This weekend, we took a trip to Portland, thereby crossing off yet another item on my 101 in 1001 list.  A few highlights

  • Tons of great veggie food everywhere. We ate pho at a lunch cart, brunch at Screen Door, and dinner at ¿Por Que No?
  • Driving out through the Willamette Valley to the Elk Cove Winery for the wedding was amazing.
  • A few hours at Powell’s, the biggest bookstore in the U.S.  I showed remarkable restraint by only leaving with 2 books.
  • Hiking at Wahclellah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.  There were times I felt like I had landed on the planet Pandora (from Avatar).  The lush greenery with the cool mist from the falls was so hypnotizing.  I could have stayed there for days.

Now that trip is over, and there are a number of other things to look forward to such as getting my semester wrapped up, writing and grading exams, preparing for Huge National Conference,  going to Huge National Conference, graduation, and (if the volcano stops spewing) a month-long trip to Italy.  We decided to take such a trip because we had the time, something that we haven’t had in years.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this whole volcanic ash thing becomes a non-issue in the next week or two, or at least some time before we are scheduled to leave (May 12).

If the trip pans out, the itinerary is as follows

  • May 13-16: Rome
  • May 17-20: Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast
  • May 21-23: Puglia (Ostuni, Carovigno, and the Gargano Peninsula)
  • May 24-26: Umbria
  • May 27-28: Siena
  • May 29-30: Radda in Chianti
  • May 31-June 2: Florence
  • June 3-4: Lucca
  • June 5-7: Cinque Terre
  • June 8-10: Lake Como
  • June 11: Fly home

I’m really excited about this trip, and I’ll be so sad if we aren’t able to go.  If the volcano doesn’t stop by about the 5th, there’s a real possibility that our flights will be cancelled, particularly since we’re flying through Paris.  When all of this started, I had no idea that this would affect me in any direct way.  Despite my whining, I know it could be much, much worse, since there are thousands of people stranded all over the place right now.  A friend of mine was supposed to go to Poland for a few weeks to teach, and now her trip is cancelled.

Who knew one volcano could affect so many people?