Christmas 2018 will be remembered as the Christmas pilgrimage. Franz and I travelled across half Italy, touching 4 different places in less than 14 days.
After two Christmases spent in Rome with our families combined, this year we spent Christmas in Modugno (Bari, Puglia), New Year’s Eve in Colmurano (Macerata, Marche), and the first few days of 2019 in Rome (Lazio). Isn’t that a true Christmas Pilgrimage?
Christmas Pilgrimage 1st leg
Reading > Rome > Modugno – Dec 22nd – 29th
Dec 22nd: Left home on time per our schedule.
Missed two trains to London Gatwick. It wasn’t our fault.
Third train broke one stop before the airport. Shared a cab with a lovely lady.
My colleague and friend Tracy (follow her on Instagram) offered her shoulders so I could rant.
Slept in a hotel close to the airport as the flight was early the following day.
Dec 23rd: Flight was late two hours.
There were Franz’s parents waiting for us at the airport.
We had time only for a coffee, then we hit the road south towards Bari.
The usual road was clogged by the crazy Christmas traffic, so we took the Apennines highway, crossing the Italy halfway, then heading south along the east coast. Five hours trip in the fog and darkness. Franz drove, he did excellent.
When arrived in Modugno I was so tired I couldn’t recall my name.
By the way, you can check all the wonderful Apulian places we visited last May on this YouTube playlist.
Dec 24th: After 29 hours travelling, we’ve been woken up at 7am by the church next door playing “You Come Down From the Stars” at a volume so loud I thought the music was coming from the closet.
I vented and swore a lot, Tracy would dig my swearing.
Managed to keep myself active to not going crazy.
Dec 25-26th: All the meals had mainly traditional Apulian food involved. Accomplished my goal of eating one panettone and one pandoro.
Discovered the super delicious Apulians Cartellate.
Ticked the traditional Dec 26th run.
Dec 27-28th: Working days for me. I work remotely so it wasn’t a big deal.
Meanwhile, my parents back in Sardinia should have travelled to Colmurano to spend more time with my sister and her boyfriend’s family, but my father got so sick he had to go to the ER.
My friend Tracy listened to all my swearings and concerns.
Joined a local gym for two workouts. Was asked if I was a gymnast. #notagymnast
We also met some friends.
Christmas Pilgrimage 2nd leg
Modugno – Colmurano – Dec 29th 2018 – Jan 2nd 2019
Dec 29th: We left Modugno before midday, heading north to Marche region.
The highway flanks the coast all the way through until the mountains; this time it was a sunny day and we saw a wonderful panorama.
Eventually my father got better, so they booked a flight to join us. I took a big sigh of relief; Tracy rejoyed with me.
Arrived in Colmurano at sunset.
Reunited with my dog: I missed him so much. He didn’t pee himself this time when he saw me.
Met with my parents, my sister Sara and his boyfriend – Michele. Franz and I knew him for more than 15 years, way before he started to date my sister. Life is so funny sometimes.
Sara and Michele, my parents and Franz’s parents went to Macerata to watch the ballet.
Franz and I stayed at home recovering (Franz drove again).
I baked three big breads, about 5kg in total (11lbs)
Dec 30th: Weather wasn’t nice so we stayed at home, chilling and having fun. Lots of food was involved, I guess you know it by now.
Smashed a workout with my sister.
Baked another 2kg (4lbs) bread.
Met Michele’s parents. It was the first time my parents, Franz’s and Michele’s parents met. Our concerns about whether they all might get along well or not vanished within a blink of an eye. Looked like they’ve been knowing each other since forever.
Dec 31st: Worked more than half day.
We literally sent out our parents to have a walk in Macerata whilst we got everything ready for the long NYE dinner.
Tracy got her special “happy new year” wishes from our parents.
We ate more food than our body weight. I felt sick at some point, but this didn’t refrain me to continuing to eat because everything was too delicious to leave it out.
The company was top notch.
We celebrated 2019 at midnight with a legit brut prosecco.
Jan 1st: Happy new Year!
Started 2019 with the traditional Jan 1st run.
Headed to a restaurant where we ate again pretty much the same amount of food as our body weight.
Accomplished the goal of having a whole panettone and pandoro by myself.
I also had more cookies when the rest of the gang was maxed out, because YOLO.
Sleep deprivation reached its peak: my resting heart rate raised 62 beats per minute, when it usually stays at around 46.
Christmas Pilgrimage 3rd leg
Colmurano > Rome – Jan 2nd -5th
Jan 2nd: Left Colmurano before midday. Cried like a baby on their first day of kindergarten, when farewelling my parents.
I promised that’d be the first and last time I allowed myself that.
Tracy sent hugs to me, and told me to not be too hard on myself.
The trip from Colmurano to Rome was the shortest; the weather was pretty nice, and we arrived in Rome middle afternoon.
Went out for a long walk with Franz. He’s got now a backup career as Uber driver.
Jan 3rd – 4th: back to regular work again. I suffered a little at Franz’s parents house due to my cat allergy gotten worse.
Squeezed some cycling, running and walking to detox.
Baked another 2kg (4lbs) seeded bread.
Did a lot of walks with Franz. We did that on a regular basis since day 1 of our Christmas pilgrimage: we love walking and talking together.
Ended up the Roman staying with a massive pizza eating out.
Christmas Pilgrimage 4th leg
Rome > Cardiff > Reading – Jan 5th
Even though we touched three different cities in one day, that was probably the easiest trip.
Went to the airport very early in the morning; caught the plane to Cardiff which was slightly late.
Reached Cardiff city centre with some time left to have lunch and a legit coffee in a place we love before catching the train to Reading.
The train to Reading was on time, and the trip went through smoothly.
Touched base in Reading not feeling very tired; went out for grocery shopping, also.
When I opened my luggage to load the washing machine, I declared our Christmas pilgrimage officially concluded.
Things I learnt during my Christmas pilgrimage
🍽Even if you’re feeling sick and full, there’s always room for another slice of panettone
🚶♀️Travelling is horrible when you cannot take breaks to walk a little
👯♀️People who never met can get along very well, way beyond your wildest expectations
💑No matter the nature of the problem, your better half will at least ease it up for you
💦Keep yourself hydrated, nevertheless
👨👩👧👧When real troubles come, you forget why sometimes you hated your family
🥳Hence, you can’t wait to stay with them
😭Hence, it’s okay to cry when you leave them
🛌If you miss your bed, it’s normal
❤️Love still solves many annoying stuff in the world
🏋️♀️If you need and want, you can stay active whilst travelling; sometimes more than your usual
🐶My dog is too cute
I hope you enjoyed this recap of my Christmas pilgrimage! If you want to see it entirely, you’re welcome to check my Instagram Highlights:
– Christmas pilgrimage PART ONE
– Christmas pilgrimage PART TWO
– Christmas pilgrimage PART THREE