Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“It’s been such a long time”–thank you, Boston

I don’t know if I remember the last time I wrote on this blog. I suppose I could just look at my calendar. Too much effort right now.

So, where to start? Hmm, it appears I haven’t even written about Dublin. OK, here goes.

I arrived in Dublin after sleeping most of the flight from the pain meds. Dublin lived up to its reputation–cold and rainy, practically a typhoon. Of course, I had no umbrella. Nevertheless, I was determined to get into town since I had a six hour layover. Got downtown and was unable to really enjoy it. From what I did see, though, I was impressed. The cabbie told me that the South Side is the upscale area and the North Side is more blue collar. The way he described it, you start out on the North Side and when you “make it” you move to the South Side.

I didn’t get out of the cab and trek around at all due to the aforementioned typhoon. But as we drove, I was able to observe quite clearly that the South Side was truly appealing with brick streets, high end stores, cafes and coffee shops everywhere. The buildings were well-appointed and restaurants were everywhere.

My cabbie took me to a restaurant called Bewely’s. He said it had excellent traditional Irish food and he was right. As it was still morning, I ordered breakfast. I looked at the menu and there was what we would call an “a la carte” breakfast and then the “regular” breakfast. Being an American with a super-size mentality, I ordered the regular. It was enormous. A pile of ham, a pile of bacon, three sausages, two very interestingly cooked eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes. Plus, two cups of coffee and two glasses of fresh-squeezed o.j. Oh, and don’t forget the toast. All for $17. Well worth it.

After breakfast, I hailed a cab back to the airport. The rain was coming down in torrents and there was no way I could do or see anything. I later calculated that breakfast cost me $87 when I included the taxi fare. Oh well, I got to see Dublin.

Back at the airport I surfed the net and read through Facebook until my flight left. When I arrived in Rome it was 7:00 p.m. I called my hotel and they sent a shuttle to pick me up. The “hotel” was actually more of a bed and breakfast. It was located in a couple’s home and it was beautiful. The veranda was tiled with plants and tables. The yard was immaculate and I and the good fortune of sleeping in what amounted to an actual apartment, separate from the main building.2014-11-14 09.20.54

This little building had a living area with a flat panel TV, a separate bedroom with a king bed and a flat panel TV, a large bathroom and another sitting area that could have easily been turned into a kitchen. After I got settled in, I went for a short walk to a local restaurant and ordered a calzone that was the size of a skateboard. It was good, but nothing to scream about. Perhaps I’m becoming a food snob already?

2014-11-15 15.35.42

View outside one of my decks

Well, after returning to my little apartment, I fell immediately asleep and I had one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years. Even with the intense back pain, I was out like a light. It could have been the meds, but I have not slept like that any other night with the meds. Whatever the reason, I was refreshed the next morning when Federico took me to the train station at Leonardo da Vinci Airport.

Once there, I got a cart and loaded all my luggage. I tell you, carrying two large suitcases, two carry-ons and a satchel across the world through four airports a train station and a bus depot is not fun. Especially when one’s back is screaming in pain. I bought my train ticket for the bus station in Rome and began the wait–first as I rode the train, then as I waited for the bus and then on the bus for two and a half hours.

The bus ride I did not remember. After so many pain meds, I was out like a light. Before I knew it, we were approaching Alba Adriatica, my location. The weather was warm and sunny and after my luggage was unloaded, I had to try to figure out where my apartment was. I sent a text to my cousin, Sergio, and he called Tania the building manager. As it turned out, my apartment was about six blocks from the bus stop.

Tania, a very beautiful young lady, speaks no English. Once again, I was buzzing on pain meds and I was completely unable to understand a word she said. Usually I can grasp a bit of what someone is saying but I was completely in the dark. She showed me around the apartment which was a short trip since it’s only one bedroom. Then she left. I unpacked a few things and collapsed onto the bed.

Since then I’ve spent a lot of time in bed trying to get my back better. The last time this happened, I was doped on Percocet and seeing a chiropractor. Took a month but eventually I was better. I am praying that I don’t have to spend that much time in bed doped up.

I have found a little bistro that I have chosen as my usual little place to write and drink wine. I noted it on Facebook. Last night I was here and ordered a glass of vino bianco. Well, in addition to the wine, I got a bowl of olives and a platter of breads, spreads, crostinis, cheeses, salamis, hams and prosciutto. The restaurant is called Spritz Cafe.

It’s a Brazilian restaurant and tonight I have been invited to a celebration they are having. I will show up for a bit, not too long as the pain is really bad. I have fallen in love with these people, though. They have been so accommodating and kind to me. How can I not keep coming back?

I’ve been doing some walking. The weather has been quite nice and it seems to help my back. The daughter of the proprietor gave me the name of a chiropractor in Alba so I will check him out. I’m so glad that there’s one nearby because I don’t want to have to travel far to get my back cracked. I want so badly for this pain to go away. I can hardly function. My article is going to be published on the blog on Black Friday and there’s a lot I have to do before then. Everything else can wait for a bit, but the writing has to take priority. It’s hard when the pain is chronic and makes you cry out.

In looking over this posting, I’m seeing that it is not my usual writing style. It seems to be more informative, almost report-like. For that, I apologize. I suppose at this point, I just want to write. Eventually, I will be back to normal. When, I don’t know. I hope it’s not a long time.

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One thought on “Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“It’s been such a long time”–thank you, Boston

  1. You are fine. We all want to know what’s going on; thank you for this, dear Bob. Your humor and creativity are just around the corner. In the meanwhile, this report gives us a peek into what is up right now, and we definitely all want to know. Love. Love. Love.

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