My 79 year old mother loves to travel, preferably by cruise ship. You can imagine her shock when we surprised her with a round trip ticket to Italy for Christmas and New Year’s. Mom’s longest flight before this trip only lasted a few hours. I could sense her anxiety when I mentioned the three flights and 19 hours of travel it would take to reach Italy. Gregg and I wanted my Mom to see in person the country soon to be our home. My Mom, Sandra, is no stranger to living abroad. She joined her parents in the 1950’s in Brazil. She arrived by cruise ship and fell in love with travel by sea. We spent many years living in Florida and Mom loved cruising around the Caribbean and to Mexico. Europe seemed a world away.
Armed with anxiety medicine for flying, Mom joined Spencer and I on our day long journey to Tuscany. Despite being delayed almost an hour on our second flight, we made it to Florence on time. Gregg picked us up and off we all went to our apartment in Bagni di Lucca.
After a day of rest from our long journey we took Mom to our local coffee shop, Il Monaco. She now understands my obsession with Italian cappuccinos. On day three we piled in our Fiat Panda and headed for Pisa. Mom wanted two things out of this vacation, to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and to taste Italian gelato. We accomplished both in the same day. After about an hour in the Campo dei Miracoli we browsed some shops then found a quiet spot for lunch.
Since my Mom has limited mobility we didn’t want to overwhelm her with too much travel. We spent most days taking short walks and quick drives to neighboring villages.
Christmas was a special day from start to finish. Since Mom is an early riser, she was already up when Spencer came running to see what Santa had put under our tree. Later that afternoon our friends threw a fabulous party. My Mom enjoyed her first Yorkshire pudding along with many other delicious dishes.
A few kilometers from our apartment an historic bridge dominates the landscape. We took Mom to Ponte della Maddalena, also known as the Devil’s Bridge, on a beautiful clear day. Despite worries she would not make it to the top Mom marched up to the top and marveled at the view. Gregg took a cute video of us “running” to the top. Here’s the video from my Instagram account.
I’m proud of my Mom for testing her mobility limits.
Our friends Paul and Colette hosted a magnificent party on New Years Eve. I inherited my Mom’s love of dressing up for dinner parties and I can’t pass up any opportunity to see Gregg in a tuxedo! Eat your heart out James Bond! Mom looked stunning in her sparkle blouse and skirt.
Our two weeks together in Italy left a profound impact on my Mom. She enjoyed every moment and feels more at ease with my upcoming move to Italy this summer. I only hope I can convince her to cross the pond again for another slice of La Dolce Vita.