Fly by Night

08 Mar

Sorry, what? Well, depending on your knowledge of 70s rock music, particularly 70s Canadian rock music, some of you know exactly what I’m referring to. Unfortunately, while the iconic trio Rush produced some great hits, including “Fly by Night,” this is sadly not the topic of this post. It is a great song though.

Hey kids, it’s me again! As promised, I didn’t wait forever to write once more, as it’s only been a month and a half since my last blog post. I know, I’m being a little facetious here since there is a different impetus for returning to the keyboard so soon. If you read the January 19th entry, you’ll know that as reported in the title, I’m hopping an overseas flight presently. And when I say shortly, I mean in 3 days. But I don’t want to spoil all the fun details right away…I have to build the drama first!

Well, its March, which means that the school year is rapidly disappearing. We are more than a month into a new semester but it feels like yesterday that it just started. With the break coming up next week and spring around the corner, it won’t be long before it’s June. I know there’s still a lot of teaching that needs to happen between now and then, but it seems like every year things go by faster and faster.

Ironically in my last post, I neglected to mention the weather, which is a familiar gripe of mine. Surprisingly, there isn’t much to complain about since we have had a fairly decent winter. I know, I’m shocked as well. I guess since we had such an awful winter and early spring last year, maybe Mother Nature owes us. Now I shouldn’t speak too soon, since it snowed every week last year from mid-March to mid-April…I don’t want to jinx it!

Late winter, March 2023.

So, let’s dig into this trip business. After two years of delays, having to cancel, rebook and re-recruit for the trip twice and numerous headaches, we are in the final countdown for our adventure to Italy. I originally planned this trip in the spring of 2019 when we returned from the previous excursion that took us to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. My older son, Ethan, who is coming on the trip, was in Grade 8 at the time. He’s now graduating from high school in June. I can’t believe it’s been four years! I certainly feel for all the students that have had to endure all the cancellations and especially for those who were not able to travel as their time at the school ended before the Covid restrictions were lifted. It’s been quite the ordeal.

St. Julien Memorial. March 2019.

It is an understatement to say that I am rather excited for this tour, since I have not been to Italy in a long time, like 30 years long time. My last trip was in March 1992, when I was but an 18-year-old high school student, myself on an EF tour. Actually, that was the first ever overseas excursion from the school; now I’m leading students back. It’s kinda like the line in Episode IV of Star Wars, a New Hope, when Vader says to Obi Wan, “The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now, I am the master!” I guess I am now the master, or leader I should say…sorry to get a little Star Wars geeky here.

Anyway, I guess I should describe this trip a little bit, shouldn’t I? The tour name is World War II and the Liberation of Italy, which is another history themed excursion (which we always do). We start our adventure in Rome, where we will be spending a number of days exploring places such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican and many other places. On Day 5 we have a day trip to Anzio, the site of an American landing in 1943 (with a decidedly Canadian connection). The following day we leave Rome behind for the east coast of Italy, with a stop at Monte Cassino, the location of a Medieval monastery and one of the longest battles of the Italian Campaign. On the east side of the country, we first visit Ortona, where the Canadian Army battled the Germans in intense urban for control of the city over Christmas 1943. Then it’s on to Rimini and the San Marino area, followed by a stop in Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it. At the end of Day 10 we return to Rome so we can board our flight home the following morning.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a great deal of excitement, especially since many of our group have been waiting four years for this to happen. Personally, it will be nice to visit Rome again, but seeing some new parts of Italy will be the best part for me. Experiencing it all with Ethan will be the icing on the cake. His 18th birthday falls midway through the trip, and part of me really wants to savour the moment, as I don’t know how many more times I’ll be able to travel with him like this. Sorry, sentimental dad moment.

Anywho, it’s time to get rolling. You already know you won’t have to wait long for the next check in, as it’s only a few day away. Until then…

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Posted by on March 8, 2023 in History, Travel, Writing


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