Days 29 and 30 – Packing Up is Hard to Do

Our last days in Italy were a combination of sight seeing and relaxation.  We decided to fit in one last day trip, this time close by in Tarquinia.  There is a wonderful small museum dedicated to the Etruscan civilization and then a necropolis with tombs to explore outside of the historical town.  We drove to Tarquinia with heavy hearts knowing it was our last real day of discovery.

The museum was right inside the city wall’s entrance and we thought we would do that first, before lunch, and then head over to the tombs.  Surrounding a courtyard, the small stone museum is full of ancient sarcophagus, often of entire families, and pottery and weapons from the Etruscan Era.  This was a great museum with the girls, full of interesting items they could relate to like the dolls and pottery, and also impressive and tactile with the carved sarcophagi all around.  Plus, we did the whole museum in about 35 minutes.  We went to a fabulous lunch right across the street and then headed out of the town to the necropolis.

The necropolis turned out to be quite a hike from the historical town.  By the time we reached it we were hot, sweaty and worn out.  We decided to descend into one tomb, climbed down the steps and turned on the little light in the cave.  The painted walls were illuminated and we admired the art and just the cool factor of being down in these ancient tombs from thousands of years ago.  After our tomb raiders experience we went back to the car and drove to Tuscania to swim at the pool for the last time and say goodbye to Ava, the lifeguard, and Lisa her sister who runs the bar/gelato stand.

On the 30th we went to the lake for one last hurrah at Lake Bolsena.  We will miss this amazingly beautiful, shady and clean beach when we’re back with the hoards in New York.  On our way back into town we stopped at the Pasticceria to get our last desserts and say goodbye.   Obviously, the rest of the time was spent packing, trying to calm our daughters’ building anxiety about camp, and trying to take in the smells and feelings of just being there.

Usually by the end of a vacation you are so ready to come back.  I think it was Erma Bombeck who had that line, “when you look like your passport photo it’s time to come home.”  But we easily could have stayed another month.  Being there for the entire month of July made it feel normal and not transient or hectic.  But, of course this being real life we had to come back eventually, and I still can’t believe how lucky we were to travel and live in Italy for a whole month.  I think as a family it was an incredible (or masochistic) experience to spend 33 straight days together, but more than that it was an invaluable and priceless experience for my daughters to really know what it is to travel and be somewhere outside your comfort zone; to navigate strange places and open yourself up to being in the moment, in the food, in the art and in the language.  All of it.  Hopefully we’ve given them a love of travel that will stick with them forever.

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