Back on Land For Awhile - In Upstate NY November 15 - December 8, 2017

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December 8th 2017
Published: December 8th 2017
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Leaving Italy for Now And Heading to the USLeaving Italy for Now And Heading to the USLeaving Italy for Now And Heading to the US

to spend time with family and friends
For those of you that are on facebook with me know that we are currently back in the US and have been here since the middle of November. For those of you that only follow us on our blog, you may have been having a hard time figuring where we are based on my sporadic blog postings. As a result this blog will bring you up to where we are currently with the promise that I will continue to put up “old” postings in order to complete our journal and fill you in on some more of the interesting places we have been.

Our winter spot for Tsamaya is Gaeta, Italy which is located on the west coast of the country between Rome and Naples. We had arrived there in the beginning of October so had a few weeks to enjoy the area before leaving in mid-November for our annual trip back to the US to visit family and friends and continue to work on the house that we bought a couple of years ago.

The morning we left Gaeta, Italy it was raining which is never a nice thing when you know you have to get from the
The Annual Holiday Tractor Parade in GeenwichThe Annual Holiday Tractor Parade in GeenwichThe Annual Holiday Tractor Parade in Geenwich

with 50 tractors participating this year
boat to the bus stop with your luggage, but in other ways it was good as it made it a little easier to leave. We haven’t been in Gaeta that long, but in the time we have been there we have really grown to enjoy it. We will just have to wait until we return to see more of what it has to offer us.

Our trip back to the US was pretty broken up, but it worked out better than we thought. We first had to take the bus to the train station in a neighboring town of Formia which fortunately was only about 15 minutes late as we had allowed ourselves plenty of time for delays. We had been warned that we may expect delays when using the public transportation of buses and trains, but so far we can’t complain We have been fortunate though in that we haven’t gotten caught trying to travel when they have a scheduled strike which does seem to happen here. In the time we have been here in Italy we know of at least 2 different days that the public transportation was on strike. The train from Formia to Rome worked
Thanksgiving At Our Place This YearThanksgiving At Our Place This YearThanksgiving At Our Place This Year

nice to have a place to be able to have family over
out well as we paid a little extra to have first class seats so we would be sure to have an assigned seat. We had taken a train before and it was so crowded that we weren’t able to get a seat for quite a while and with luggage this time, we figured it was worth the extra to guarantee a seat.

We had to chuckle a little however as when we went to get our seat, one of them was taken by a gentleman in a business suit. He very kindly moved so we could get into our reserved seats. What we had to really chuckle at however, was that at a later station another person came on the train and found that his seat was taken by this same man! He got up again and this time he just stood in the 1st class car and finished reading his paper. The conductor never came by to check tickets and it seems that this person must know that as he did not appear to have a seat in 1st class, but seemed very comfortable sitting there. Guess I just am not brave enough to chance that and know that my face would tell everyone I was trying to get away with something. We just have to laugh… As tourist in a foreign country we definitely would not count on this working for us and the price of the ticket was not too high so we will continue to buy our ticket and ride in the correct class car for the ticket we purchase!

We had taken the train to Rome so we had been able to scope out where the next train was that we would need to take to the Rome airport. We were very glad we did as our train this time ran about 20 minutes late and with having only 30 minutes to connect we were “on the run” to be sure to catch the train to the airport. It worked out as we got on the train about a minute before it pulled out of the station. It was good that we had purchased the ticket online beforehand so we didn’t have any delays in buying it. This time our ticket was checked and we were all set. Fortunately this train is set up for people with luggage so there was plenty of space for storing it for our 30 minute trip to the airport. We know that this train leaves frequently but not knowing if there would be further delays we were glad to catch the connecting train we had “planned” on.

As always we are told to be at the airport early to catch an international flight but as with other airports it seems no one is ever manning the desk to check in at that time. Oh well, we didn’t have to wait too long and our bags were checked. Unfortunately we found that they would not be checked through to Newark, our final destination even though we booked it through on one airline. This segment from Rome to Paris had been “farmed out” to another airline so they told us we had to pick up our bags in Paris. We did have a thought that this might happen so it wasn’t a complete surprise, but we still would have liked to avoid it. It was a very full flight so we were very pleased that this was the shorter segment of our trip. Our connections forced us to have an overnight in Paris so got a hotel out
Not All of the Shutters Are On YetNot All of the Shutters Are On YetNot All of the Shutters Are On Yet

but already we are happy with the addition of color
near the airport which worked out fine by giving us a chance to have a good night’s sleep.

Luckily the next day we found that the flight from Paris to Newark was almost empty so everyone had plenty of room to stretch out for the 8.5 hour flight. This was the first time we each were given an iPad so we could have individual access to our own entertainment whenever we wanted. We thought this was quite a clever way to do it as we could chose what we wanted to listen to in music and movies or play games as well as move our screen to the position that we wanted. The time went by quickly and we arrived on time in Newark – with very few passengers, we quickly had our baggage and then it was time to catch our shuttle to the Albany airport. The catch was we were to call them when we got our baggage, but unfortunately our French phone did not work! It should have, but for some reason it didn’t. Luckily for us we found out that they have an excellent customer service counter where they are set up with a couple
The Troy Victorican Stroll With Antique FiretrucksThe Troy Victorican Stroll With Antique FiretrucksThe Troy Victorican Stroll With Antique Firetrucks

stilt jugglers & lots of period costumes add to the fun
of phones people can use to make phone calls. Once we found that out, we caught our shuttle and we were on our way again. By 9PM we were in Albany and now the last leg of our journey to our home was to catch a taxi that we had arranged. Again without a phone we had to use the shuttle driver’s phone. Everything worked like clockwork and when we pulled in to the Albany airport the taxi pulled in right behind us. We had left the boat on Monday morning at 6AM and at 11PM on Tuesday night we were walking into our very cold house – a long trip back, but overall quite smooth. That first night it was a little chilly, but we were tired enough that we slept well.

As anyone that flies through time zones knows, it does take a little while to get your body back into the correct time zone, and for some reason we seem to find each year it takes us a little longer, but a couple of days later we were sleeping during the night time hours again!

The first couple of days were taken up with getting
Troy May Not Be As Old As What we Have Been SeeingTroy May Not Be As Old As What we Have Been SeeingTroy May Not Be As Old As What we Have Been Seeing

in Europe, but still enjoy the architectural details
food into the house, hooking our phone and internet back up, arranging for garbage pick up again and other basics. Having a house to come back to now has added a few more things to our “to do” list for our return, but within a couple of days we were up and running and connected to the outside world again.

Coming back in November to upstate NY means raking of leaves so that was one of the first projects on our list of things to do. Luckily the village here vacuums them up if we get them out the road so Bob made short work out of it by making the purchase of a leaf blower. In combination with the garden tractor and pulling the tarp full of leaves to the road a few times the job was done (well as much as could be done as our tree does not cooperate as it holds on to many of its leaves until much later in the season!). As a matter of fact now in the beginning of December our tree still has plenty of leaves on it.

One of the things I try to help with when we
Numerous Tiffany Windows Can Be Found in TroyNumerous Tiffany Windows Can Be Found in TroyNumerous Tiffany Windows Can Be Found in Troy

these are only two examples of the many here
are back in the US is cooking meals for my Mom’s freezer to make it easier for her as well as get her to Dr. appointments. I’ve gotten started with both of these already which is nice as it gives me plenty of time to spend with Mom as well as a chance to use my kitchen. It is always so surprising how we can deal very nicely with a very small galley (kitchen) on Tsamaya, but back in the house we seem to always enjoy the very spacious kitchen that we created in the house we bought a couple of years ago.

The first Saturday back in the US our village of Greenwich was having its annual Holiday Tractor Parade so we definitely couldn’t miss that! We had gone to it the last 2 years so is now a tradition that we had to get to even if they were predicting rain for that evening. We live in an agricultural area and if you didn’t know that before you would know it after seeing this parade. This year they had about 50 “tractors and/or floats” that ranged in size from the small residential size garden tractor to the large commercial farm tractors and combines. One of the rules is that each entry must have at least 1,000 lights – it was obvious that many went way beyond that number of lights. There were entries pulling wagons with floats from various local organizations and farms – it looked like they were having as much fun as the spectators. As with all street events there were plenty of places you could stop to get a bite to eat and support either a local restaurant or organization. We did our part and had our dinner this way which saved us from cooking and helped the local groups at the same time.

One of the things we wanted with a large kitchen and having a dining room was the ability to do some entertaining. With both of my sisters having families of their own it is always hard to get everyone together. Due to conflicting schedules we didn’t all come together for Thanksgiving unfortunately, but quite a few of us had Thanksgiving at our house. Lucky for us one of my sister’s and her husband did the cooking with all the rest of us contributing some of the “extras” to a
Troy, the Home of Uncle SamTroy, the Home of Uncle SamTroy, the Home of Uncle Sam

we found him dashing around the streets of Troy
lovely meal.

Before having 11 people for dinner Bob decided to make a few improvements to the house. He was able to accomplish quite a bit in a short time - he made another leaf for the table to be able to seat everyone, built a temporary cupboard to fit between the stove and refrigerator and installed a dishwasher! A new red front door was installed adding some color to the house which will match shutters to be installed. Outside we were able to have a blacktopped driveway put in the week of Thanksgiving, just making it in time before it was too cold to install this year. All this was done with only being back in the US for 10 days. If we can keep this pace up, we’ll get lots of things knocked off that “projects to do” list. We won’t hold our breath, but it is nice to see some accomplishments already.

With Thanksgiving over we now look forward to Christmas so have been busy decorating the outside of the house, figuring out where to put up the Christmas tree, installing a few of the new shutters on the house and Bob has been busy
Enjoying a Wonderful Concert of Classical GuitarEnjoying a Wonderful Concert of Classical GuitarEnjoying a Wonderful Concert of Classical Guitar

while at the Troy Victorician Stroll
building in a closet near the back door!

Unfortunately Bob had been sick for a while back in Italy and still wasn’t feeling “right” when we got back so off to the Dr. to be put on some antibiotics. They must have been helping as Bob got a lot of work done, but he keeps going “up and down” so back on more antibiotics. Just think of what he could accomplish if he was at a 100%!

Christmas time is cookie making time so this Sunday I’ve invited my sisters, my Mom and niece over to bake. I tried this last year for the first time and it seemed to work out so trying to make this an annual event. Unfortunately we have had to make a slight change of plans and move this event to my sister’s house as Bob has been quite sick this week with the flu (and I seemed to have a touch of it) so figured it would be healthier for everyone to not host the event here. We know we have been not feeling good when we found out that a good friend of ours was coming out to our area and
Troy Has Rental Bikes Like We Have Seen in EuropeTroy Has Rental Bikes Like We Have Seen in EuropeTroy Has Rental Bikes Like We Have Seen in Europe

and we heard they are very popular here too
we didn’t feel that it was wise for her to stay with us overnight. That definitely told us how bad we have been feeling this week. You know earlier I told of how much was getting accomplished – this past week went by with us doing nothing but resting and drinking fluids. Hopefully in a few days we will be back to 100% again and get back to that “to do” list that seems to always be there. We even started to put up the Christmas tree a few days ago but we didn’t get too far – it is now standing in our living room, but we didn’t even have the energy to put on all the Christmas tree lights so it looks quite “sad” right now. Once we feel ourselves we will complete this as we enjoy putting on the ornaments that we have gotten from so many family members and places that we have traveled.

We did tell ourselves that this year when we are back in the US we were going to try to get to various events in the area and take time to explore. We haven’t lived in this area for a long time and there are lots here to see so we need to act like tourist and take advantage of what is here. This past weekend was the annual Troy Victorian Stroll so we took a good part of the day to have fun. It was a perfect day for it weather-wise. There were plenty of musical offerings and we even got to take a ride in a trolley car/bus with a chance to learn some history of the city of Troy. We knew it has been known as the Collar City, but didn’t really know why. We found out that this was the home of the company that produced the detachable collar and cuffs. In its heyday it was producing a million of these a day!! The Arrow Shirt Company also was established here as well as numerous other manufacturing companies. Troy was the 4th richest city in the US per capita in the 1800’s. One of the reasons for this was its excellent location next to the flat waters of the Hudson providing a way to transport goods to the east, south and west through the numerous waterways and the 3 rivers with waterfalls providing the energy to power the mills. Its second nickname is “The Iron City” and that is due to the large amount of iron works here. Bells were produced here starting in in 1826 and continued until 1952. Bells produced here can be found as far south as Texas, west as California, north into Canada and east as Maine, but some even made it to distant shores such as Taiwan, Guatemala, Czechoslovakia and numerous others.

Another fact we learned about Troy was that there were numerous Tiffany stained glass windows located here in various public buildings. We knew this from a previous “Victorian Stroll” that we came to a couple of years ago as we listened to a talk about it in a local Troy church. This year we found that there were some tiffany windows located in the local synagogue which was giving tours so decided to see these as well. It was interesting to be able to learn about the synagogue as well as they had some excellent food to sample which was a bonus!

Near the end of the day we saw on the schedule a classical guitar concert being given in the Troy Library so decided to check that out. We thought we’d only stay a short time before heading back home, but it was so enjoyable we stayed for close to an hour.

As it is called the “Victorian Stroll” there are numerous people wandering the streets in period costume, Morris Dancers in the streets and even a chimney sweep carrying his broom! The birth place of Uncle Sam is known to be Troy so believe it or not we even saw him walking around town. It was quite a full day, but a very enjoyable one. It is definitely nice to be tourist in your own backyard. We have told ourselves we will have to go back some other time to wander the streets as there is a lot of history there and wonderful architecture to see. Just like in Europe we are always interested in viewing the various architectural details and more about the towns that we visit.

This pretty much brings you up to where we are currently, therefore keep watching for new blog postings that we will continue to make to “fill in the gaps”.

We hope you are all doing well and enjoy your holiday season wherever you are!


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