Home Sweet Home

From Ho Chi Minh City to Longoio it’s almost ten thousand kilometres (9551.58 to be exact) as the crow (or plane) flies.

My return journey was without a hitch thanks to some great in-flight entertainment (I watched or rather re-watched three films including the King’s Speech and Marylyn) which also had a good classical music selection for once. The Etihad staff were charming and the eight hour stop-over at Abu Dhabi not as boring as it seemed.

I was so glad to be able to fly into Rome on Alitalia which is apparently receiving the kiss of life from Etihad. It was nice to spot the various sights of the eternal city from the plane, Recognize the Corso and the Pincio?

The luggageator provided a few tense moments when my suitcase did not appear when it should have done. A nice Alitalia lady said this sometimes happens and filed a report which was immediately scrapped when the delayed item finally arrived. So I regained my fardel and continued my journey.

It’s possible to travel at great speed and comfort on Italy’s TAV (Treni Alta velocità) network but I was in no hurry to get back quickly (and at greater expense) so I took a Regionale veloce train on that lovely line which goes along the coast to Pisa via Civitavecchia. From Fiumicino I took the local train and changed at Trastevere station. I changed again at Pisa and Lucca on a journey which only took four hours and cost me just twenty euros! Yes that is Saint Peter’s basilica which has its own station…

I’m sure the tower I spotted on this journey is the famous Torre della Tagliata where Puccini retired to when he made a start on the new libretto Adami had written for him about a fairy tale involving a far eastern princess.

At Bagni di Lucca station my trusty scooter was waiting for me and, after a couple of hiccups, its engine burst into life and took me home to my mountain village on deserted roads.

One of the great joys of a holiday is coming back home at the end of it and knowing that one can return to that same familiar routine and also realising that you’ve actually been missed! Certainly my cats Napoleon and Carlotta were all over me and so pleased to see me again. Who said cats thought only of themselves and had no long-lasting affections?

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Even Flip and Flop the ducks (who’d laid a deal of eggs in the meantime) and (dare I say it at the risk of sounding potty) Tira and Molla our two goldfish appeared glad I was back

The daffodils were already out in my garden and the camellia tree was in full blossom.

The only thing I can’t get used to is the cold! Having lived in a climate of an unchanging 30 degrees centigrade for three weeks I’m freezing in 15 degrees despite the damart thermals! Time perhaps to get warm by doing a walk or two as this is the perfect time to see the spring awakening on the earth.

I have to thanks my dear neighbours for making my Vietnam trip possible by looking after my animals so well. (They sent me regular emails with pictures of the menagerie).

And now onto doing a bit of gardening….at least I’ll keep warm.


6 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home

  1. Welcome home Francis! I almost feel like I’ve been on holiday to Vietnam myself. ( I was actually in London and Edinburgh while you were away)

  2. Delighted to hear your trip went so well, and that you are back safely.
    I agree with Laura; for your readers its been like a virtual holiday to Vietnam! Great posts, and what an interesting place Vietnam is, so colourful. I have to say the appetite for travelling in the Far East has been increased substantially.

  3. Well ok but where are the photos of the ducks Flip e Flop, Carlotta and Tira e Molla I would like to see them just to be reassured that they are ok. Wonderful photos of the flowers Sprinig started 1st March so it is said but yes there are positive signs such as the daffodils even anemones crocus japonica budleia! Plus not one but two robins that keep one company as we endeavour to do some gardening despite the sunny day rather bracing cold breezes come eveningtime! I must go and see the host of wild golden daffodils and wild white anemones it is always an amazing vision and then it feels that Spring has truly sprung!

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