Tomorrow is a Wish Not a Promise; Live It Now; an Addendum                                      

Early one rainy morning, Christmas week, Rome 2019

If you want to see the tourist sights go when there are no tourists. But tourists are always visiting the famous landmarks; any time of year, any time of day. For me it is a matter of volume. In Italy (Europe in general) summer is high season and the volume of visitors is immense. Cruise ships disgorge thousands of passengers at a time all of whom descend on a predetermined venue for a brief stay. The result is that only a pastiche of authenticity remains because all the local businesses are catering to one-time visitors. Prices are higher, the service poor, and when you visit any historical sight you are packed together and herded like cattle.

Sure, you do have to see the special places and things. The night tour of the colosseum and the ‘Before It Opens’ tour of the Vatican (expensive but priceless) are memorable but if that was all there was I would probably stay home and look at the pictures.

Empty halls “Before it Opens Tour” of the Vatican

Kathi and I drive our Morgan DHC “BENE” and meet people. It’s the people in unique settings that are the lasting adventure. We believe a tour is successful if you arrive home with new friends, have shared meals and enjoyed experiences with people in other countries, correspond with them later and are invited to return. Best yet is when they visit you and you are able to reciprocate their hospitality.

Our usual routine is to tow Bene to the Port of Newark shipping terminal. There it waits in an open parking lot before being driven onto a (Roll-on-Roll off) ship. To send a car abroad you need a shipping broker. From the very beginning we have used Susan Silverman of All Shores Forwarding. She books the ship, arranges custom clearance both outbound and return. Sometimes she contracts shipping insurance and/or trucking to take Bene to Melvyn’s. In most years this really is routine but then came August 2023. I delivered Bene as usual and the next day there was a fire on another Ro-Ro vessel in the port. All shipping was rescheduled and Bene sat for five weeks in that open lot before being re-booked on a ship arriving in England days after our flight arrived.  Not desirable but bearable.

AND THEN: The port authorities put a ban on loading any privately owned vehicles on Ro-Ro ships. It was too late to cancel so Bene was put into a container and sent on along with half of our travel budget.

Five Weeks waiting in Newark!

Stuff” happens. Recognizing that stuff happens we have learned to avoid tight schedules. Most years we do not book return flights and avoid making advance reservations. Kathi has become expert at searching and She uses her mobile hot-spot and makes our reservations, accommodations, tours, and such. while on the road, a day or so in advance. 

Before setting out I always contact the Morgan clubs in whatever country we plan to visit. I am certain it is the same with any group of people with a common interest; model trains, airplanes, chess, whatever. People with vastly different backgrounds and personalities come together and welcome each other. So it is with the Morgan diaspora.

Ahead of our first journey to Italy I contacted Alessandro Natali through the Morgan Three Wheeler Club. In our first correspondence he insisted we visit him. He and his wife Grazia met us at the Autostrada exit in his 1934 MX4 Super Sport and took us on a tour though some small towns including Collodi, home of Pinocchio, and then hosted us to a lunch at his home. A few weeks later we returned to Tuscany and Alessandro arranged for us to meet with the Kursaal Car Club in Montecatini. There I met many others including Luciano Cardelli and Massimo Sabatini who with their families welcomed us and over the years have become very dear friends. These are people whose company we appreciate and look forward to.

And that’s the way it goes; you meet some people through the car connection, they introduce you to others, perhaps you mention an anticipated destination and they introduce you to friends they have living there.  Sometimes there is the car connection often not. Oh, and yes; along the way you see some touristy places as well.