It’s been a tough few months around the world, and I haven’t really felt up to keeping a travel blog going when the farthest one could travel in Rome was 200 meters from home.

We’re cautiously optimistic here in Rome, and while we are not back to pre-pandemic rhythms, it’s good to be returning to some semblance of pre-Corona virus life, albeit with masks and social distancing.

With a return to “normalish” life, I’m happy to return to blogging about travel, reading and writing once again.

Since the Italian equivalent of B.C. and A.D. in Italian is A.C. (avanti Cristo/before Christ) and D.C. (dopo Cristo/after Christ), I’ve decided to coopt and transform these into my travel outlook of avanti and dopo Corona virus…. while hoping we can transition back to cautious travel in the coming months.

GdGdaGGGGnsk, Poland

In my B.C. world, and before being confined to my home, I started 2020 out with some nice family travel.

Just before the new year, I visited Gdansk, Poland, a city I’d always “meant to visit”, but hadn’t yet gotten around to doing. My family and I had a great time visiting this picturesque city, and trying to stay warm at its Christmas markets – traditional mulled wine helped.

The architecture – largely rebuilt after having been reduced to rubble during WWII – was stunning and pedestrian passageways a great way to explore. The museums were also informative, and we especially loved visiting the impressive Solidarnost Museum – on the site of the Gdansk shipyards where Lech Walesa and his fellow shipyard workers began their famous protests that would help weaken the Communist regime.

This visit also turned out to take on special meaning since it was our last trip abroad before European travel came to a virtual standstill.

In retrospect, my kids and I also enjoyed thinking back to Italian trips we took at the start of the year.

In early January, I took my youngest son for his first trip to beautiful Bologna, Italy. We took the train up and enjoyed a perfect winter day exploring the porticoes, ancient churches and skylines of the picturesque city.

Bologna, Italy

It goes without saying that we ate very well in this culinary capital, and returned to Rome with bags brimming with tortellini, mortadella and local wines.

During our days of enforced isolation, we joked about how wonderfully packed the restaurants and narrow streets were back on our A.C. visit to Emilia-Romagna’s capital.

With my older son, I took a weekend trip to Milan, Italy, just before the Lombard capital went under its rigid lockdown.

Milan is a special city for me. I spent two years here doing my Masters program, and I always enjoy coming back. I lived in the quaint neighborhood of Navigli, just steps away from the movida milanese.

My teenage son was impressed with the young crowds filling the canals during the evenings and had a good time, albeit with his mom.

Milan, Italy

As we watched the news of Milan’s more drastic lockdown, the memories of our nice weekend together in this elegant city had a profound effect on us.

Lombardy was the hardest hit of all regions in Italy, and we are anxious to see it up and running soon. And we look forward to being back.

These trips taken soon before our Corona virus lockdown became important memories during our homebound days. Since we’ve always travelled frequently as a family, we’re looking forward to this new chapter and its slow opening.

2020 has certainly not turned out as many of us expected it to, but looking forward to a return to normal life – and travel – once again.

Milan, Italy