A window to return to travel and explore the battlefields again finally opened up.
After many months stuck at home, Europe slowly started to open up to allow some recovery of the tourism sector for the summer season. The importance of tourism for especially the southern European countries cannot be overstated. But that doesn’t mean they are all throwing caution to the wind!
No unrestricted travel yet
There are still plenty of restrictions and limitations in place. So the return to travel is by no means a running-wild free for all. A unified approach throughout Europe is still lacking. Although, it is becoming more realistic with efforts to make things somewhat easier. The Passenger Locator Form (PLF) already covers all of the EU, whereas the “Green Certificate” – a digital means to prove vaccination and/or test results – isn’t quite there yet.
However, coming to Italy this time felt fairly straight forward. First, obtaining a negative test result before departure. Then, filling in the PLF with details of where I was going to spend the 5 days of quarantine. At the end of the 5 days, obtaining another negative test result and presto! From there, out and about again, with due respect for mask wearing and social distancing as prescribed, of course.
Some may think it is too early to travel. The delta variant chasing infection rates up again is a genuine concern. Fair point and this is not a call to get you over here this summer yet. But it may encourage you to start actually planning a trip rather than just wistfully thinking about it. Quite a few have already sent in enquiries, filling up the 2022 spring season before we even published a tour schedule!
Right now, traveling is the right thing to do for me though, and I promise that as well as being fully vaccinated, I am sticking to the rules and acting sensibly.
So why is it so important for me to travel again?
Helpful tips on the Gustav Line and great company for dinner: Lina and Pino Valente, owners of the Hotel La Pace Experience in Cassino
Slowly inching towards a return to travel
It’s been a rather tough 18 months. I’m sure many people feel similarly drained. In spite of many of us working alone as a rule a lot of the time and the rapid incorporation of digital technology to replace in-person meetings, it just hasn’t been the same. The complete absence of casual conversations equals the absence of sounding boards to share ideas, prospects, concerns, …
Coming up with visual material to maintain a social media profile to market tours is also a tad tricky. Especially when you cannot get out and collect pictures and video. The same applies to researching places for future tours and itineraries.
But by far the most important aspect is to restore the bonds with friends! We have voiced our concerns about the “perfect storm” threatening the Nisei legacy on Europe’s battlefields on previous occasions. These key factors form the triple threat. First, the sad reality of our vets no longer being with us or now unable to travel. This in turn leaves the younger generations therefore without a direct connection to this part of their history. And lastly of course the pandemic having halted all travel anyway.
Luciano Bucci curates the War Museum Winterline in Venafro and has been exploring the area since his childhood
They are waiting for us!
And thus, it feels great that the people in France and Italy who have always provided a warm welcome to the visiting Nisei families are still eager to see you return. Many have been working on all kinds of restauration projects, educational programs, expansion of museum collections, etc. All the things that in a “normal” year get pushed to the back for the “quieter” times…
Seeing old friends has lifted my spirits beyond description. As ever, they shared their local knowledge and insights generously, providing me with an ever-clearer picture of the Nisei’s progress. I will be sharing the bounty of pictures and video with you over the coming weeks and months, but I can’t wait to come back for more!
Good company and good food have been the leading themes on this trip! Enjoying fabulous seafood with Francesco Rocchi and members of the re-enactment group in Massa/Montignoso.
And pretty soon, it will be possible again for you all to join me and return to travel as well. They are waiting for us…!