Oct/Nov 2009 Letter

About Us
About s/v Aquila
Aquila's Name
Photo Albums
Letters Home
Contact Us

November 28, 2009

It's been two months since my last letter.  When we returned from our long road trip that I wrote about in my last letter, a spot (lump) on my leg was growing rapidly.  We found a dermatologist surgeon in Rome and after a biopsy confirmed squamous cell carcinoma, I had surgery to have it removed.  Now I have another battle scar, but everything is fine.  That's two skin cancer surgeries in one year.  I'm really paying the price for all that sun tanning I did when I was young.  Advice to all:  Wear sunscreen!

Mike was beginning his running regimen in my last letter.  He was doing so well!  Then he jammed his knee into a metal handle in our galley and has been hobbling around for the last couple of weeks.  He will visit the orthopedic surgeon to have it checked out as soon as we arrive in California next week.  We're hoping it's nothing serious.  He was so enjoying his morning runs along the beach, and feeling so good about the exercise.  He was looking forward to attending daughter Kimberly's 'boot camp' program while we are in California (and not embarrassing her!)  Also, talked about doing a race or two with son Sean.  I think all of that is out the window now.  We'll have to hear what the doc says.

We spent a lot of our days in October working on the bright work on Aquila.  Sanding, varnishing, sanding again, varnishing again, day after day.  Tedious, toxic work.  And yet, there is still much to be done.  We wanted to do some touring in November, so any more varnishing will have to wait until spring.  The wood we finished looks good.  Our skills improve with each varnishing project.

We rented a car and headed out to find Mike's grandmother's hometown of Chiusano di San Domenico in Avellino, Italy.  It's a small town in the mountains and we drove around for hours looking for it.  It was a lot of fun to talk (in Italian) to the local folks about why we were there.  We found one person who spoke pretty good English (the church pastor).  He gave us a tour of the church where Mike's grandmother was probably baptized about 100 years ago.

We stayed the night in Pompeii and spent the next day touring the incredibly well-preserved ruins of the ancient city.  Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24 of 79 AD and buried the city under ash and rock killing thousands of people.  The eruption, in effect, froze the way of life in Pompeii as it stood at that time.  Excavations began in 1748 and continue today on this wealth of architecture, sculptures, paintings and mosaics from the imperial era.

Another fascinating ancient Roman site is not far from our marina.  It is Ostia Antica.  We spent a day touring  the ruins of this ancient city which was once Rome's main commercial port in the 2nd century.  Malaria wiped out the city in the 4th century.  Buried for centuries by sand, the city is remarkably well preserved.

Of course we have taken the train into Rome a number of times (mostly for trips to the doctor for Linda's leg).  We try to visit a different section of the city each time, following the recommendations of our guide books.  Rome has so much to see, we've only just scratched the surface.  We both agree that a favorite highlight for us was the Villa Borghese Museum.  Some of the most beautiful sculptures and paintings that we've ever seen.  And we've seen some good stuff!

My photo album for this month is a very tiny sampling of all we've seen.  I've got hundreds of photos from our touring this month.  It's always difficult to pick just one or two.  It never seems to capture the magnitude of the experience.

We're flying home to California this weekend (Nov. 29) and will return to Italy on Feb. 17, 2010.  We are so excited to see the kids and many of our friends and family.  We are enjoying our time here, but we are feeling homesick and can't wait to get home for awhile.  We are also really ready for some Southern California weather.

Next update in February 2010.  Happy holidays and much love to everyone!

Click here to view the photo album for this update.

<next letter home>