After 22 months of Covid pandemic shut-downs I was thrilled to return to Italy in October 2021. It was even more special when my friends Sylvia and Cindy decided to join me.
This was a trip with many firsts. My first trip since December 2019. My first trip since retiring in June 2021. My first time celebrating my birthday outside the country. I turned the big 60 while in Italy.
In other ways it was a bit of a repeat. When tours started opening back up in 2021 the options were fairly limited. Much of this was driven by on-going travel restrictions in most countries around the world. I had actually taken this same trip with Overseas Adventure Travel in May 2015, though loved it so much I decided to return.
This time was a bit different. I added an 7-night pre-trip to Bologna and Parma which I had never visited. Additionally there were many changes on the main trips itinerary which allowed me to see several places I hadn’t visited in the past.
Due to the on-going pandemic there were some challenged though I packed some extra patience and flexibility in my suitcase.
Italy had strict requirement for visitors during the pandemic. All travelers were required to be fully vaccinated or would be required to quarantine 5 days. My tour operator had already made the decision to require all travelers, trip leaders, local guides, bus drivers, etc. to be fully vaccinated. That removed much worry.
Once in Italy masks were required in all indoor public places (shops, hotels, churches, museums, etc.). We were required to prove we were fully vaccinated to dine indoors and to enter most museums. There was no problem showing a photo of my CDC vaccination record on my phone.
Overall things worked very smoothly and we didn’t experience any real issues.
The weather was great. Cool, but not too cold and we had sun for all but two days. It was nice to visit in fall when the leaves were turning. Some of the grape vines were bright orange. It was spectacular.
On all of my trips with OAT we do quite a bit of walking. Our leader on the main tour offered optional afternoon walks on several days, and walk we did. One day I hit just over 16,000 steps! Whew! Even with all the walking I put on a few pounds with the wonderful and plentiful food on the trip.
I’m looking forward to more of the world opening back up in 2022 and beyond. I for one want to get this pandemic behind us.
Since I’ve been to many of the places on this trip before I’ve decided to limit this photo album to a few highlights of this trip not found in the other Italy albums on my website. Of course, one big highlight in Italy is the food and we had great meals throughout.
Dates: Oct 11 – Nov 3, 2021
Operator: Overseas Adventure Travel