The Rotondaros go to Europe: a saga made possible by the wonderful people at BlackBerry

Because I'm a little tired lately (have been covering a lot of lenghty meetings for the newspaper and, having pretty much recovered from my little stint with the flu and consequential disastrous ear fluid incident, have, God forbid, been you know, up and about doing stuff, and not resting as much as I had become accustomed to on the couch) and because I therefore, don't have the energy or the desire, really, to write anything that interesting about my own life (unless you guys want a detailed rundown of last night's Chatham Board of Commissioners meeting, which, come on, I know you secretly do) I decided to turn to one of my favorite sources of information, and The Best Speller In The World, my father. Last month my parents went on a two-and-a-half week trip to Italy - with stops on the way there and on the way back in Paris - spurning the usual feelings of jealousy I deal with when they jet off to some exotic locale and J and I remain stateside and maybe order Chinese food or something if we want a special treat.

The neat thing about this particular trip was that my father chose to use his BlackBerry to email us about every minor detail of the vacation (my mother chimed in every now and then, too). I'd be sitting there paying bills online and receive three new messages in rapid succession about some amazing meal, or beautiful view, or an encounter with the locals.

Here are some of the highlights:

From: Fred Rotondaro Date: Apr 5, 2007 Subject: We are sitting in an 1 table joint called Doro's

In an alley. With a guitarist and an old broad who sings old songs most beautifully. Supposed to be one of the best fish places in town Wejll soon know

From: Fred Rotondaro Date: Apr 7, 2007 Subject: Hello

Mesdames and mister each had prosciutto and mozzarello followed by pasta and seafood which was ezxellent but nowt quite as good as the pasta-safood which mr had that afternoon in annacapri which may have been the finest pasta seafood he has ever had. The entre was local grilled seafood Mesdames concluded with lemon cke and express-- mr with eppresso and cheese Then to the hotell bar for drinks with the rest of the euro trash The dad

From: Fred Rotondaro Date: Apr 8, 2007 Subject:

Your mother is trying to kill me. The church is a few hundred meters from the hotel, mostly uphill. Mom is dashing up to make the ten o,clock mass as I muddle along behind. We find when we get there the mass starts at 1030--but at least we get seats.

The women in the church and those we've seen in Naples divide into two types. Older, over 50 , mostly shorter and stout. The younger women, under 40, many tall, slender, obviously conscious of their diets and their appearance. Italy has been prosperoud while these younger women have matured and it shows.

Suerb lunch at da gemma where they know us now. All the window tables overlooking the water were reserved but they gave us one anyway. It's my personaliity. Charming.

We have walked to another hilltop point. Punta tragara. M and d are eating a lot but so far I have lost 1 kilogram, 2 lbs I think.

The end


From: Fred Rotondaro Date: Apr 9, 2007 Subject:

Yes, I think your mom is trying to kill me. Our boat for postano leaves at 630 tonight. So we have several hours to kill. What to do? Rest. Sit by the pool. One last splurge of shopping.

No. Mom wants to walk. Preferably uphill preferably going nowhere.

My legs hurt. My ass hurts. And still we walk.

From: Fred Rotondaro Date: Apr 9, 2007 Subject: Our last day in capri

Now for a boat ride round the island A tip for travellors. Don't schedule an excursion the day of departure. Too many things to do with limited time. Breaks the mood of leisure--but we are. Now on the boat and beauty abounds.

M and I just kissed as we went thru the arch where legend has it, lovers must kiss--on the lips, the boat guide says: THE WIND FEELS WONDERFUL.

Walked around. Capri for a few hoursas we wait for our boat to positano. Mom walked me into the ground searching for every possible hill.

More to come.

From: Fred Rotondaro Date: Apr 13, 2007 Subject:

Today we are off to vietri to buy ceramics.

We are on the streets of Vietri. Mom is lost. She wants to compare another shop and set off searching. I have no idea where she is. Vietri is always like this.

From: Kathleen Rotondaro Date Apr 19, 2007 Subject:

We are sitting at her Tour D'Argent looking out on Notre Dame and the bateaux mouches gliding up the Seine. They just turned the lights on in the restaurant and it is almost dark--very beautiful. The only discordant note is that I think homeless are living on the quai opposite from the restaurant:

Love, Mom

From: Fred Rotondaro Date: Apr 19, 2007 Subject:

We asked the waiter and he said they were "vacationers", but we don't believe him. It is pitch dark now and they are all still over there.