I listen to the music, the more the words come back and I start actually thinking and dreaming in Italian. Good start. Gotta contact the travel agent, a friend of an alum ... can she get me on the same flight as an alumi friend I found out was living in the same city as I, and just re-met after 26 years? What do you mean no?! One leg of the flight is booked and I can't get a seat ... oh but look at what I found on the web -- two seats are available AND it's $300 cheaper than what she's paying! You got her ticket changed?? YES! I'm starting to get excited ... is this really going to happen?
Check the Italy message boards online... I'm still not sure where I'm going to spend my 10 days ... Rome yes, go north to Tuscan wine country perhaps, west over to the beach ... check out lots of places and start to make reservations...the blocks of lower priced rooms at the de la Ville and the Marriott Grand reserved for the reunion are taken and I'm not paying the regular rate. A friend tells me he knows the owners of the Hotel Tea, and I get a very affordable rate. I decide I'll do two days there, Sunday and Monday. I want to go wine tasting in the Toscana area, so I leave those 2 nights open ... the reunion is Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I get an exceptional price of $25/day for a room at the convent-villa-turned-hotel up the Via Cassia just past the Grande Raccordo Annulare, where the school's borders live during the year. It’s across the street from the apartment complex where the "embassy, NATO and richer American civilians" lived. It's practically an american complex .... wait, I thought it was in Rome! I decide to go to Ostia Lido after the reunion for two days, and the last night is up in the air ... I have no reservation at any hotel for that Tuesday night ... I feel like such a daredevil!
Final check ... got my lire ... passport ... reservations on the Super Shuttle ... lots of room in the suitcase to bring stuff back ...I pack light because I'm not at all concerned with "didn't you wear that same thing yesterday?!" I grew up learning when I traveled how to simply spend 10 minutes a night washing clothing in the sink. Everything seems to be set .... will I sleep? Yeah right! It's a good thing though, because then I'll be tired enough to nap on the plane, because I know we'll be arriving Sunday morning, and the best way to cure jet lag is to immediately go on "local" time and I'll need to stay awake all day .... easy enough, right?
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