HAPPY 50th CAMPERS!

28 Aug

50 years ago yesterday, over 200 very curious and most adventurous students from across the U.S. landed in Rome for the beginning of a year like no other – destination:

Loyola’s Rome Center was started in 1962. At that time, it was the largest American study program offered by a U.S. university in Europe enrolling Loyola students as well as students from 75 other U.S. colleges and universities, of which I was one.

While it is hard to imagine we arrived 50 years ago, it is so easy to remember the most incredible year of our lives. Quickly becoming a family of “campers”,  we learned, laughed, loved and lived together. Oh how we lived!

Most of us arrived at age 20, having never been to a foreign country, nor away from home for more than a semester. There was no internet, no wifi, no cell phones, no pc’s, etc. But we adapted quickly. What we did have was one public payphone in the hall, mail slots, a beautiful campus, an attentive staff, engaged professors, and most of all, each other.

Yes, we actually did attend class with some very excellent professors, but so very much of what we remember from that year comes from outside the classroom, as they said it would.

We quickly learned how to get around in Italy…

and explore some of her greatest treasures.

We learned to navigate by train, and expect nothing to happen as scheduled.

On holidays, we even had extra time to explore far away destinations.


We learned of the unspeakable horrors of war…

and saw monuments dedicated to victory.

We rushed to the Vatican on 5/22/72 in the hope that the Pieta had not suffered grave damage at the hand of a madman. 

When not studying or traveling, we also trained well and competed!

We learned that every kid in Italy plays soccer,


and that some of then best “food” can be bought at the market.

At Christmastime, we sponsored a party for children from a local orphanage, doing much more for us than they could imagine.

At the end of our year together, we published a wonderful yearbook and I was delighted to be one of the photographers. All of the above photos are from that book, so kudos to the following people:

 

Finally, 10 years ago, Loyola Rome celebrated its 50th anniversary in Chicago and all classes were invited to attend. It was our group’s 40th anniversary, and as you can see, friendships are still going strong.

To the family of “71-72 campers”,  indeed we did learn, laugh, love and live together. Oh how we lived! 

Judy

Happy Birthday Len!

11 Aug

Len’s Birthday Journal:

We started the day with a cappuccino in Cortona, then headed to the small town of Magione in the Perugia region for a most enjoyable lunch. Being that it is nearly 100° and crowded in Cortona, we decided to take the lovely drive to Ristorante Da Massimo, situated above Lake Trasimeno. The roads weren’t crowded, the views along the winding roads were lovely, and the food – well, Massimo certainly has made an art of preparing fresh seafood.

Great Food!
We shared two antipasti di mare, some hot and some cold, and seemingly never ending. Unfortunately, I’m a bit out of practice at remembering to photograph the gastronomical delights, but among them were salmon, octopus, seafood salad, shrimp salad, mussels, clams, scallops, and these mini sea snails. 

©blogginginitaly.com

We were first introduced to this wonderful restaurant by dear friends Susan and Ray, and they were definitely on our minds. In fact, that first time, Susan and I ordered the same orata (white fish), but I ordered mine grilled and she ordered with potatoes. I never forgot!

©blogginginitaly.com

Given that we still had a dinner ahead, we opted to share one piece of cheesecake with fresh berries and freshly whipped cream. 

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Great Friends!
After an afternoon nap, (it’s what one does, of course!), we met friends at Tuscher for some masked hugs and a Prosecco toast to Len.

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Great Views! We departed around 8 for dinner at Ristorante Tonino and were welcomed by a gentle breeze and incredible views.

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Food was good too…

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As we ate, the sky changed colors and the sun and slender crescent moon put on a splendid show.

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On the way home, we bumped into Ivan and Massimo, a fun ending for a pretty perfect birthday!

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Tanti Auguri, Leonardo, per un buon compleanno! Ti amo!

Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT UPDATES!

8 Aug

OF HIGH IMPORTANCE:

Several people have written to ask me more about what is needed to travel to Italy. Speaking specifically for Americans, Italy requires you to complete the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) prior to boarding, available via your airline or online. This is NOT in place of a Vaccination card, rather it is used as necessary for contact tracing. (Probably a similar requirement for others, but ALL should check latest requirements before any departure.) 

What has been confusing in the last few days is what is required to enter restaurants, cultural places, etc. For Italians, it’s the green card, but so far, only those vaccinated in Italy receive one. Per several journals, including this description found in The Local it and updated August 5, things have become a bit clearer:

“People who have proof of Covid-19 vaccination, testing or recovery from one of five countries outside the European Union will be able to use it as a health passport in Italy, the Italian government has confirmed.

As Italy prepares to extend the public spaces where a so-called ‘green pass’ is required, the government has given its first indications about how visitors from non-EU countries can access the scheme.Travellers from any country in the EU or Schengen Zone can already use their national certificates in Italy as they would at home. In its latest ordinance of July 29th, the Italian Health Ministry confirmed that documents issued by health authorities in any of the following countries would also be accepted in Italy:

  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom (including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and British military bases on Cyprus)
  • United States of America

Certificates can be shown in digital or paper format, the Ministry said, without giving further details.

While visitors from Canada, Israel, Japan and the US can already use health certificates issued in their own countries to avoid quarantine in Italy, the Italian government has separate restrictions on the UK that oblige travellers to self-isolate for five days on arrival.” (The Local it)

Last night, we saw restaurants accepting VAX cards for indoor dining, so this seems to be working.

A Correction: Thanks to an astute friend who questioned my math: the number of days since our arrival was 582, not 947! (one year too many!)

Finally, street dining last night a la Cortona!

©blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,

Judy

 

 

 

Cortona at Last!

7 Aug

After 947 days, we have finally returned to Cortona and my thoughts can be summed up in this quote by Stephen King: “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” (Author look-up required). For me, new is not the sights, sounds and smells of Italy, rather the learning of current mores, i.e., the new customs, conventions and the new ways of doing things with the pandemic.

Tuscany is currently classified as a “white” zone, meaning it has the least restrictions. Masks do not have to be worn outdoors, except in crowded areas, although many still wear them.  As of yesterday, however, certain activities like indoor dining, leisure venues and cultural sites will only be available to those with a Certificazione Verde, (green pass) or as in our case, (we think) a Passenger Locator Form. (Some of the logistics are still not clear.) Both of these show digital proof of either vaccination status, recent negative test results, or recovery.

As for Cortona proper, we were surprised to find the streets alive with tourists, mostly from the north. Families from The Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium are enjoying the sights and sounds of Cortona, and especially the bars, cafes and restaurants. Nary a table is available without a reservation – finally some great news for the local establishments. Most dining is outdoors as the town has made extra space accommodations, including closing some street traffic on the weekends. So, although the streets are not packed as usual in August, there are thankfully enough people to boost the local economy a bit.

Seeing old friends/acquaintances is interesting – making a split second decision on a huge “welcome back hug” or going the safer “happy to see you elbow bump”?

Ordering is interesting – Do I enter to order a cappuccino or to pay? (Answer: no, yes, and it depends!)

There’s still a short line up at the in-town grocers, pharmacies, etc., but given their size, that’s just fine in my book. The reality is, while we personally jumped at the chance to be vaccinated, not all did the same. 

Our flights were long as we needed to travel Chicago – Dallas – Rome, but no snags along the way, including at FCO. In fact, it was probably our fastest exit with checked baggage. I suspect this was due to many fewer travelers arriving from the US and and Canada. 

We were touch and go until the very end, but are happy to be here after missing our last three trips. And given our jet lag time differences, we even manage to find outdoor tables when needed.  

And then of course, some things never change.

Few things can say Welcome Back more than this:

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or this!

Ciao for now,
Judy

Note: If you are planning a trip to Italy, or the EU, be sure to check the latest travel requirements as they change often.

 

 

 

 

 

Art on the Lake

8 Jun

Although I haven’t been posting much, I haven’t been bored. Each day brings different views. This was today…

After a lovely walk through the park,

an early aperitivo on the balcony gave us

an art show on the lake…

©blogginginitaly.com

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Click to enlarge.

Ciao! 
Judy

 

Storm Postscript

28 Jan

With thanks to the Beatles, and in particular George Harrison, for the lyrics that seem so appropriate – though a bit out of order here…

Here Comes The Sun*

“Little darling, I feel that ice is slowing melting” …
(yesterday morning)

©blogginginitaly.com

“Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been clear”
(last evening, with the moon)

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Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces…
(this morning)

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Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun 
And I say it’s all right
(Today!)

©blogginginitaly.com

Are you singing along?
As George would probably say, “…it’s all right!

Ciao,
Judy

Thanks to George Harrison, songwriter, for the inspiration.
*Here Comes The Sun lyrics © Harrisongs Ltd.

 

Day 1: After the Storm

26 Jan

At 11:15 last night, the view looked like this. Clear roads, howling winds, and large rolling waves.

©blogginginitaly.com

With little traffic, the salt trucks were moving quickly.

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Then the morning came, and truth be told, I was a bit disappointed when I peered out our west-facing bedroom window. The snow was negligible after all the hype. But when I entered the east-facing living area, well, it was quite a different story. The lake was like an ocean, with 8-15 feet rollers. There was even an “iceberg” forming at the curve!

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Needless to say, it was mesmerizing, even in total monotone.

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And then there’s always the “adventurous” type…

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It’s been fascinating watching the “iceberg” grow as the waves splashed upon it all day.

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The forecast is for continued snow through the night. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I’ll let you know. And for those of you who live a bit further from the lake, I did hear you had a bunch of shoveling to do. Stay warm and safe. As you already know, the snow is quite heavy!

Ciao,
Judy

 

Anticipating the Storm

25 Jan

Although we are about one month into winter, we have yet to experience much snowfall, but that is about to change. Even if one avoids reading the warnings, the lake has set up a notification system all of it own.

Here is a visual progression of the last few days:

Saturday, January 23, 4:25:08 PM, patches of ice forming along the break wall

Sunday, January 24, 7:45:07 AM, patches merging as they shift northward toward North Ave beach curve

©blogginginitaly.com

Sunday, January 24, 7:45:41 am Weather Warning

©The Weather Channel

Sunday, January 24, 9:12:39 AM, ice nearly gone, and some enjoying a “birds-eye” view!

©blogginginitaly.com

Saturday, January 24, 1:58:12 PM, fascinating ice shapes emerging along the shoreline

©blogginginitaly.com

Saturday, January 24, 5:35:12 PM, another warning

©Chicago Tribune

Monday, January 25, 9:43:21 AM, a new, long thin ice pattern stretching  east and curving northward

©blogginginitaly.com

Monday, January 25, 11:47:52 AM, becoming large patches of ice everywhere

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A bit of history:  On February 2, 2011, 20 inches of snow fell in Chicago, trapping hundreds of people on Lake Shore Drive for hours.  (My pictures the day after.)

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As a result, “turn around areas”  were added to the Drive. This morning, those cement barricades were temporarily replaced with movable  barriers, in anticipation of the storm

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Monday, January 25, 11:57:37 am, another warning

©Chicago Tribune

 And so we watch- and wait. Till tomorrow…

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

Salute e Cent’anni!

1 Jan

Last evening, the final of 2020, the moonlit view over the lake was spectacular. But this year,  although there were no fireworks, there was something particularly unique that caught my eye – a large 100 illuminated on the face of The Drake, a storied Chicago hotel. I quickly learned that The Drake was founded in 1920, hence its 100 year celebration. 

©blogginginitaly.com

Quickly I found myself thinking of Italy.

When Italians celebrate many of life’s happy occasions – a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary, etc., they often raise their glasses in a celebratory toast and proclaim: Cent’anni!  (May you live 100 years!)

Sometimes you hear them say Salute e Cent’Anni! (to your health and 100 years!)

Given  2020, I’ll choose the second toast as my wish for you in 2021:

Salute e Cent’Anni!  

To your health and 100 years!

Wishing you a very Happy and HEALTHY New Year!

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

Merry Christmas! And a special Happy Birthday!

25 Dec

Wow, it has been seven months since my last post, but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to convey holiday greetings.

For many, 2020 has certainly been a year to remember, or perhaps, a year to forget. For us, it’s been a pretty wild ride since March including one emergency appendectomy; one cataract surgery each; several cancelled trips to Italy and a trip to Ireland; the purchase and remodel of our wonderful new condo; and finally, the sale of our lovely townhouse which held wonderful family memories of the last 15 years. Like so many, we used social media to stay connected with family and friends and happily reconnected with some friends for the first time in a long time. Through it all, we diligently wore our masks and managed to remain healthy! 

The cancellation of our March trip to Italy set in motion a rather quick decision to move – from 42 internal stairs to a one floor condo in an elevator building. Our choice was all about the view, and happily we chose well. Who would have guessed we’d be spending so much time inside looking out? From early morning sunrises, to waves crashing over the break-wall, or moon lit ripples on Lake Michigan, Mother Nature has certainly kept us entertained.

Morning sunrises:

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A summer view:

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Chicago Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

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Fall Colors:

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A November walk along Chicago’s 18.5-mile Lakefront path.

©blogginginitaly.com

Stormy days:

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Moonlit nights:

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Historic Sights: Lindbergh Beacon on the Palmolive Building; Hancock Building glowing in red, white and blue; Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier

©blogginginitaly.com

And who needs a Christmas tree spotlight when the moon readily obliges!

©blogginginitaly.com

Whatever lies beneath my tree, my very best ever present arrived 28 years ago on Christmas day! Wishing a most HAPPY BIRTHDAY (albeit a bit strange this year) to our beautiful, (inside and out), and very talented daughter Benita!

©blogginginitaly.com (taken with her friends a few years back)

Wishing all a very
Merry Christmas, Buon Natale,  Happy Holiday
and a little bit of sunshine to brighten your day.

©blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

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