My mom has taken her trip to Italy! At 92 years of age, it was no small feat. My sister and her husband left with her mid-September for 4 days in Rome and 10 days on a cruise ship with stops at other cities. My sister sent photos and a brief account of what had happened each day. Here is my mom’s Italian adventure.  

Day #1

We’re off!

Day #2

We made it! Tired and buzzy today but curious about our surroundings. Mom and the pasta maker had a cute little thing going on and we all got right into the gelato after navigating with the walker through the cobblestone streets.

Day #3

A big day of touring: a walk to Trevi fountain, a bus ride to the Colliseum (mom, wake up!), Vatican City, the Pantheon. She’s doing great! She even went to the top of the double-decker bus! We could see horror and fear in the eyes of all who witnessed her climb and descent!

Day #4

Today was a big day with our guided tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s. The wheelchair was a blessing. It’s a huge area!

Day #5

This morning we found a great way to show mom the beautiful Borghese Park. It was nice to be in a green space away from the intensity of the city streets.

Day #6

Big transition day today. From Rome to the train to the shuttle bus to the second shuttle bus to the cruise ship. She made it, climbed the gang plank, got the welcome champagne and was overjoyed to get settled out on our cabin deck with her book! I don’t know if she’ll want to move from that spot for the next 10 days! There are definitely worse places to watch the world go by.


Day #7

We cruised through the night to Sorrento, Italy and woke to beautiful views! Mom enjoyed a day of reading, studying up on Italy and resting her weary body. Getting off the boat today to explore involved lots of stairs and uneven terrain. Mark and I went out to hunt and gather photos of Sorrento, Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius and brought them back for her to enjoy. I was sorry she couldn’t go as she’s quite fascinated by Pompeii. It just wasn’t doable. She’s fine with it all. Especially after being so physically active yesterday.

Day #8

Beautiful Amalfi. Witness mom; she came, she saw, she conquered, she chilled. What a trooper! We got her to the cafe in front of the church and there she sat for 2 hours! Fabulous people watching.


Day #9

Good bye Amalfi, hello Sicily. Mom was out on the deck this morning as she learned that mainland  Italy was on the left and Sicily was on the right. “Now, is that Sicily?” “No Mom, remember, Sicily is on the right!” We passed through the tiny Strait of Messina and towns on both sides were very close.

Mom stayed on our cabin deck and read and rested this afternoon. It’s fun to come home and catch her reading out loud. She still does it with such energy and expression. I’m sure the people on the deck next door must be wondering who the heck she’s talking to! She’s devouring books. I’ve now coached her on how to read on my kindle as I have some good books there and she’s almost finished all of our collective paper page turning ones!


Day #10

We’ve left Italy behind for now and sailed through the night to Malta. (Major concern: will we still be able to find gelato?) The sea was very rocky and mom was heroic. Valletta, Malta is beautiful. We scored a wheelchair for the day. She had a whole crew of strong, handsome guys helping her on and off the boat. It’s always a team effort.


Day #11

Corfu, Greece today. We had a beautiful tour of the island and Mom made some new friends in our tour guide, Fofo, and this little 4-legged guy. We stopped for a magnificent mountain top view over the sea but Mom only had eyes for the tail-wagger at her feet. Greek buffet tonight. We’ve (Mark and I) reached the point on the cruise at which the sight of all the food no longer gives rise to excitement, but rather resentment. It’s an evil force that tempts, bloats and sickens if not carefully managed. Mom hasn’t reached that point. Meal times remain a highlight of the day, 3 times a day.


Day #12

Kotor, Montenegro is a beautiful medieval town. Mark and I went climbing the fortified walls this morning as mom read aloud. Later, we picked her up for a tour of the town. There were stray cats everywhere and we’ll have to search Mom thoroughly to be sure she hasn’t acted on her desire to bring one home.


Day #13

Dubrovnik, the“Jewel of the Adriatic”. The history and beautiful buildings were of low level interest for Mom. What really made her day were the critters you see below. She said, “I could just stay here and watch them all day“. She loved them. I didn’t realize how much she adores animals. This and the people watching fascinated her.

Day #14

This morning Mom was recognized for her talent as an oral reader and it was suggested that she remain in the employ of the cruise line as an entertainer…a daily “story time with Granny”. Yes, our cabin neighbours met us in the hallway today and told us how much they’d been enjoying the out- loud reading sessions they’ve been witnessing throughout the cruise. They had been making the assumption all this time that I, the devoted daughter, had been reading to my elderly mother, and were so impressed to learn that it was Jane herself who read with such pizzazz! In fact, Mom always sends us off to the gym or the pool deck so that she can have the cabin to herself. She was completely unaware that a crowd was gathering next door as word spread of her talent.

We approached Venice mid morning. Spectacular! This was the way to approach Venice…opera music playing, a commentary on the beautiful sites and an unparalleled visual feast. Mom was great as we wheeled and traversed bridges in the city today. She’s always game to give it a try, especially if there’s a reward at the end!


Day #15

Big transition day today as we enter the last phase of our trip. We left the cruise ship this morning. Many of the staff call Mom “Mommy” so there was lots of “Bye, Mommy. Have a safe trip. Come back soon, Okay Mommy?” Very sweet. We’re going out for a Tuscan dinner after which mom has an 8:30pm date with a guy who calls himself “The David”


The Last Gelato

It’s our last day in Italy. Mom slept soundly through the night and awoke determined to upstage David before leaving the continent. Her portrait will be transported to the Louvre following an unveiling in the Piazza this evening. The efforts involved were appropriately rewarded with one last giant gelato in front of the Duomo. As you can see, she’s immersing all of her senses wholeheartedly into the experience at hand.


I hope I’m able to do something like this when I’m 92! How about you? Your comments are welcome.


Join the Conversation


  1. Wonderful pictures Ruth. Your mom is having a ball. Every one of those gelatos looks scrumptious! Your sister and brother-in-law are the best, taking her on an adventure and making sure she had a great time. I hope I am still travelling when I am 92.

    1. I’m very grateful to my sister and brother-in-law for making this trip possible for my mom. I hope you’re travelling at 92 too, Nancy!

  2. I simply adore your mother Ruth! What a wonderful woman! I’m so glad she is enjoying her trip. She is blessed and she is a blessing. 🙂

    1. “She is blessed and she is a blessing.” Very, very well put, Kay. (I will let her know you said that.)

    1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that your mom doesn’t even want to leave her TV for the day. That is a sad image, and I can’t see it happening for you at all. I think my mom could have a great career reading out loud on cruise ships : )

  3. Wow, love your mom’s spirit, Ruth. I hope at 92 I have that much zest for life! Your sister and brother-in-law did a great job, what a nice trip and memory they will have forever. Photos are amazing!

    1. Thank you, Brian. It was a very special trip – even for those of us who didn’t go. I certainly treasure it : )

    1. I wish we “all got to do this”! But in a way we did. Although only my sister and her husband went with Mom to Italy, we all experienced the trip vicariously thanks to these daily reports. I will have to give gelato a real try : )

  4. That is AWESOME, Ruth!! I’m so proud of your mom – going overseas freaks me out and I’m “only” 50!! What a terrific trip. Thanks for sharing with us. I can tell by your mom’s love of animals that she has a huge heart. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Laurie. Hey, did you have your big 5-0? If so, happy birthday!! I think my mom was 52 when she first went across the big pond – so you have 2 years to warm up to the idea : )

    1. I’m so, so happy about it. It’s very nice to know that others – like you – also share in a sense that this was a truly wonderful thing. Thank you : )

  5. Is there any chance we could hire your mom on for a reading? I would love to hear her! Oh, I mean, JUGGERBABY would like a reading … ;D

    What a wonderful trip she and your sister and brother in law had, I’m so glad for her that they were able to help make it happen.

    1. My sister and her husband are FIRE types, and they’re enjoying the privileges of that state – including the privilege of being available for Mom for this wonderful trip, which she absolutely could not have done without them. (How did my sister and I turn out so differently money-management-wise?)
      I grew up thinking that all mothers read out loud. Then one day when I was a teenager, one of my friends was over at my place and said in a hushed, incredulous voice, “Ruth … Your mother is reading out loud. And she’s putting her whole heart into it!” That’s when I realized that this wasn’t normal, motherly behaviour : )

    1. The cruise ship method might be the way to go, Gary. You can choose to walk around or stay on the boat – whatever works best. (Hmmm…. Maybe something to plan with that unexpected pension of yours?)

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