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    CLJobe
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The Boy by The Lake - 8. Chapter 8

“Are you all packed? Ron, your mother will be here soon, so get any last minute items packed, if you haven't already.”

That was a foolish question to ask, I think they repacked their suitcases at least three times. You could tell they were nervous, they must have paced back and forth at least 10 times before Ron’s mother pulled into our drive way. “Let’s go boys, get your suitcases.”

Arriving at the airport, Ron’s mother gave him his passport, I had arranged with her to get him one when I discussed attending the college courses. “Here’s your passport Toby, please take care of it.” As I expected, he handed it back to me to keep for him. When Ron saw that, he gave me his as well.

It was obvious it was the boys first time flying. They were all eyes as we boarded. I knew I’d enjoy this trip as much as they would. Opening eyes to the world, or in this case Italy, was something that generates knowledge on a first hand basis. If you have never flown, then you can understand the excitement of two teenagers. Very attentive to the steward, checking the pocket behind the seats, looking around at the other flyers, and paying attention when the steward went through the safety instructions. I wonder how many flights before they ignored these instructions as must frequent flyers do.

The flight was over night landing us at Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome in the morning. My mind couldn’t help but go back to the time Clair and I first made this trip, the excitement in her eyes I’ll never forget. And now I see the same excitement in the eyes of the boys.

“We have to clear customs and get our luggage and then we’ll be on our way. Have your passports handy.” I let the boys go first through passport control. I couldn’t help but notice their faces, they were very somber. Smiles only shown when they saw me exiting passport control.

We followed the crowd to collect our luggage. The boys saw a man standing there with a rifle. Looking at me, “They are Carabinieri, the military arm of the Italian police. I think their presence here is to discourage anyone’s idea that this would be an easy entry into Italy. We’re okay, look there’s our luggage.”

I had arrange for the hotel to send a taxi to pick us up. “Okay boys, look for a taxi with a placard saying Hotel Majestic Via Venatu, that will be our taxi.”

“Uncle Jeff, there’s a man holding a card with your name on it.”

“That’s us,” I should have known that they would asked Pietro to pick us up. “Hello Pietro, it’s nice to see you again. I hope that the hotel has arrange for your services for the next few days?”

“Buon giorno, Signore Madison. Si, Signore Madison, as you say, I am on call for you.”

“Buon, these are my nephews Tobias and Ronald. I think we’ll keep you busy for few days. I have a list of places they’ll want to go.”

Arriving at the hotel, we were greeted by the manager. “Signore Madison, it’s good to see you again. We have reserved your room and as requested, we have a room close to yours for your nephews. I’ll have a porter show you to your rooms.”

“Thank you Signore Bianchi. It’s good to be back in Italy, my wife enjoyed our visits here. Pietro, give us an hour and then come back to pick us up. Maybe we can visit the Palatine Hill and then have lunch at that small restaurant on the Via del Corso.”

That was my plan before reaching our room, “Uncle, can we take a shower before going out?”

“Yes, but make it cold and quick. No sleeping or you’ll be tired for several days. We need to reset your internal clocks. Staying awake until 6 tonight will be best.”

I waited a full hour and no boys. I knocked on their door, no answer. I opened their door and they were both asleep. “Get up, I told you not to sleep.”

“We were tired and just wanted to take a little nap.”

“Look, I know you’re tired, so am I. But I have traveled to Europe many times and it’s always best not to go to sleep when we arrive. You sleep now and you’ll be unable to sleep tonight. Trust me on this. Let’s go, Pietro is waiting for us.” The boys got up, “Go splash some cold water on your face and don’t forget your cameras.”

We met Pietro in the lobby, “Who fell asleep, I know it was not Signore Madison?”

“It was us. We wanted to test the bed and we fell asleep. Uncle woke us, we’re sorry for the delay.”

I smiled as the boys got into the taxi. Maybe on our next trip I’ll let them sleep then they’ll understand. The ride to the Palatine Hill took longer than I remembered. Traffic is always a problem in Rome, narrow streets and crazy drivers, I’d never drive here.

“This is Palatine Hill, once the home of Roman emperors. Look, from here you can see the Colosseum and Capitoline Hill. There’s a museum here where you can get more information. There’s the ruins of the Roman Forum and the Circus Maximus. Do you know the story of how Rome was founded?”

“Wasn’t it something about wolves?”

“Yes it was, Romulus and Remus. It is said they lived here in an iron hut. The hut still can be seen today but it’s all fiction. A nice story, but because of that story, the emperors built their homes here. Let’s go to the museum and see what they have.” The boys were all eyes as we wander through the museum. We had to buy a few books concerning not only the Palatine Hill but Roman history as well, particularly the founding of Rome.

“Are you boys hungry?” I smiled as it dawn on them that we hadn’t eaten since this morning. “Let’s pay for your books and then Pietro can drive us to a restaurant for lunch.” The cashier smiled and offered the boys a pin that said, ‘I visited Palatine Hill.’ It was in English the boys asked if she had one in Italian, she had and the boys smiled as they pined them on their shirt.

The restaurant Pietro chose was the same one Clair and I always had visited. When I followed the boys in, the owner recognized Pietro and me. We had to chat for a few moments while one of the waiters showed the boys to a table. There’s something nice about being welcomed into a foreign country by friends who live and work there. The owner selected our menu, which I knew he would, and our wine. I looked at the boys as their glasses were filled with the wine. “It’s normal for Europeans to have a glass of wine with their meals. Eat a little before you sample the wine.”

“Pietro, after lunch take us to the Coliseum and then back to the hotel. I think the boys will be ready to go to sleep. Plan on having breakfast with us in the morning.”

Now in Europe and specially Italy, lunch isn’t a 15 minute gobble the food down. From the antipasto to the dessert we ate for 1 1/2 hours. Between courses and chatting, time seemed to move fast until one checked their watch. I thank our host and headed to the Colosseum. The boys were totally enthralled with the tour. From the side looking down you could see the rooms under the floor of the Colosseum where gladiators and wild animals stayed. I think the Colosseum would appeal to any boy. Looking at them you could almost see them picturing themselves as gladiators.

Exploring finished, pictures taken, it was time to go back to the hotel and get some sleep. I knew the boys would be up early but they had their books to read, for a little while. “If you get hungry, there are snacks in that small refrigerator, but no alcohol.Try and get a good nights sleep, we have a lot of places to visit tomorrow.”

Copyright © 2020 CLJobe; All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter Comments

1 hour ago, chris191070 said:

Great chapter. I love the family vacation to Italy, a real eye opener for Toby and Ron.

I always was fascinated by returning to historical places. Imagine at 17 what you would do in Italy

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Excellent chapter, so we start the awesome sightseeing in Italy, I suppose we can all let our imaginations run with you on this trip

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8 minutes ago, mikedup said:

Excellent chapter, so we start the awesome sightseeing in Italy, I suppose we can all let our imaginations run with you on this trip

I hope you can. Call up the pictures and you will see what the boys see. 😀

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I learned  a few things in this chapter.I didn't know there was a Leonardo Da Vinci airport all airports should be named after brilliant people like him not politicians.In San Diego we have Lindbergh field named after Charles Lindburgh so that one was OK.Also I knew nothing about setting internal clocks having never traveled abroad.I've heard about lunch being a bigger meal there and dinner being smaller for me a big lunch would make me less productive the rest of the day.I love that Jeff introduced the guys as his nephews.

Edited by weinerdog
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Great chapter!  My husband and I had plans to tour Italy and Greece this past summer, but Covid.....hopefully next summer!  Thank you!

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1 hour ago, weinerdog said:

I learned  a few things in this chapter.I didn't know there was a Leonardo Da Vinci airport all airports should be named after brilliant people like him not politicians.In San Diego we have Lindbergh field named after Charles Lindburgh so that one was OK.Also I knew nothing about setting internal clocks having never traveled abroad.I've heard about lunch being a bigger meal there and dinner being smaller for me a big lunch would make me less productive the rest of the day.I love that Jeff introduced the guys as his nephews.

The time difference is the key. They took an overnight flight so if they land at 8 in the morning by their watch it is 2 in the afternoon in Italy. That always was a problem for me. I leaved at 6 pm, and 8 hour flight would get me in England at 2 am my time but in England it was 8 am, I was tired for bed, but I had the whole  day for business. I couldn't sleep on the plane, so I wasn't running an all cylinders. The answer, I left a day before I was to meet, thinking I was smart. It was worse, arriving tired I went to bed. When I woke up, it was evening, that was okay, but when I would normally go to bed, I was still wide awake. It takes a day or two to reset your internal clock.

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Just now, mfa607 said:

Great chapter!  My husband and I had plans to tour Italy and Greece this past summer, but Covid.....hopefully next summer!  Thank you!

That sounds great. You'll love Italy when you go there. I never made it to Greece, something I wanted to do and never had the time. Take notes, background for a story.

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Becoming vegan in a small country is not always fun. One of the things I really miss?, Italian food.

My favourite restaurant used to be Bosco Verde. My favourite dish was Vol Au Vent Carciofi. I am no expert so am not even sure if it is Italian Italian or New Zealand Italian, if you know what I mean. I am drooling. It is puff pastry cases filled with artichokes and mushrooms, drowning in a creamy gorgonzola sauce.  OMG! It is to die for! :worship::worship::worship:

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23 minutes ago, Buz said:

Becoming vegan in a small country is not always fun. One of the things I really miss?, Italian food.

My favourite restaurant used to be Bosco Verde. My favourite dish was Vol Au Vent Carciofi. I am no expert so am not even sure if it is Italian Italian or New Zealand Italian, if you know what I mean. I am drooling. It is puff pastry cases filled with artichokes and mushrooms, drowning in a creamy gorgonzola sauce.  OMG! It is to die for! :worship::worship::worship:

I have eaten Italian food everywhere I have traveled. Italians are world known for their food. I never heard of Bosco Verde, but be assured I'll have my Italian cook prepare it for me. My Italian cook is my care taker. Oh wait, that is the name of the Restaurant. So I have copied the ingredients for Vol Au Vent Carciofi.  Carciofi is used in a lot of Italian recipes.  Thanks, I'll let you know how it turns out. 

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40 minutes ago, KayDeeMac said:

I'm getting hungry !!!

So am I. It's close to lunch time here now.

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Jeff's an experienced traveller and understands the effects of jet lag and how to counter them. I laughed when he thought about letting them experience it for themselves.

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10 hours ago, drpaladin said:

Jeff's an experienced traveller and understands the effects of jet lag and how to counter them. I laughed when he thought about letting them experience it for themselves.

I unless you don't know better, sleeping upon arrival will take about three days to get your body's time change established 

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Outstanding chapter! A lot of firsts for the boys, flight, customs, jet lag and Rome, Italy are but a few. This Italian trip will open doors for learning that they could not imagine or believe. They are getting to know another culture, entirely different customs and being introduced to a lifestyle that most people are unaware of. To be able to experience antiquity in person enables a perception and understanding that you cannot get from a book or photographs. Toby and Ron are receiving the keys to a better understanding of the world and how they fit into it. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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3 minutes ago, flesco said:

Outstanding chapter! A lot of firsts for the boys, flight, customs, jet lag and Rome, Italy are but a few. This Italian trip will open doors for learning that they could not imagine or believe. They are getting to know another culture, entirely different customs and being introduced to a lifestyle that most people are unaware of. To be able to experience antiquity in person enables a perception and understanding that you cannot get from a book or photographs. Toby and Ron are receiving the keys to a better understanding of the world and how they fit into it. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

Thanks. Expanding one's vision will only lead to a better understanding of the world we live in.

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